After the events of Captain America: Civil War left Bucky Barnes cryogenically frozen yet again, most of us didn't get expect to see him again until Avengers: Infinity War. But could he have a role to play in next year's Black Panther movie?
To be clear, Sebastian Stan hasn't been confirmed for a role in Black Panther. And while he hasn't been added to the cast yet, Stan's comments in regard to where Bucky Barnes will show up next has me thinking an appearance in Black Panther is plausible. Here's what #SebastianStan had to say:
"I don't know, man. I mean, there's obviously a very clear answer but I'm not maybe say it, now (sic). Where did he end up at the end of the movie? That's the movie he should be in. I feel like that would be the natural... But I don't know."
After examining Stan's comments, he's obviously trying to hint at Wakanda. Bucky Barnes wound up in Wakanda at the end of Captain America: Civil War, so that's where he'd naturally show up next. Stan doesn't elaborate any further, for understandable reasons, but he says enough to make a safe guess for his next appearance to be in #BlackPanther. But suppose this is the case and he does make an appearance: How Bucky will show up?
There are only so many plausible scenarios for Bucky to become embroiled in the plot of Black Panther, but a few theories on how that could play out are believable and would work within the context of the #MCU.
1. Post-Credits Scene
Assuming the majority of Black Panther focuses on the in-fighting between the warring clans of Wakanda, there probably won't be enough time to depict a full character arc for Bucky to become involved in Black Panther's plot. So, the most believable way to address his presence in said film would be to tag a stinger onto the end-credits, where Bucky is awakened by Steve Rogers, #TChalla, or another member of the Secret Avengers.
2. T'Challa Wakes Bucky Up To Help With Kilmonger
Another potential scenario that could see #BuckyBarnes join Black Panther has to do with the different factions attempting to take control of Wakanda from T'Challa. Both Erik Kilmonger and M'Baku have aspirations to become king of Wakanda, so their war on T'Challa might force the new king to wake Bucky up to enlist his aid. T'Challa does have the Dora Milaje to back him up, but they still may not be enough. With there being so many characters trying to wrestle the crown from T'Challa, it seems appropriate for Bucky to come to his aid. Plus, Ulysses S. Klaue is expected to show up with his own villainous mission, making the prospect of T'Challa recruiting Bucky all the more believable, even if Bucky is still compromised by the brainwashing.
3. A Prematurely Releases Bucky Barnes To Send Him On An Assassination Mission
There's a good chance that one of the villains introduced in Black Panther will find out that the king has Bucky frozen in a Wakandan research facility. If so, they'd possibly release the #WinterSoldier to send him on another assassination mission. After all, it's reasonable to assume that if a villain found out about Bucky's presence in Wakanda, they'd also learn the reasons why he had to be placed in cryogenic storage. And don't forget, the Winter Soldier is a wanted man—with his being plastered all over the news in Civil War and blamed for the United Nations bombing that killed the former king, the citizens of Wakanda will be well aware of Bucky's capabilities.
With that known, a villain who decided to wake Bucky up could proceed to reactivate Bucky's programming. In that scenario, Bucky'd be set up as another potential antagonist in Black Panther.
4. A Cure To Bucky's Brainwashing Is Discovered By Black Panther's Scientists
After learning of Wakanda being home to well-accomplished scientists like Shuri, we shouldn't rule out the possibility of a cure to Bucky's brainwashing being crafted as well. Were they to dedicate enough time to studying Bucky, they'd probably figure out how to remove the programming installed in his brain.
The Wakandan society is known for its advancements in technology and magic, making it reasonable for someone within the hidden kingdom to find a solution to the Bucky problem. If that does turn out to be the case, Bucky might even be recruited by T'Challa to defend Wakanda. And, T'Challa does have Shuri, a brillaint scientist specializing in vibranium tech, working for him. Bucky could even have a new bionic arm created for him—that is, if T'Challa didn't already have one ready for Bucky upon his release from cryostasis.
Regardless of how it happens, hopefully, the manner in which the Winter Soldier is reintroduced into the MCU makes sense. But this is Marvel, after all, and their number one rule is to remain true to the spirit of their characters. So where and when it does take place, the scene is sure to do right by Bucky Barnes, along with potentially setting him up to become Captain America in the future.
Do you think Bucky Barnes will appear in Black Panther? Or, will Bucky's character arc be left untouched until Avengers: Infinity War? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Black Panther opens in theaters on February 16, 2018.