War Machine could die in Avengers: Endgame and we’ll never be ready for this


New Avengers: Endgame character posters have us scared for War Machine.

Lady Death might not be in the MCU, but death has been on our minds since Avengers: Infinity War. Now that Avengers: Endgame will debut in theaters a little over a month, we’re overanalyzing every trailer, poster, and press tour moment for clues on which fictional characters might die in the upcoming film.

Everyone has their intricate theories on why certain characters are more at risk of meeting their demise at the hands of Thanos, but some new Endgame promotional posters vaguely hint that War Machine, i.e. Lt. Colonel James Rhodes (or Rhodey), might not make it to the next phase of the MCU.

It may be hard, but we have to face the reality — albeit that reality is rooted in a fictional universe — that all of our favorite characters won’t survive round two with the Eternal, and everyone is at risk. Sure, we don’t want to think about any potential Endgame outcomes that involve Rhodey dying, hurt, or emotionally harmed in any way. However, a fan notes that a small detail in War Machine’s Endgame suit parallels the suit his comic book counterpart died in.

We’re still waiting for the MCU to acknowledge that viewers want, need, and deserve a War Machine trilogy, but Rhodey’s potential on-screen death is a more pressing matter at the moment.

During Marvel’s Civil War II comic event, we all know that Rhodey was one of several characters that died in arguably one of the most unnecessary comic conflicts, and Rhodey’s movie poster eerily reminder of his comic demise.

Seeing as the Endgame trailers might be deceptive, the Russos might utilize the same misdirection technique in other venues of the film’s promo. Aside from the detail that Thanos killed Rhodey in Civil War II and now War Machine will face him for the second time on-screen, Rhodey’s Air Force wings were a noticeably ominous focal in his comic book death sequence. Sure, the wings aren’t in the same place as his comic suit, but the resemblance is still there, and we don’t want to relive Rhodey’s death in any interpretation.

James Rhodes (War Machine) and Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) in Civil War II #1. Photo Credit: Marvel Comics

Take a moment. Cry it out. Read a comforting comic issue to cheer yourself up. Or reread Captain America: Sam Wilson #10 to delve deeper into that Civil War II pain. Do whatever you need to work through those strangely divergently, but universally, devastating reactions to Civil War II.

Now that that’s out of the way… we genuinely hope that this painfully reminiscent parallel is just a small detail and nothing else. While we know the original MCU heroes are more at risk of dying or at best retiring from the hero gig — and that Rhodey has been in the MCU since the first movie, Marvel shouldn’t kill off Rhodey in Endgame or even in the near future of the franchise.

Although James Rhodes has been in the MCU since Iron Man, the franchise has treated him like a supporting character, and the MCU has a noticeable history of portraying people of color — in particular, Black characters — as sidekicks. However, any comic book fan knows there’s a lot more to Rhodey’s story than his time in the Air Force or being Tony Stark’s friend. While Iron Man II and III especially started to illustrate War Machine’s heroic alias, these films haven’t fully delved into the full scope of Rhodey’s heroic impact with the Black community, the galaxy, his family, and other heroes.

Regardless of his moniker, Rhodey doesn’t just inspire people by subduing villains or reconstructing cities. He empowers people to be better because of his moral philosophies, and it’s time the MCU showcase the spectrum of that comic magic, too. Similar to the comics, the MCU has already implicitly shown Rhodey as Iron Man. However, it shouldn’t take another funeral for the MCU to portray Rhodey as unabashedly Iron Man both in his contributions to the world and every symbol he represents and stands for.

Rhodey is an important character just like his comic iteration; however, we just want to see the MCU illustrate his own arcs and character development without centering them on other heroes in the MCU. He deserves to shine devoid of other characters and plot devices. 10 years in any universe, cinematic or otherwise, should warrant some character-focused arcs and probably his own supervillain archnemesis (or two). So, we just hope Marvel gives him the proper recognition before we inevitably have to part ways with his character. Our War Machine fandom is definitely showing, but we don’t care.

Now, it’s clear that none of the original Avengers are safe. The ominous hints in Rhodey’s character poster suggest that some of the permanent deaths might be more unexpected. However, more expected or popularly theorized death scenes will be big revelations for fans. More self-sacrificing candidates will probably bite the dust (or whatever hero-killing ammunition Thanos will use in Endgame) before Rhodey permanently leaves the MCU. After Infinity War, we’re still fearfully suspicious.

James Rhodes (War Machine) and Tony Stark (Iron Man) in Invincible Iron Man (2016) #600. Photo Credit: Marvel Comics.

The only solace in this fandom-crushing theory is that even if War Machine does die in Avengers: Endgame, Rhodey might not stay dead. That’s right: James Rhodes could take a page from Nebula’s comic book counterpart and become a zombie, just without the archetypal zombie-ness.

Technically, Tony Stark was the one who brought Rhodey back to life after his unfortunate incident with Thanos. Nonetheless, if the upcoming film were to take inspiration from Rhodey’s comic book death, that could incite the MCU to draw more parallels from the comic source material (and we hope any comic inspo after his hypothetical death will come from Invincible Iron Man #600).

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We know that we should be worried about everyone character’s fate, but we’re especially worried about James Rhodes aka War Machine as we narrow in on the Avengers: Endgame premiere date. Dear Joe and Anthony Russo, please don’t hurt Rhodey.

Avengers: Endgame hits theaters on April 26.