(Warning: SPOILERS below for the comic-book Civil War story-line, which may or may not be reflected in the movie...)
Now, there're a whole lot of reasons to be over-excited about Captain America: Civil War - not least Iron Man and Cap punching each other, the arrival of Black Panther and Spider-Man in the MCU and, crucially, Iron Man and Cap punching each other...again - but there's one in particular that hasn't, as of yet, been given a whole lot of attention.
Y'see, all Avengers-action aside, Civil War is also set to function as Captain America 3 - meaning it'll almost certainly tie together Cap's whole Bucky-related narrative arc. Now, with Sebastian Stan already confirmed to be appearing, it's no real surprise that the movie'll feature Bucky - as the actor's awesome recent Instagram post from the Civil War set recently highlighted:
Which is great and all - but doesn't really give us too much of an idea of what to expect when the movie hits our screens next summer. After all, there's set to be so many Avengers starring in the movie - along with the introduction to the MCU of multiple new characters - that Bucky's story could well fall by the wayside.
And, so, the one big question still lingering in the air?
Just How Important Will Bucky Be to Civil War's Plot?
Well, there's two sides to that particular slice of bread...
On the one hand:
He's Not That Integral to the Comic-Book Civil War
Sure, he had his own plot thread, going through the story - but it was largely limited to Captain America's own solo title, and didn't dramatically effect the overall war.
Until, of course, the war ended - and Cap was shot and killed.
At which point Bucky stepped up to the plate, and became Captain America himself...
At which point his involvement in the wider Marvel universe became a fair amount more substantial. So, if - as seems likely - the movie version of Civil War is heavily focused on the Avengers, and their conflict, it's entirely possible we'll see Bucky be very much sidelined, no matter how much the creative team behind the movie tells us otherwise.
On the other hand, though:
Bucky's Role in the Captain America Trilogy is HUGE
And, after all, Civil War is very much the concluding part of that trilogy, no matter how many Avengers are added to it.
A trilogy, don't forget, that is very much centered around Cap's relationship with Bucky - with their bromance having proved one of the MCU's most enduring (and fan-favorite) plot-lines.
So, in the sense that Civil War will very much be the sequel to The Winter Soldier, could we see Bucky taking on a role very much like the one he had in the comics - that of a man struggling to make up for the crimes he was forced to commit in the past?
Could we even - in a move once again not unlike either the comics or the recent 'leaked' Civil War screenplay - see him and Nick Fury acting together to mop up the last remaining Hydra operatives, with their actions sparking the Civil War itself?
It would, after all, keep Bucky at the center of the plot - while still allowing Cap and Tony Stark to fight each other all across the globe...
What do you think, though?