When Bob Iger returned to Disney, the typically busy Marvel Studios production pipeline didn’t just slow down…it came to a complete stop. The WGA and SAG strikes that followed allowed the studio to take a long look at the projects that were either already in production or the time or were on deck. No inside sources are necessary to understand that Iger didn’t like what he saw. Other than Marvel Studios’ Untitled Deadpool Movie, every project that was already underway has been hit with even further delays.
After filming for several months, the studio’s most ambitious streaming series to date, Daredevil: Born Again, essentially started from scratch. Showrunner Dario Scardapane, who wrote Netflix’s The Punisher, and Moon Knight and Loki directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead took over and while it is expected some of the footage already filmed will be kept, Moorehead indicated they were starting at “day zero.” While Captain America: Brave New World, which was immediately retitled when Iger returned, completed production before the strikes, rumors began to swirl the studio was planning significant reshoots. In December, those reshoots were confirmed along with the news that a new writer, Matthew Orton, had been brought on board to pen the new scenes. Destin Daniel Cretton’s streaming series, Wonder Man, which filmed for a few weeks in the spring before the strikes shut it down, was expected to restart production in November but has yet to get going again sparking rumors it, too, is being retooled. Finally, two additional films, Thunderbolts and Blade, both of which brought on new writers shortly before the WGA strike, were forced to push their start dates back. With 6 months of 2023 lost to the strikes and all the changes Marvel Studios chose to make, the chain reaction inevitably impacted all of the projects in the studio’s Multiverse Saga, including the one-time-series-turned-movie, Armor Wars.
First announced during Disney’s 2020 Investor Day, Armor Wars was originally planned as a Disney Plus streaming series. Based on a seven-issue run on Iron Man written by Bob Layton and David Michelinie and published in 1987, the project was developed as a starring vehicle for Don Cheadle.
For nearly a year, outside of vague updates by Cheadle, little was heard about the series.
In August 2021, Yassir Lester signed on to write the series but by October it was clear that not much progress had been made. In July 2022, fans started to worry that the project was scrapped when it wasn’t part of Marvel Studios big return to Hall H at SDCC ’22; however, it was included at the studio’s panel at September 2022’s D23 where Marvel Studio’s One Above All, Kevin Feige, indicated the cameras were set to roll on the project in 2023. Just a few weeks, later, however, news broke that Armor Wars was being developed as film because, according to Marvel Parliament member Nate Moore, the ideas that formed the basis of the project were “too big” for a streaming series. 2023 came and went and not only did Armor Wars not begin principal photography, it all but disappeared from the news cycle. But now, to kick off the new year, it’s back again.
According to insider Daniel RPK, with some order seemingly restored at Marvel Studios, Feige and crew have slowly started moving down the line of stacked-up projects and now it’s Armor Wars turn to finally get going. The insider reports that the studio will open the new year by searching for a director for the film in hopes of being able to begin production at some point in 2025. That would likely put the film somewhere on the studio’s 2026 slate which currently includes Avengers 5 on May 1st and three unknown films set to release on February 13th, July 24th and November 6th. With rumors that the streaming series Ironheart, which completed production in 2022, includes some plot ties to Armor Wars, was moved to a late 2025 release to allow it to stream closer to the release of the film, the timeline does seem to line up.
RPK also indicated that actor Sam Rockwell, who portrayed Justin Hammer, one of the two main antagonists in 2010’s Iron Man 2, has engaged in talks to reprise the role once more for Armor Wars. Rockwell has returned to the role both in the One-Shot, All Hail the King, and in Season 2 of What If…?, where he voiced the character in the episode “What If…Happy Hogan Saved Christmas”. Rockwell’s Hammer is a fan favorite and would make a strong addition to the project which will explore the repercussions of the work of Tony Stark, Hammer’s nemesis, falling into the hands of his enemies.