[Potential SPOILERS For Black Panther below.]
Despite playing a key role in Captain America: Civil War, and his presence in the Wakanda-set post-credits scene, the Winter Soldier will not be appearing in Black Panther. With Bucky Barnes still prone to manipulation thanks to his Hydra days, the hero-turned-unwitting assassin willingly chose to go back into cryo-sleep. This time however, instead of being locked away for later use by Hydra, he was brought to Wakanda and given protection under the watchful eye of T’Challa.
With his current status confirmed, it seemed likely that Bucky would have at least some role to play in the upcoming standalone Black Panther film. Now, however, it has been confirmed that Bucky Barnes will presumably remain on ice throughout T’Challa’s solo adventure.
GMA spoke to Sebastian Stan about the possibility of the Winter Soldier playing a role in the goings-on of Wakanda, and the actor confirmed he does not have a part. The explanation for his absence may well have to wait for Avengers: Infinity War.
With Bucky sitting Black Panther out, the solo film is without a key connection to the larger MCU. That is not necessarily a bad thing, however. The interest in Black Panther is already high without the promise of tying up Civil War story threads, as the film’s main selling point is its focus on Marvel’s first leading African American superhero and the world he inhabits.
On the other hand, it may not be that difficult for Bucky’s situation to be quickly resolved once Infinity War rolls around. All it may take is one of the MCU’s many geniuses to clear Hydra’s programming. Plus, only Hydra members who have read the book Zemo finds in Civil War know the code to activate Bucky’s Winter Soldier training. With Zemo still locked away and the rest of Hydra potentially dismantled, there shouldn’t even be a real reason for Bucky to revert to his darker days. That is, of course, unless the potentially dire circumstance of Infinity War require the service of a deadly assassin and not Cap’s longtime pal Bucky Barnes.
With Bucky’s absence now confirmed, Black Panther will still bring Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) and Klaue (Andy Serkis) back. Those two characters may be the only major MCU connections Ryan Coogler’s upcoming superhero adventure makes. But, Marvel does love to surprise audiences along the way, so who knows if another hero could appear. All we do know is that it won’t be Bucky.
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