Warning: Spoilers for Captain America: Civil War ahead. Read with caution.
Marvel Studios is having a pretty great year. Captain America: Civil War is the top grossing film of the year, the studio snagged Oscar-winner Brie Larson for the fan favorite role of Captain Marvel and its set to launch another blockbuster this November with Doctor Strange. Of course, as all the pieces fall into place fans are eagerly anticipating the culmination of it all in Avengers: Infinity War, and now we know another beloved character's joining the third Avengers film.
The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Sebastian Stan is set to return as Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier in Avengers: Infinity War, oddly enough burying the news in a report on his casting in the thriller We Have Always Lived in the Castle:
Stan is coming off of 'Captain America: Civil War,' one of the year’s more acclaimed movies that has grossed over $1.1 billion worldwide. The actor, who recently wrapped the indie I’m Not Here with Maika Monroe and J.K. Simmons, will shoot 'Avengers: Infinity War' early next year.
Stan's return isn't a surprise, considering the actor's only appeared in three movies out of his nine film deal with Marvel. Plenty have speculated where he'd pop up next, with many suspecting an appearance in 2018's Black Panther is on the way, and an appearance in Infinity War is sure to be anticipated by fans. Sadly, we won't get the surprise of seeing the Winter Soldier pop up in the film because we already know it will happen.
Did Marvel Ruin A Great Reveal?
Fans will recall that the close of Captain America: Civil War presented a murky future for the Winter Soldier. A mid-credits scene revealed that the Soldier was granted asylum in Wakanda by T'Challa/Black Panther, opting to be cryogenically frozen in T'Challa's base until a cure for his brainwashing can be found. This chapter in his story had come to a close, and while we knew he would return eventually we had no clue when or where he'd show up.
But now, we know exactly where the Soldier will appear next, no doubt alongside his best buddy Captain America and the rest of the Avengers as they battle Thanos. The surprise of seeing Stan in the film is totally ruined; we know it's going to happen. Fans watching the movie will sit eagerly anticipating his appearance, but it won't be a shock and it won't have the narrative substance you'd expect from that kind of reveal. It's like finding out your friends planned you a surprise party. Sure, you'll look forward to the party, but that big reveal just won't land as well as expected.
The Pitfall Of Universe Building
The success of the Marvel movies has ensured that cinematic universes aren't going anywhere anytime soon. They've inspired the birth of the DC Extended Universe, the Hasbro Cinematic Universe, the Universal Monsterverse and will no doubt go on to inspire more. Universe building requires years of planning, and when a studio reveals parts of the plan it risks spoiling its own world.
Movie news takes on epic proportions in the age of universe building. A casting announcement inspires floods of editorials on the character's role in the film or how it will compare to the source material because we know everything is connected. Just saying a character will appear in a franchise film can reveal potential plot elements that spoil the theatrical experience.
Want more on Avengers: Infinity War? Check these out:
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Falcon Or The Winter Soldier: Who Will Be The Next Captain America After Infinity War?
This Is Nothing New
News, marketing and speculation always have the potential to spoil a film. And Marvel's spoiled potentially mind-blowing reveals in the past, best seen in its handling of Spider-Man in Civil War. We freaked out when we saw Tom Holland as the web-slinger in trailers, but that came at the expense of a truly mind-blowing Spidey reveal during the film. Could you imagine being in a packed theater watching Civil War and, out of nowhere, Spider-Man swings into battle? The total surprise coupled with sheer joy of seeing a beloved character would make for an unforgettable experience.
We still have almost two full years until Infinity War hits the big screen, meaning Marvel has two more years to unleash casting announcements, plot teases and more to tide fans over. Sebastian Stan's involvement in the film isn't a huge surprise, though the news ruins a potentially awesome on-screen reveal. In this case, giving the fans what they want before release could actually hurt the film's impact in the theaters.
You can see Sebastian Stan in Avengers: Infinity War when the film opens on May 4, 2018. Do you think we know too much about the film already? Let us know in the comments below.