Following the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s tradition of adding one or more extra scenes at the end of the credits, Black Panther included two post-credits scenes, one featuring post- Civil War Bucky without his bionic arm - although that was not the only option for this scene. Set after the events in Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther reunites viewers with T’Challa, who returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king and the new Black Panther.
Though Black Panther does not feature any other superhero from the MCU, the post-credits scene takes us back to Civil War’s post-credits scene, where we saw Bucky voluntarily going back into cryo-stasis until a cure could be found for the brainwashing he went through for years. This new scene gives a hint at how much he has recovered thanks to Shuri’s technological and scientific skills, but there’s one detail missing: his arm, lost in battle against Tony Stark/Iron Man in Civil War. Although Wakanda has everything they need and more to give Bucky a new arm, there’s a good reason why the crew behind Black Panther decided not to do it.
In an interview with Empire for a spoiler special edition of Empire Podcast, director Ryan Coogler and executive producer Nate Moore shared a few secrets from the film, including their decision to not give Bucky a new arm - for now, at least. According to Moore, this scene puts Bucky back in the picture for Avengers: Infinity War, showing that he is no longer brainwashed, and not giving him a new arm somehow made him “more human”, setting him apart from his Winter Soldier identity. Moore explains:
“We did discuss [giving him a new arm]. There was a version when it was in, there was a version where it was out. The truth was, he felt more human when he wasn’t whole in Winter Soldier. He could just be Bucky and that’s why I think it was important for him as a character to go, ‘not Sergeant Barnes, my name’s Bucky. I am a person, I am no longer a soldier’."
Bucky will eventually get a new bionic arm, as he will join his lifelong friend Captain America - along with the rest of the Avengers, New Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and new heroes like Doctor Strange - to battle Thanos in Infinity War. Whether this new arm has anything new added to it (vibranium, maybe?) thanks to Shuri’s science expertise, that remains to be seen.
Bucky’s short but significant appearance is actually packed with hints at his current state and future in the MCU. It not only shows that he has been cured from all those years of HYDRA brainwashing but he is also referred to as “White Wolf” by a group of Wakandan children - another character from Marvel. In the comics, the “White Wolf” mantle is taken by a white child named Hunter who, after surviving a plane crash, is adopted by King T’Chaka and given Wakandan citizenship. Given that the connection between Bucky and Wakanda has now been established, it wouldn’t be too crazy if Bucky was given the White Wolf mantle at some point.
In the end, Black Panther subtly set a few things up for Avengers: Infinity War, and now that the release date has been moved up, we won’t have to wait long to see how this Bucky-Captain America-Black Panther connection will develop prior to their battle against Thanos.
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019