In one of the earliest scripts for the original Iron Man, the "Mandarin" was going to be a descendent of Ghengis Khan who was trying to establish a new empire in a fictional "-stan" country, funded by his massive oil reserves. The plot had him sending Stark-designed WMD's through pipelines that ran to the major western cities, holding the world hostage from his bunker-like oil refinery base. The final confrontation would have been between Crimson Dynamo and Tony in an upgraded Mk3 suit, built up with an outer layer of armor cladding and weapons, all of which would be stripped from him in the ensuing battle, leaving him to win by ingenuity.
I did a number of concepts for this proto-"War Machine" idea, until the entire script got the third-act overhaul that we all know and love. It was also wisely decided to keep War Machine for another movie, and to give him back to Rhodey where he belongs.