Terrence Howard is out and Don Cheadle is in – in the War Machine armor, that is. Howard will not be reprising his role as James “Rhodey” Rhodes in Iron Man 2; he’s being replaced with Cheadle… despite the fact that Robert Downey Jr proved in Tropic Thunder that he could totally play the role!

Sources say that Howard is out because negotiations fell apart over money. I understand that the guy wanted more dough, and he certainly deserves it, but what he really needed was the franchise. Rhodey’s role is expected to be expanded in the sequel, with him donning his own suit of armor and taking a bigger part of the action. Howard’s been perpetually on the verge of being big since his massive breakthrough in Hustle & Flow, and this latest bump in the road makes me worried that the actor will never ascend to the level where he belongs.

In the meantime I’m interested in seeing what Cheadle brings to the role. It seems obvious that the very nature of the relationship between Stark and Rhodes will be different simply because Cheadle has such a different style than Howard.