Don Cheadle talks 'Secret Invasion,' how long he'll stay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Having first joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as James “Rhodey” Rhodes (aka War Machine) in 2010’s Iron Man 2, Don Cheadle is now the most tenured Avenger following the recent departures of co-stars like Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man) and Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow). In the MCU as a whole, really only Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and Jon Favreau (used sparingly as Happy in the Spider-Man movies) have him beat.

So there really isn’t much Cheadle hasn’t done over the course of seven movies and one TV show. Except lead a project himself, which he’ll eventually do in the Disney+ series Armor Wars. But before that, Cheadle will join Jackson, Cobie Smulders and company as Fury and friends face off against the shape-shifting Skrulls in Secret Invasion.

“I think [we’ll] really get to know Rhodey,” Cheadle tells us about the expanded role he’ll have in Secret Invasion at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif. (watch above). “To see who he is outside the context of the Avengers as we’ve seen them and Tony as his best friend. Now we’re gonna see who Rhodey is and his relationships and what makes him tick and what are his desires and what are his fears.

“Just an opportunity to flesh the character out across six episodes is exciting.”

Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: ENDGAME..L to R: War Machine/James Rhodey (Don Cheadle) and Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019
Don Cheadle as War Machine/James Rhodey and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye/Clint Barton in Avengers: Endgame. (Photo: Film Frame/©Marvel Studios 2019) (©Walt Disney Co./courtesy Everett / Everett Collection)

As for how long he’ll remain in the MCU beyond Secret Invasion and Armor Wars, Cheadle, 57, tells us he “takes it as it lies.”

“This is something that was pitched to me, something that they wanted to do, and it was interesting,” he says of Secret Invasion. “And it sounded fun, and an opportunity to actually do more with this character. So I was in.

“At this point, I’m the veteran in here. We know there are going to be more opportunities to do it. Nobody’s twisting anybody’s arm. It’s like, ‘Does this sound like something that would be fun? [Is this] something that’s exciting and interesting? Because if not, we don’t need to show up.'”

— Video produced by Jen Kucsak and edited by Jason Fitzpatrick

Secret Invasion premieres on Disney+ in early 2023. Watch the trailer: