Don Cheadle Speaks Out on Rhodey Stepping Out of the Shadow of Iron Man and The Avengers in ‘Secret Invasion’

Following a brief cameo in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Don Cheadle‘s James Rhodes steps into a bit of a new role as a “political animal” in his second post-Blip appearance in Secret Invasion. Now the “right hand” of Dermot Mulroney‘s President Ritson, Rhodey has traded in the War Machine suit for a three-piece (at least through the first two episodes). While Rhodes’ full role in the series has yet to be revealed, Cheadle’s character seems as though he’ll survive and advance given he’s set to star in Armor Wars.

For Cheadle, Secret Invasion provided not only his first time to share an extended scene with star Samuel L. Jackson but also for the character to step out of the shadow of Tony Stark and The Avengers. During the global press event for the Disney Plus streaming series, Cheadle was asked what it was like to step into the role again without the comfort of so many familiar characters. “It was liberating not to have to carry that dead weight,” joked Cheadle before shooting straight.

It was great. Look, I’ve known Sam for a long time, and, you know, we’ve spent a lot of time, you know, talking about what it would be like to work together, looking for projects to do together. So, you know, the central relationship between myself and Sam, and this is, you know, it was very important to me and I was very glad to be brought on.

Don Cheadle on Rhodey’s role in Secret Invasion

Cheadle went on to reveal that his character didn’t originally have a role in Secret Invasion…until his longtime friend changed that. “I don’t think it was originally conceived that Rhodey was gonna be in this,” said the actor. “But when it came to me and Sam called me, I was really excited about leaning into it.” And lean into it he did, especially given the room he had to work in the new environment.

And also being in a show like this, that’s really a departure from what I have been in, as far as the genre goes, it’s really an opportunity to act and really, you know, lean into some human stuff, which was also a lot of fun. And, you know, as Emilia [Clarke] said and as Olivia [Colman] said, as Kingsley [Ben-Adir] said, as Ben [Mendelsohn] said, this is a great cast and [director] Ali [Selim]was a great director, a great leader. So it was just all upside, and, you know, very happy to, you know, look into who Rhodey is and to probe that more and kind of find out what really makes him tick.

Don Cheadle

Fans don’t have long to wait to find out exactly what it is that makes Rhodey tick as Secret Invasion premieres on Disney Plus on June 21st .

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