As we inch closer to the U.S. debut of Black Panther, it seems as though Marvel Studios toyed with the idea of launching its first black-led superhero movie nearly a half decade ago. According to Black Panther screenwriter Joe Robert Cole, he was originally brought in years ago to help develop a solo movie starring Don Cheadle’s War Machine. Presumably, the movie would’ve come out near the beginning of Phase 2 and perhaps dealt with some of the fall out of the alien invasion from Avengers. Here’s what Cole had to say about the project:

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 hindsight, a War Machine movie could’ve been interesting because James Rhodes timeline in the MCU is a bit hazy in the time between Iron Man 2 and Avengers: Age of Ultron. First of all, Rhodes went from using the monicker of War Machine to Iron Patriot and back to War Machine again with literally no on-screen explanation as to why the monicker had changed back to War Machine after Iron Man trilogy. More interestingly though, could’ve been why War Machine was not involved in helping thwart the previously stated alien invasion during Avengers. If we are to take Marvel Comics prelude issues as canon, then we could’ve seen Rhodey hunting down the Ten Rings terrorist organization while the alien invasion was going on. The Iron Man 3 prelude issue puts War Machine in Hong Kong during the events in New York City and has him showing up too late to help while the rest of the team is enjoying shawarma. Considering all of this, a sidebar movie on the adventures of James Rhodes during this time up until Age of Ultron might’ve been something fun to delve into. Perhaps Marvel Studios felt as though that this smaller scale movie/superhero wouldn’t have been big enough to be the studios first black-led superhero movie. Marvel Studios hasn’t made many missteps in the past decade and considering the buzz around what is coming later this week, it looks as though making Black Panther the first black-led film was another smart decision by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige.

Source: Screen Rant