WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Black Panther
Black Panther fans won't want to leave before the credits roll, since it's in the post-credits scenes that the future of Marvel's universe begins to take shape. Not that audiences will need any convincing to soak up every second of director Ryan Coogler's record-shattering Black Panther. Acclaimed as one of Marvel's best solo films since the very start, where the movie leaves T'Challa and his kingdom of Wakanda will have fans talking for months to come. And knowing that Avengers: Infinity War is coming soon, dissecting exactly how Black Panther's ending changes the MCU will only get more entertaining.
But after all the dust settles, and fans prepare to hunt down every Black Panther Easter egg and secret comic book nod, the post-credits scenes deliver the real knockout blows. We're breaking down how T'Challa's speech will reshape the MCU, and more importantly, what the return of Bucky Barnes to the Marvel Universe means.
Black Panther may only tease Bucky's return, but it reveals more than fans may catch. So strap in.
This Page: Black Panther Post-Credit Scene - Bucky Returns
Black Panther Post-Credit Scene: Bucky Returns
That's right Marvel fans, Bucky is BACK! Last seen being secreted into Wakanda and entrusted into the care of T'Challa by his best pal Steve, Bucky (Sebastian Stan) has awoken. The specifics are intentionally vague, and with good reason. According to director Ryan Coogler, the Black Panther post-credits scenes weren't ordered by Marvel Studios at all. The decision was made by his own creative team to address the elephant in the room, post Civil War.
If Bucky isn't going to be pulled out of his induced hibernation to help back up T'Challa, he definitely needs to make an appearance once the story's over. And so he does in Black Panther's post-credits scene. Bucky is shown living on the outskirts of Wakanda's capitol, where he can be stumbled upon and crytpically teased by some children passing by. He is still without his new arm - the "upgrade" seen in Infinity War's trailer.
Shuri shows up to tell him that he still has much to learn, but going on what's already been teased ahead of the next Avengers, fans may know more about Bucky' present and future than even HE does.
Bucky Returns as a Hero... We Think
After Bucky's scene rolls, fans can finally understand just who Shuri was referring to when calling Everett Ross "another white boy" for her to look after. The first is Bucky, even though the end of Civil War implied that it would be T'Challa, or his top scientific minds overseeing Steve's friend. In the end, it was his own sister, possessing a mind rivaling that of Tony Stark (we're probably being generous... to Tony). While the Black Panther scene favors mystery over answers, fans need look no further than the Infinity War Prelude comic released by Marvel. And the comic picks up immediately after Steve's scene comes to a close.
Fans looking for a full breakdown of the comic's explanation for Bucky's brainwashing "reboot" should pick up the issue themselves (get a bonus glimpse of Captain America fighting ISIS with Widow and Falcon). But to make a long story short, Shuri compiles a digital replica of Bucky's brain to treat his damage without rattling his psyche any further. We don't know exactly how much time passes before she solves the problem, but she claims she has. After separating the traumatic, Steve-Rogers-focused memories that HYDRA used to brainwash him from the conditioning, Bucky can be at peace. At least, that's the plan.
It certainly seems like Bucky Barnes is his old self again. When he wakes up, Shuri believes that he can be the man he used to be, fighting alongside his friend Steve in World War II. That explains why he's fighting beside Steve and T'Challa come Infinity War, and with a new arm made of Wakandan tech - which could be either a gift, or a dark sign that his life of warfare is far from over.
Related: Where The Hell Is The Soul Stone?
In the end, it may be the name he's referred to by those Wakandan children that spells out his true destiny...