Read on only if you don't mind reading spoilers for the film.
|Appeared in|| Iron Man|
Iron Man 2
Iron Man 3
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Captain America: Civil War
|Actor|| Terrence Howard|
- "This lone gunslinger act is unnecessary... you don't have to do this alone!"
- ―War Machine[src]
Lieutenant Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes is a jet pilot in the U.S. Airforce and an aerospace engineer. He is a good friend of Tony Stark and acts as the liaison between Stark Industries and the military in the department of acquisitions. His power comes from his high-tech battle suit known as the War Machine armor, which grants him extraordinary strength, durability, flight capabilities and various on-board weaponry. He is currently a member of the Avengers.
- "Next time, Baby."
- ―James Rhodes [src]
Colonel James Rhodes attends a ceremony to present Tony Stark with an award for his work, but Stark is not in attendance. Tony's right-hand man Obadiah Stane accepts the award in Tony's honor. Rhodes later finds Tony partying in a casino.
Next day, in a flight, Tony talks with Rhodes. Rhodes is unhappy about Tony's lax attitude, and Tony tries to get his old friend to relax. Before long they are drunk and leering at the stewardesses.
Tony arrives at a military outpost in the Middle East to demonstrate his company's latest project - the Jericho, a super-missile system. After the demonstration, Tony goes off with the convoy that is soon attacked by terrorists.
Months later, after his escape, Stark walks over more sand dunes when a couple of US helicopters fly overhead. A group of soldiers, led by Rhody, come across Tony. Rhody is overjoyed to find that his friend is alive.
Shortly after, Tony appears before a group of reporters and announces that he intends to shut down Stark Industries' weapons manufacturing division immediately.
Tony comes to visit Rhodes and asks for help with a new private project. Rhodes does not agree with Tony's approach; he thinks Stark is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of his capture and needs time to recover.
In a Middle East village, terrorists are rounding up civilians for capture & execution when they are confronted by a mysterious figure in red and gold. Iron Man has arrived. Within seconds, he defeats the terrorists and destroys the weapons they had obtained.
As Iron Man leaves the area, two F-22 jets spot him. Col. Rhodes is asked about the status of any new developments. He contacts Tony, who claims that he knows nothing about what is happening. Iron Man tries to outrun the jets but they are too much for him. Tony calls Rhodes and reveals that he is responsible for the "unidentified craft." Rhodes is furious about Tony sending in unauthorized equipment, and horrified when Tony explains that the "equipment" is actually himself. Iron Man is hit by one fighter jet, sending him flying into the wing of the second jet. The pilot is forced to eject, but the parachute fails to open. Iron Man, still under fire, manages to fly in and successfully deploy the parachute in time to save the pilot's life. Tony convinces Rhodes to pass off what happened with the jets as a "training exercise."
Days later, Stane arrives at Tony's house and paralyzes him with a sonic weapon. Obadiah yanks out the power source from Tony's heart, taunting him all the while. After he leaves, Tony realizes that he has only one hope for survival - the preserved Arc Reactor that Pepper gave him in a display case. He gets the power source installed just as Rhodes arrives, who had been earlier informed on what was happening from Pepper.
Rhodes watches Tony suit up, awestruck at the Iron Man costume, saying that it's the "coolest" thing he has ever seen. As Tony flies away, Rhody looks at the prototype silver suit Tony built earlier... then shakes his head and mumbles "Next time, baby." Acting on Tony's orders, he is able to prevent the military from getting involved in Tony's fight against Stane by passing it off as a routine training exercise.
Days later, Rhodes holds a press conference about the incident with the two robots and tries to pass it off as a training exercise, just before Tony exposes himself as Iron Man.
Iron Man: Security Measures
According to Phil Coulson, when Tony was kidnapped by the Ten Rings in Afghanistan, Rhodey was were 5 minutes behind when Tony got kidnapped and when he got to the area, Tony was gone.
Iron Man: Fast Friends
Sometime before Tony was captured by the Ten Rings, Rhodey was present in Arizona when Tony was presenting his Accelerated wave explosion, later Rhodey asked Pepper if she have the weapons specifics, she that yes, Rhodey asked her to give to the generals while he tries to talk to Tony, One Hour later he ended up joining Tony in a nightclub, in the nightclub Tony was punched in the face by one person in the club who was angry with him after his girlfriend left with Stark a week prior, but then Rhodey punched the man in face
After the death of Obadiah Stane, Rhodey had Tony go to the hospital, When Tony asked what hospital they were going, Rhodey said it was "surprise", actually they were heading to a S.H.I.E.L.D. base where Agent Coulson was waiting for them, Coulson explained to Stark he was not good in battle, Stark asked Rhodey what was happening, Rhodey said that Stark may be getting recruited, Coulson then presented Stark and Rhodey their headquaters explaining to them what they do at S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson then told them that they had Pepper Potts schedule a conference about the battle, Stark asked what he should say in the conference, Rhodey bets that they will give him a script and hopes Tony will stick up with it. which Coulson confirms, as S.H.I.E.L.D. wants the whole episode as quiet a possible.
After Tony revealed that he was Iron Man, Rhodey told him that ever since that day, he discovered a new hobby, covering for him. Tony joked saying that he was there for business unrelated to the military. As they went downstairs, Rhodey asked Tony if he was the one who hit the depot in Pavlodar. Tony said if Rhodes thought he was interested in a Ten Rings sect in cahoots with rogue Russian nationalists they could do worse than Kazakhstan in Spring. Rhodes told Tony that it was confirmed that the Ten Rings were involved, but at least the hostages were okay, as they could've died. Rhodey explained that it was a matter of protocol and that Tony was making people nervous by rushing and dealing with situations before he had been officially deployed. Rhodey informed Tony that the military had him write a report about it. Rhodey received a phone call, wanting Tony to come in to be briefed about a mission in Al Kūt but Tony put on his armor and left, not wanting people to lose their lives while he met with the military.
Senator Stern watched a news report about Stark's mission in Al Kūt, he believed that Stark was getting worse. Rhodey told Stern that Stark was a good friend and he had already talked to him. Stern deemed it a matter of national security and was annoyed that Stark was not listening. Sterns brought in Thaddeus Ross to tackle the program from a different angle. When Ross arrived at Stern's office, he informed them that he was in a hurry as he wanted to return to the Gamma Project but the US army couldn't afford to wait for Tony Stark to straighten up.
Ross told Stern and Rhodes to follow him, he was going to show them a top secret project, a weapon that would be the right way to send the right message to the enemies of freedom, which was that they don't need Tony Stark. Justin Hammer arrived and presented the Aerodynamic Marvel which he considered the next step in close-quarter combat with full protection and attack capabilities
When Tony returned from Afghanistan, Pepper and Rhodes met with him and Rhodey told him that Justin Hammer had started to work with his superiors and seemed to be getting more independent in his projects. Rhodey answered a call and was informed that the Aerodymamic Marvel was shot down and had fallen into enemy territory. Rhodes told Tony that they had a trained airman to pilot the machine and he was being held captive by the enemy.
- "You can have your suit back."
- ―James Rhodes [src]
James Rhodes is called upon to write a report analyzing Iron Man. He is used to try and get the Iron Man armor handed over to the US Government.
Later, Tony gets drunk at his birthday party because he knows he is dying of palladium poisoning. Rhodes puts on the Mark II armor to stop Tony, who is wearing the Mark IV, and putting his party guests at risk. After the brawl, Rhodes flies back to the airbase. The Mark II is upgraded into the "JRXL-1000 Variable Threat Response Battle Suit" or "War Machine". Rhodes is selected as the pilot.
During Justin Hammer's display of Hammer Drones at the Stark Expo, Ivan Vanko takes control of the drones and the War Machine armor, trying to use them to destroy Iron Man. Agent Romanoff of S.H.I.E.L.D. manages to give Rhodes control over his armor and he uses it to aid Iron Man in his fight against the drones.
Iron Man and War Machine are then faced by a new and improved Whiplash. The pair defeat Whiplash and Rhodes decides to keep the suit. Stark and Rhodes are then awarded medals for their bravery.
Tony stripped the War Machine armor of everything that Justin Hammer had "upgraded" it with leaving the suit with no weaponry. When Rhodes pointed this out to Stark, Stark revealed that he had made Rhodes his own suit, the War Machine 2.0.
Rhodes began using this suit to take down Ten Rings terrorists in other countries finding that they had acquired Hammer Industries weaponry. Rhodes took out the terrorists and continued to investigate the mysterious Ten Rings. By the time of the Chitauri invasion of New York, Rhodes was busy fighting terrorists in Asia. Tony contacted him but Rhodes told him that even at supersonic speed it'd take over an hour for him to return so Tony told him not to bother. After dealing with the terrorists in Asia, Rhodes returned to New York, finding the battle already over he located Stark in a Shawarma restaurant where he was introduced to the Avengers.
Some time later, Tony invited Rhodes to his workshop. He had realized that not even Iron Man and War Machine would be enough to protect the Earth. Tony revealed to Rhodey that he had developed several Iron Man armors that could be remotely controlled - an Iron Legion.
After Melter attacked and defeated War Machine, Tony and Rhodey teamed up and confronted the villain. They defeated him and put him in the custody of the United States Military.
- "Iron Patriot is on the job!"
- ―James Rhodes[src]
Shortly after the Chitauri invasion of New York, Rhodey's War Machine suit was re branded into the Iron Patriot by A.I.M.. Rhodey and Tony were having drinks at a bar whilst discussing the new paint job of the War Machine and the threat of the Mandarin. However this discussion was cut short when Tony had an anxiety attack and left in his suit.
Much later after Tony went missing after another Mandarin attack and a third Mandarin broadcast, Rhodey was ordered to a possible broadcast source, only to find villagers. Whilst there, Rhodey was contacted by Tony who asked for his log in details, his log in which Rhodey hesitantly gave to Tony. Later Rhodey followed another possible Mandarin broadcast source only to find another false lead. As the villagers thanked Rhodey, one women crippled the suit using Extremis.
Rhodey later woke up in the Mandarin's lair as numerous engineers attempted to cut Rhodey out of the suit to no avail. Eventually Aldrich Killian came and used his Extremis powers to break Rhodey out. Once out Rhodey punched Eric Savin and tried to run only to be stopped by Killian's fire breath and Savin rendering him unconscious. Rhodey later woke up to find Tony running through the facility with his newest suit and that Savin had stolen the Iron Patriot suit. Tony then lead Rhodey upstairs to the Mandarin whom turned out to be a drunken British actor named Trevor Slattery just posing as Mandarin for Killian so he could get rich from the supply of the Extremis product. Also that the vice president was involved.
Later Rhodey and Tony using Trevor's speed boat contacted Vice President Rodriguez and warned him about the threat and the danger to the president whom Rodriguez promised to have Ellis alerted (but was really also working with Killian too). Later Rhodey witnessed Tony saving the President's assistants ejected from the plane by Savin saved by Tony's remote controlled suit. After this Rhodey and Tony using just pistols lead an attack on a dock area where Killian was. After being discovered early, Tony called for his Iron Legion to appear. Rhodey requested one but the suits were only encoded to Tony, forcing Rhodey to go after the president without a suit. Rhodey eventually discovered Ellis trapped in the Patriot suit above an oil tanker and freed him. After recovering his suit Rhodey flew Ellis out of the area.
Later after Killian was defeated Rhodey returned to his original duties and witnessed the arrest of Rodriguez. Much later he also witnessed Dr. Wu remove the shrapnel from Tony's chest in surgery, making Tony free to never again worry about heart trouble.
- "Welcome to the dance floor boys"
- ―James Rhodes[src]
Rhodes attended a party that was thrown by Tony after he and the other Avengers had captured Loki's Scepter. During the party, he told his story of how he became the War Machine, to the uninterest of the Avengers but to the entertainment of the other guest. During the after party, Ultron had activated and attacked the Avengers and escaped with the Scepter. Rhodes suggest that Ultron was after the nuclear codes to destroy the human race.
