Recently released concept art revealed that in cut footage from Avengers: Infinity WarRhodey was going to pilot the War Machine armor remotely via an advanced hologram system.
Artist Phil Saunders, who has worked as a concept artist and illustrator on a number of Marvel Cinematic Universe projects, shared images of a piece he created for Avengers: Infinity War on Instagram. “It’s one of Avengers: Infinity War where James Rhodes fights the Battle of Edinburgh from a distance, with his Tony Stark-designed leg braces locked in a holographic control system for War Machine mk4,” Saunders shared in his caption. In the image, Rhodey appears to be hanging inside the machine by large yellow arms attached to the leggings at the hips.
Saunders then shared more details about the cut footage and the other artists who worked on it, adding that “Bruce Banner would have piloted Hulkbuster (design by @joshnizzi.art) into battle against Proxima Midnight (courtesy @ jsmarantz and @adamwross) and Corvus Glaive (designed by @jsmarantz and @ianjoynerart) [but] Unfortunately, the footage was cut from the start.”
The Battle of Edinburgh, depicted in Infinity War, saw Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive attack Wanda Maximoff and Vision as the two attempted to remove the Mind Stone from Vision’s head, at least before Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson and Natasha Romanoff arrived as reinforcements and fought them off retired. Notably, James Rhodes and Bruce Banner did not appear in the final sequence and were both at Avengers Compound when the others arrived from Edinburgh.
Saunders ended his caption by expressing that he enjoyed working on the concept, saying “It was still fun solving problems to depict the overlap of live action and holographic going on!” While Tony Stark has piloted his suits remotely many times, including notable scenes in iron man 3 and Spider-Man: Homecoming, a holographic remote piloting system as illustrated in the art has not yet appeared. More armor concepts are coming to the MCU, with Riri Williams/Ironheart debuting in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever before his own Disney+ series and the Rhodey-centric series Armor Wars is expected to begin production later this year.
The Hulkbuster armor was first seen in the MCU in Avengers: Age of Ultron as an addition to the usual Iron Man suit designed to fight a rampaging Hulk. A second version of the armor appeared in Infinity War in the Battle of Wakanda, piloted by Bruce Banner instead of Tony Stark, as he could not access his Hulk form.
Source: Phil Saunders by Instagram