There's not long to go now until the hugely anticipated [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) arrives, with the Marvel blockbuster set to hit cinemas on May 6 in the US.
So when the first official trailer for Civil War dropped last month a lot of fans will have noticed something a little odd. Even those of us who hadn't read the comics from which the story takes its source knew well enough what the central conflict was going to be: the breakdown of the relationship between Captain America / Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Iron Man / Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)
However the story we were presented with in the trailer told a narrative very different from what we'd been expecting. Sure, there was plenty of Iron Man and Cap slugging it out, but the main focus of the narrative seemed to be firmly placed upon the Winter Soldier himself: James "Bucky" Barnes (Sebastian Stan).
There's a reason for this, of course. Directing team the Russo Brothers intended for Civil War to be a follow up to Winter Soldier, not [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) or Iron Man 3.
Joe Russo: "It was important for us to make sure that you very clearly understood that this is a companion to Winter Soldier. It’s not a companion to Age Of Ultron, this is not a companion to Infinity War…"
Who Is Bucky Now?
More interestingly this is the first time we're going to get to see some proper character development behind Cap's best friend, because Bucky isn't Bucky Barnes anymore, nor is he the Winter Soldier. He's someone entirely different.
Joe Russo: "[Bucky's] memories are foggy, but he has them.... He's got a very complicated history. Who is that person? How does that character move forward? He’s not Bucky Barnes anymore. He’s not the Winter Soldier anymore. He’s something in-between."
With Bucky's memories regained (as we saw in the trailer) he's forced to go on the run from the Government and the pro-Accords side of the Avengers team, framed for a terrorist attack he didn't commit. A building explodes, people stream out into the street as Falcon / Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) looks on. "You’re a wanted man." Steve says to Bucky via voiceover, aligning him with this incident. But he responds, "I don’t do that anymore."
So best buddy Steve is having none of this nonsense, which is why he steps up to protect his friend. But this action puts him at odds with his sorta-friend and teammate Iron Man (whose parents may also have been killed by the Winter Soldier), and this married with the trouble that the Accords are causing is what forms the flashpoint of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Civil War.
Civil War Will Show Redemption For Bucky
It's been a long road for Bucky Barnes.
From the trenches of World War II alongside his best friend, to near death and the loss of his arm, to being brainwashed into a living weapon with no agency of his own and pit against said best friend, to now: where he must reconcile the different parts of his past and begin anew.
Indeed been a welcome challenge for Sebastian Stan, as he talks of the joys of playing "three people, in a sense", recounting how Civil War will chart Bucky's new path, one of redemption.
But sadly, we're never going to see a return to the charismatic Bucky Barnes we met way back in Captain America: The First Avenger; that Bucky died when he fell from the train into the snowy ravine.
Sebastian Stan: "[Civil War] certainly deals with what’s happened to him. I mean, what have we gotten as a result of Bucky and the Winter Soldier? You know, here’s the guy when you merge the two. This is what came out. To me, he’s never really going to be Bucky Barnes again."
Goodbye Bucky, we can't wait to see how you're gonna make it though this one.