Later, while the Avengers were fighting Ultron, Rhodes assisted S.H.I.E.L.D. in evacuating the civilians and taking down any Ultron drone that was attempting to escape. After the battle, he joined the New Avengers, a team lead by Captain America and Black Widow and consisted of Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Falcon.
- "Congratulations Cap. You're a criminal."
- ―War Machine to Captain America[src]
Rhodey’s friendship with Tony Stark goes way back and his loyalty to him goes hand-in-hand with his loyalty to his country as the Avenger known as War Machine — the Tony Stark-designed ultimate protector. As a military man, Rhodey agrees with Stark in favor of government regulation and brings War Machine to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Iron Man in the fight.
Rhodes is a "Soldier with a concience". He doesn't lnherrantly want to kill, however if he is attacked, or has no other option he will. Though the toll of which will weigh on his mind.
Rhodes is depicted in the film wearing a "Brass Rat", the MIT school ring, indicating that in the film, he and Stark were graduates of the same college, and on his other hand he wears an Air Force Academy ring, suggesting that he received his masters degree from MIT after earning a "grad school slot" for high academic achievement while at USAFA.
- Skilled Aviator: Rhodey is a skilled combat pilot and is capable of maneuvering most if not all Tony's Iron Man armors.
- Skilled Engineer: Rhodey studied in the U.S. Air Force service him to become an aviation engineer. He helped redesigned the Mark II with Justin Hammer tranforming it into War Machine.
- Skilled Combatant: Rhodey is an experienced soldier trained in unarmed combat and military weaponry such as small arms. Rhodey was more than able to handle himself against Killian's Extremis Soldiers, even punching Eric Savin to the ground with a single punch. After escaping the Mandarin's mansion, Rhodey was able to take down the guards with ease, while searching for Tony.
- Skilled Marksman: Aside from the Iron Patriot weaponry, Rhodey is a very skilled marksman.
- Arc Reactor: Utilizing the arc reactor Stark was using just before his upgrade to the new and more improved arc reactor. It is unknown if it is just as powerful or slightly less powerful than the one Stark uses now. Nonetheless, it is still effectively powerful enough to power his armor. Chest battery is capable of generating at least eight gigajoules of energy. Only a fraction of this energy is required to power the Mark II exoskeletal structure.
- Armor: Rhodey uses a modified Iron Man armor to become War Machine. The armor allows him to fly and contains various weapons for battle. The armor is more heavily armored and equipped than Tony's.
The War Machine armor (also the Mark II Iron Man armor/the Variable Threat Response Battlesuit) is the only other powerful suit next to the Iron Man armor. Before weaponization of the suit, it was sufficient enough to battle a more updated and powerful generation armor (the Mark IV). Upon weaponization of the armor, it was sufficient enough to nearly overpowered the Mark VI (while under Vanko's control), battle hordes of Hammer drones and Vanko with his own armor.
- Flight: The armor can reach speeds as Mach 3 in moments. It is equipped with non-weapons grade repulsor based flight stabilizers that theoretically reach speeds of Mach 8 similar to the Mark IV's flight stabilizers. It was able to keep up with the Mark VI during the battle over the Stark Expo and catch Iron Man off-guard and tackled him into the Orcale building.
- Strength: Rhodes in the armor is capable of lifting 30 tons or more due to the fact that it is more heavily armored than Stark's.
- Armor Systems: The armor has remote assistance (it is unknown at this time if JARVIS provides support or another computer A.I.-like support system), and the armor also have a holographic HUD, with cellphone and computer connections in the helmet. The armor is powered by a miniature arc reactor and has an on-board generator for emergencies. The scanner systems are capable of scanning the environment, weather conditions and equipment for information. The armors also have variable control surfaces for active flight control. The Hull Pressure Transducers are onboard sensors that track external pressure based on altitude, speed, and temperature, and adjust internal settings appropriately.
