While Captain Marvel may be one of the strongest, if not the strongest superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, she still will most likely never experience her greatest romance with War Machine in the comic books. Carol Danvers is fiercely independent, a proud warrior (in the MCU she was raised as a Kree, after all), and a member of the United States Air Force – and so is James Rhodes, who was in the military long before his superhero career. Unfortunately, the two will most likely never meet onscreen.
Carol Danvers’ romantic history is notable in that her first love interest was Captain Marvel himself. From her first appearance, Carol was smitten with Mar-Vell but acted cold to his alter-ego, Doctor Walter Lawson. This was quite similar to Superman’s dynamic with Lois Lane in DC Comics at the time, in that she didn’t even give Clark the time of day (at least at first). Eventually, Carol would adopt the Captain Marvel name for herself in 2012 (after a very long string of adopting many other names, such as Ms. Marvel, then Warbird, then Binary, and finally Ms. Marvel again).
While the relationship between Carol Danvers and James Rhodes is relatively new in comics (at least compared to comic mainstay couples like Peter Parker and Mary Jane, Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, etc.), the pair have survived much, including an ill-fated trip to the future in which Carol saw Rhodes’ daughter – and realized she wasn’t her mother. Danvers broke up with Rhodes but thought better of it (especially after a very awkward one-night-stand with none other than Doctor Strange), and as of 2021, the pair are still together.
But the relationship in the comics unfortunately will be nearly impossible to replicate on screen. Actor Brie Larson, who plays Captain Marvel, is currently 32 years old while War Machine’s actor Don Cheadle is 56. It’s a significant age gap that is difficult to ignore, even in Hollywood where selective ageism runs rampant, and men above 50 can play action stars but women in their 40s (or even 30s) must settle for stereotypical “older” roles. The cinema double standard aside, the relationship doesn’t have much upon which to build; Captain Marvel and War Machine exchanged exactly one line of dialogue together during Avengers: Endgame (and the conversation didn’t last long in the first place).
War Machine is set to feature in the upcoming Disney+ series Armor Wars, while Captain Marvel flies again in 2022’s The Marvels, the latter of which has no romantic interest for Carol Danvers as of yet. Perhaps the characters might not even meet again for a very long time. Nevertheless, the considerably age gap between actors means a Captain Marvel and War Machine romance is highly unlikely, if not out of the question entirely.