There's much ado about War Machine going on right now, and it's not hard to understand why — as you can see from the recently revealed "Iron Man 2" poster, the guy is just flat-out cool.
While "Iron Man" fans are already well aware of James "Rhodey" Rhodes, the character is set to explode even further thanks to his armored up role in "Iron Man 2," this time played by Don Cheadle. Beyond the upcoming superhero film, Cheadle is reportedly signed on for a role in "The Avengers," meaning we haven't seen the last of War Machine by a long shot.
But if the character proves popular enough, maybe Rhodey could wind up with a film franchise of his own. If that happens, here are some suggestions for how to make that "War Machine" spinoff work.
1. A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: The good news about a "War Machine" movie is that we wouldn't need an origin story, thanks to the set-up involved in the "Iron Man" franchise. Still, it would be nice to get a sense of the character's early life through a series of flashbacks. Rhodey's history as a soldier and combat pilot could lay the groundwork for the main plot of the movie, while also serving to show some badass war-based flashback sequences.
2. OLD FRIENDS, NEW FRIENDS: It would be interesting to see Robert Downey Jr. play second fiddle to Don Cheadle in a "War Machine" movie, but I would be cautious about giving Tony Stark too much screen time. This is Rhodey's movie, so a bit-sized part for RDJ would suffice. Besides, there are plenty of other comic book characters that could be utilized in a "War Machine" spin-off, such as mercenary Parnell Jacobs and occasional armor-bearer Bethany Cabe.
3. TARGETING THE ENEMY: There is no shortage of excellent Iron Man villains to choose from that War Machine himself has personal ties to. Characters like Zodiac and Radioactive Man could make for interesting nemeses, though I'd love to see Rhodey go after the Ghost, an enigmatic assassin with a bone to pick against corporate America. Maybe Ghost could cause severe injury to Stark, prompting War Machine to embark on a vengeance quest. That's a movie I'd pay to see!
4. WEAPONS OF WAR: One of the biggest distinctions between War Machine and Iron Man is their choice of weaponry. Whereas Tony's armor is sleek and refined, Rhodey is all about the heavy artillery. But beyond rockets and gatling guns and other forms of massive firepower, War Machine is a hero that can really operate outside the box — in Greg Pak's recent run on the character, Rhodey was able to assimilate surrounding bits of technology into his own suit, almost like a Transformer. Seeing that in live-action would be very, very cool.
5. THE HEART OF THE ARMOR: Above all else — the crazy armor, the vast weaponry, the awe-inspiring villains — a "War Machine" movie needs to rely on the same central ingredient that made the "Iron Man" franchise so successful: character. Rhodey is much more than just a guy in a suit — he's got a rich backstory, an excellent personality and, maybe most importantly, a phenomenal actor filling the role. By focusing the movie on the man driving the armor rather than the armor itself, "War Machine" could be a truly worthwhile experience.
What do you think are some of the essential ingredients for a "War Machine" spinoff? Let us know in the comments section or on Twitter!