[This article contains SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War]
One month out from Captain America: Civil War, the MCU is clicking right along. The film is an unquestionable success, marking Disney’s dominance in the movie market this year. However, the fallout from the superhero schism will have a major impact on Marvel’s film world. How it will effect the upcoming entries in the franchise and its characters, including Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Black Panther, is hazy at this time. Clearly, nothing will be the same in the Marvel universe – especially for the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
Speaking with an audience during their Wizard World panel (via Comicbook.com), Stan was asked about where he’d like to see the Winter Soldier show up next. After a stern warning about breaking the internet from co-star Chris Evans, Stan delved into Bucky’s possible future in the MCU. Stan hinted:
“I don't know, man. I mean, there's obviously a very clear answer but I'm not maybe say it, now. Where did he end up at the end of the movie? That's the movie he should be in. I feel that would be the natural…but I don’t’ know.”
Stan’s appearance in Black Panther would mark a departure for Bucky Barnes from his Captain America roots. It would also be the first time Stan appears outside a Russo Brothers-helmed picture since the Captain America: The First Avenger. At the moment, though, Stan doesn’t appear on the casting list alongside Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o and Michael B. Jordan. It's still early though, and there’s already been speculation prior characters like Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) and Secretary Ross (Martin Freeman) will be making an appearance in the film. Barnes could show up after the main cast is announced or remain a secret until launch.
Although Stan clearly isn't sure about Bucky’s role in Ryan Coogler’s upcoming film, he does makes a good point. In the superhero world – especially the MCU – it’s all about location location location. Studio head Kevin Feige simply doesn’t place his characters willy-nilly throughout the Marvel world. If Bucky Barnes ended up in Wakanda, there’s probably a very good reason for it. The Winter Soldier’s appearance in Black Panther could definitely add a fun, surprising element to the film depending on whether or not someone’s been able to deprogram the super-soldier.
Of course, waking the Winter Solider before he’s cured of his brainwashing wouldn’t make sense, unless it was done by malicious forces, or King T’Challa needing a little backup when dealing with his own batch of baddies. It’s also possible, although a bit of a stretch, that Tony Stark or Doctor Strange could break his programming before or during Black Panther. However, Bucky Barnes true involvement in the Wakanda-based spinoff remains to be seen. It would be great if he stops by, even if not until the very end.
Captain America: Civil War is in theaters now. Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.