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In a bombshell of an Instagram post, Sebastian Stan has unveiled a custom paint shield, created by Casey McBroom from S.H.I.E.L.D. labs. If the shield doesn't look familiar, that's because it just got a new paint job. What's interesting about this shield is that it used to belong to Steve Rogers, a.k.a. , or at least it's a perfect replica (but probably not, as I'll explain below).

, the actor who portrays Bucky Barnes in the Cinematic Universe can be seen in the photo, walking away with the shield on his back. This image all but confirms a long-standing theory that Bucky Barnes would become the next Captain America in the MCU.

From Winter Soldier To Captain America?

Ever since Bucky Barnes was introduced in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, fans have been waiting for their opportunity to see Bucky suit up as Cap. It seemed like it would never happen — with Bucky becoming a fugitive, then being cryogenically frozen again in Captain America: Civil War — but when we consider how this image of Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) holding Captain America's old shield is more than hinting at what's to come for Bucky, it looks like Bucky will be suiting up sooner rather than later.

'Captain America: Civil War'. [Credit: Marvel]
'Captain America: Civil War'. [Credit: Marvel]

Not only does the star on Bucky's shield identify it as Cap's old shield, there are also visible dents on the shield from when Black Panther tore at it during Civil War; Black Panther possesses the only other vibranium weapon currently known in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Aside from the marks, the new color scheme on the shield is similar to the insignia on Bucky Barnes's cybernetic arm (before it was blown off by Iron Man).

A red star is engraved in the middle of the shield while the rest of the metal remains bare. There's no more red and blue. The star itself also draws up another interesting question: Is the red star indicative of the color scheme on Bucky's new uniform?

Red Guardian [Credit: Marvel Comics]
Red Guardian [Credit: Marvel Comics]

Since the new paint job on Cap's shield indicates the person wielding it will no longer feature Captain America's signature colors, it's possible the color scheme on the shield is also reflective of Bucky's new costume. When we look at the choice for a red star on the shield (in comparison to the old red and blue), it appears as though Bucky's uniform will have red tones with a variation of a star in the middle. We do have to admit how that appearance doesn't quite match up with Captain America, but it does look similar to another patriotic hero from Marvel Comics: Red Guardian.

Does The New Paint Job On Cap's Shield Reveal The Color Scheme Of Bucky's New Uniform?

In the comics, the Red Guardian was a member of the Soviet Super Soldiers program, which was similar to the program run on Steve Rogers during WWII — but the Soviets planned to mass produce Super Soldiers, so multiple candidates were experimented on at the same time, thus creating an entire team of Soviet Super Soldiers.

Despite being quite different from Captain America, the Red Guardian still possesses similar attributes (at least when comparing patriotism for their respective countries, that is).

Red Guardian. [Credit: Marvel]
Red Guardian. [Credit: Marvel]

Bucky Barnes probably won't become the Red Guardian in the despite his shield sharing color tones with that of Red Guardian's shield and suit, although it's quite possible Bucky's new uniform will take tones from Red Guardian's suit, as well as Captain America's old suit, in a combination of the two. We've already seen several variations of Captain America suits made for Steve Rogers, so a new one specifically made for Bucky Barnes is most assured.

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How Does Bucky Barnes Get His Hand(s) On The Shield?

The last we saw of Bucky, he was cryogenically frozen in Wakanda's cryo-lab. Steve Rogers left the shield to Tony Stark at the conclusion of Civil War, which places the shield in Stark's possession.

Sebastian Stan's comments attached to the Instagram image of him walking away with the newly painted shield indicate he received it from S.H.I.E.L.D. labs, which raises the possibility of Tony Stark is working with S.H.I.E.L.D. again. Aside from that possibility, there's still another mystery to unravel here: How did Bucky Barnes get out of cryogenic stasis to recover the shield?

'Captain America: Civil War'. [Credit: Marvel]
'Captain America: Civil War'. [Credit: Marvel]

Is Bucky Barnes Being Set Up To Have A Pivotal Role In The Infinity Wars?

Bucky is going to be present for Avengers: Infinity War. We don't know the degree of involvement Bucky will have in the war itself, but Bucky could wind up on his own parallel adventure. If the comics have any influence on how Bucky finds Cap's shield, Bucky will run into Iron Man along the way and the two of them are going to have to hash things out before Bucky can safely walk away.

'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'. [Credit: Marvel]
'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'. [Credit: Marvel]

Regardless of Sebastian Stan receiving his own custom coated Captain America shield, there's still no way of telling when or how Bucky Barnes will become the next Captain America. Bucky is currently in cryogenic stasis and, for the time being, Cap's shield is in Tony Stark's possession. However, we do have to account for the significance of Sebastian Stan's Instagram post and how it more than implies that Bucky Barnes will become Captain America within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

What do you think of Sebastian Stan's custom shield? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


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