- Durability: The armor is made of a solar charged carbon-composite-based external plating armor, and has a chestplate protecting the arc reactor. It is shown that it can withstand tremendous amounts of punishment. It had withstood a full-on fight with the Mark IV in Stark's house. It had withstood the full-on fight with the Hammer Drones and withstood the full-on ammo unloaded on both him and Stark while in their respective suits. It was also able to withstand damage done on it by Vanko in his own suit. It also protects the wearer from the effects of extreme g-forces.
- Self-Contained Life-Support System & Environmental Protection: The armor can be completely sealed for operations in vacuum or underwater, providing its own life support, and is shielded against radiation.
- Repulsors: A particle beam weapon in the palm gauntlets. Can repel physical and energy-based attacks.
- Unibeam: A powerful Repulsor Beam.
- Reflexes: The armors have motors for movement. It is shown to be extremely fast and responsive in flight, and during the fights.
In addition to the physical capabilities and various weaponry it already possesses, it also utilizes laser guided munitions. The armor's heavy weapons arsenal of ballistic weaponry was provided by defense contractor Justin Hammer of Stark Industries' rival company Hammer Industries. On the right shoulder, there is an M134 7.62mm minigun that can extend or retract in or out of its "cup". On the left shoulder, there is a bunker buster Sidewinder missile. Each wrist supports twin 9mm Claridge Hi-Tec semi-automatic pistols. The 5.56x45mm FN F2000 was ideal for mounting inside of the gauntlets due to the unique way it discharges spent casings out the front. Custom feeds send the rounds directly into the gun, eliminating the standard 30-round magazine.
- The Avengers - Allies and teammates.
- T'Challa/Black Panther - Ally.
- Spider-Man - Ally.
- Scott Lang/Ant-Man - Enemy.
- Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier - Enemy.
- Clint Barton/Hawkeye - Enemy.
- Pepper Potts - Friend.
- Happy Hogan - Friend.
- Ivan Vanko/Whiplash - Enemy.
- Justin Hammer - Enemy.
- Mandarin - Enemy.
- Eric Savin - Enemy.
- Aldrich Killian - Enemy.
- Ultron - Enemy.
- Ultron Sentries - Enemies.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (5 films)
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (5 comics)
Behind the scenes
- According to Don Cheadle, Rhodey's skills as a pilot are the reason why unlike Tony Stark, he doesn't need an AI to help him operate his armor. 
- Cheadle was the first choice for Rhodes in Iron Man, but was unavailable at the time. Similarly, Zachary Levi was the first choice for Fandral in Thor; was unavailable for the first film but portrayed the character when he was recast for the sequel.
- In order to play the part of Rhodes, Marvel made Terrence Howard go through extensive military flight training, which Howard enjoyed. However, he never appears flying a jet in the finished film, making all of his training a waste.
- Terrence Howard did not reprise his role in the second film because negotiations had broke down with Marvel. Howard, was the first person cast in Iron Man, had received the highest pay out of all the actors in the film, and Marvel wanted to decrease his pay for the sequel. Howard, however, disagreed, and left the role. Cheadle was quickly contacted to replace Howard, and had only hours to accept or decline the role.
- Before he became War Machine in the comics, Rhodes served as Iron Man for a while when Tony had to step down due to his drinking problems.
- Both Terrence Howard and Don Cheadle were in the film Crash.
- The original draft of The Avengers explained Rhodey's absence as War Machine by stating that he and Pepper were at a Stark Industries conference overseas. Rhodes would have been S.H.I.E.L.D.'s first choice to pilot the Iron Man armor, as Tony was found 'unsuitable' at the end of Iron Man 2. His absence was going to have S.H.I.E.L.D. begrudgingly accept Tony into the Initiative; where he would evidently prove himself. However, once Gwyneth Paltrow signed on for her extended cameo (she was not originally going to appear in the film); all mention of Rhodes was removed from the film as Pepper's role was modified, however it was confirmed his absense will be explained in a comic book prequel to Iron Man 3.
- His rank changes from Lt. Col. to just Col. in the films, possibly have gotten a promotion between or after the events of Iron Man 2 and before the events of Iron Man 3, most likely because of the service with the War Machine and Iron Patriot Armors.