** Be warned: contains a very little spoiler for 'Civil War' **
Ever since the second trailer landed for the Marvel extravaganza that is [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) there's been little else to talk about on the superhero front (apart from all the Batman v Superman hype that is), as the fanbase was set alight once more. The new trailer was less focused upon the Winter Soldier / Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) than the ones we've seen before, but that doesn't mean he's not going to be front and centre in the upcoming movie.
Ever since the first trailer and promo images dropped for Civil War there's been a funny little facet which the Marvel Cinematic Universe fanbase have picked up on; did you notice Bucky's backpack and – more amusingly – his backpack chest strap?
Throughout the trailer we see Bucky on the run with a backpack strapped tightly to his chest in the manner than one might clip up a child's backpack to stop them from losing it. While it provides an amusing image, it also raised a big question: what's in the backpack? Eyeliner? Robot arm polish? Hair product?
Whatever it is surely it must be something pretty important to warrant being carried around strapped tightly to his chest even as he's attempting to evade the authorities and tangling with Black Panther / T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman). Such was the question posed to Sebastian Stan himself by Instagram user coleisadreamer:
Proving once again that Stan is awesome with his fans he took to the comments section of the post to respond and what he said – well – it kinda broke our hearts a little bit:
[Dear] Cole, in his backpack there are a dozen notebooks that compose the scattered memories dating back to as far as he can remember which somewhat piece together a scattered life. In a similar way to Alzheimer's, he's written things down, for fear of losing his memory again. He was prepared, were something to happen, to walk away with nothing but that backpack, which is why it's the only thing he takes and knowing full well that not everything those pages contain is pretty.
This might be a bit of an emotional gut punch but it does chime with what we've heard via interviews from both Stan and Civil War directors Anthony and Joe Russo regarding Bucky's character development and how it will progress in Civil War.
Joe Russo: "[Bucky's] memories are foggy, but he has them. He’s also different now. There’s a part of his personality that was under mind control, and he murdered a lot of people. So 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 memories of Bucky's life starting to trickle back in 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 (or so he claims). And as if that wasn't bad enough, Black Panther is out to get him too.
It's another bad hand in a long run of rough deals for Bucky: from the trenches of World War II, to being brainwashed into a living weapon with no agency of his own and pit against his best friend, to Civil War where he must reconcile the different parts of his past and begin anew.
Indeed, it's 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 (and hopefully not a fatal one as the rumors keep whispering).
But sadly, we're never going to see a return to the charismatic Bucky Barnes we met way back in 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."
Keep a tight hold on that backpack Bucky, we've got a feeling you're going to need it.