New information regarding Avengers: Infinity War confirms Bucky Barnes will shed the Winter Soldier moniker and become the White Wolf. Comics are well-known for reviving characters and crafting new identities for them, but the post-Bronze Age for Marvel and DC has proven to be especially adept at rebranding sidekicks. Jason Todd returned from the dead to become the Red Hood, while Marvel pulled a similar move when they revived Captain America's wartime partner Bucky and transformed him into the Winter Soldier. The Marvel Cinematic Universe followed suit, but now it looks like they will move past the page.
Bucky is still typically known as the Winter Soldier in the comics and even has the red star on his arm despite its implications. However, Black Panther rehabilitated Bucky following Captain America: Civil War, and even teased a new name for the character. Called 'White Wolf' by some Wakandan children, it wasn't clear if the title was simply a nod to the comics or offering a glimpse of the future. Now, we know it's the latter.
EW has released 15 Avengers: Infinity War covers that highlight the heroes of Marvel's upcoming epic. Most notably, the image of Bucky also comes with some bonus information regarding the character's new nom de guerre:
“Sebastian Stan’s rehabilitated assassin now goes by White Wolf. It’s intriguing to see a man whose memories were scrambled, wiped, and rebuilt paired with Pom Klementieff’s alien mind-reader.”
In the comics, the White Wolf is the name given to Hunter, a white man who grew up in Wakanda after his parents' plane crashed there when he was a child. Adopted by King T'Chaka, he grew to lead the Hatut Zeraze, the secret police of the nation. Though T'Challa disbanded the group, they've since returned to prominence alongside him. And while Hunter is part of Black Panther's family tree in the comics, it looks like the movie is using his essence for the all-new Bucky.
Though Black Panther almost gave Bucky a new arm, the new cover gives us our best look yet at the upgraded appendage that will appear in Avengers: Infinity War. The note about Bucky being paired with Mantis is also interesting, and perhaps her powers will further help him gain a new lease on life. For now, the biggest question is whether the MCU's White Wolf will get a costume to match his comic book counterpart. This summer will certainly shake things up in the Marvel universe, so it'll be interesting to see what the new Bucky is like in Avengers: Infinity War.
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