Summary

  • Tony Stark’s death in Avengers: Endgame prevented him from learning that his best friend Rhodey had been replaced by a Skrull, maintaining the bittersweet nature of his farewell.
  • The revelation that Rhodey was a Skrull since Captain America: Civil War raises heartbreaking implications, with Tony unaware of the deception all along.
  • Rhodey’s post-Endgame story in Armor Wars will revolve around reconciling the time he missed with Tony and his resentment towards the Skrulls, adding depth to the aftermath of Secret Invasion.


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The betrayal in Captain America: Civil War that led to Rhodey’s critical injury (albeit via friendly fire) was a painful experience for all MCU heroes, not least Iron Man – but that pain could have been magnified if Tony Stark hadn’t died in Avengers: Endgame. Tony Stark and Rhodey’s friendship across the MCU is tantamount to that of Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, with Tony’s rampant aggression towards the end of Captain America: Civil War no doubt compounded by his friend’s injury. Thankfully, the physiotherapy that Rhodey underwent following these events had him back on his feet and ready to play a crucial role in the events of Avengers: Endgame.

Secret Invasion threw all of this into question, however, after it was revealed that Rhodey had been replaced by a Skrull “for a long time.” The frustrating vagueness of this statement will no doubt be abated in future MCU installments, but until then, several theories surround the exact time Rhodey was replaced by a Skrull. One strong theory posits that it could even have been immediately after Captain America: Civil War. With Secret Invasion director Ali Selim heavily implying that this was the case, this carries some significant and heartbreaking implications that cut way deeper than the Captain America: Civil War betrayal.

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Rhodey’s Skrull Twist Is More Brutal With A Living Iron Man

The skrull Raava looks in a mirror in Secret Invasion 

In Secret Invasion, James Rhodes appears to be wearing the same hospital gown when he awakes New Skrullos as when he was hospitalized in Captain America: Civil War. This would mean that his involvement in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame was actually a Skrull pretender. More painful than the notion that Rhodey didn’t play a hand in the heroics of the Avengers, however, is the idea that Tony Stark was unaware of the deception all the while.

Tony Stark’s death, with Rhodey being the first among those involved in the Battle of Earth to say goodbye, circumvented the pain that Tony Stark would have no doubt experienced had he lived. Several years had passed following Captain America: Civil War, with Stark apparently being none the wiser to the fact that his best friend wasn’t his best friend at all. Setting aside the implications of Raava’s proficiency in the War Machine suit during the events of the Infinity Saga climax, this would have been a brutal revelation for Tony, posing another difficult hurdle for him to overcome.

Why The MCU Was Right To Avoid Its Most Brutal Rhodey Skrull Reveal

As it stands, Tony Stark believed with his dying breath that his best friend was who he said he was for all those years and that the heartfelt goodbye was genuine. For Marvel to suggest otherwise would significantly undermine the impact of Secret Invasion. This helps to keep the bittersweet final moments of Tony Stark’s seminal character arc intact. Yet Rhodey will now have to reintegrate into society while initially oblivious to the tumultuous events that occurred after Captain America: Civil War and, in particular, the death of his best friend.

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While tragic in its own right, this sets up a compelling plot thread for Amor Wars to explore. Rhodey’s story post-Avengers: Endgame will be just as much about him coming to terms with the time he missed with Tony as it will be about Tony’s legacy. It will also help to flesh out the implications of Secret Invasion, which were primarily left unresolved. Rhodey will have a pretty big bone to pick with the Skrulls, potentially putting him at odds with their plight on Earth.

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