Marvel thought about making a War Machine movie

War Machine almost became a much bigger part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Black Panther screenwriter Joe Robert Cole recently told Complex there were talks of making a solo movie focused on Tony Stark's best friend James Rhodes a few years back. Terrence Howard played the character in Iron Man, but Don Cheadle took over after that and suited up as War Machine in Iron Man 2.

Cole said he was pitched a War Machine movie when Marvel Studios brought him into its screenwriting program before the release of Iron Man 3. "I got into the program in a different way than everyone else that I know that was in it," he said. "From what I understand about the normal process is that you apply, I think by submitting a spec screenplay of some kind, they meet with you and then make their decision from there. I had written a Chinatown-style cop script and they met with me about it. At that meeting, they also said they were thinking of doing a War Machine movie. I pitched a concept and won that job to write the script but they decided, based on what Iron Man 3 was going to be, they weren't going to do War Machine anymore. But they asked if I'd be interested in joining their writer's program instead."

In Iron Man 3, the government repainted Rhodes' War Machine armor with a patriotic color scheme, renaming it Iron Patriot. When the suit was stolen, Savin (James Badge Dale) used it to capture the president and blow up Air Force One. But Rhodey saved the president and used the Iron Patriot suit to fly him to safety. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, War Machine has the original paint scheme and Rhodes helps the Avengers when Ultron's sentries attacked the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. After Ultron was defeated, Rhodes joined the new Avengers when Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) left the team.

If there had been a War Machine movie, it would've given the Marvel Cinematic Universe its first movie starring a black actor long before Black Panther. But it also could've changed the entire trajectory of the MCU.

Instead, we'll catch up with the character again in Avengers: Infinity War, when it hits theaters on May 4.