Bucky Barnes Almost Got a Much Bigger Role In Disney's Rogers: The Musical (Exclusive)

By Savannah Sanders Posted:
Bucky Barnes, Rogers: The Musical, Disney logo

Bucky Barnes' limited role in Rogers: The Musical wasn't always Disney's plan. 

Inspired by Hawkeye on Disney+, Disney and Marvel Studios brought this in-universe show to the timeline of the fans - and the Disneyland Resort to be exact - featuring "Save the City" amidst a retelling of Steve Rogers' MCU journey. 

While Peggy Carter and Nick Fury play pivotal roles, the Winter Soldier's presence is significantly less than that in the films; and now, fans know why. 

Bucky Barnes' Rogers: The Musical Role Explained

The Direct's Savannah Sanders spoke exclusively with Rogers: The Musical's conductor and composer Christopher Lennertz and discovered the reasons behind Bucky Barnes' scaled-back role. 

According to Lennertz, who's also known for Agent Carter, The Boys, and the Disneyland Resort's "Wondrous Journeys," Rogers: The Musical could only be 30 to 35 minutes as Disney intended to offer the show four times a day. 

As a result, he and the team were forced "to make some choices we really didn't want to make. Probably the biggest one being that we didn't want so little of Bucky."

Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, Rogers: The Musical
Rogers: The Musical

In the real-life Rogers: The Musical, Bucky appears prior to Steve's Super Soldier transformation. And, even though he's referenced at other points throughout the show, he doesn't return until the final musical number. 

This is because the stage show primarily focuses on Steve and Peggy's romance. But, again, that wasn't always the plan for Disney's retelling of the Star-Spangled Man.

Christopher Lennertz revealed that "the longer version" of the musical "had Bucky as a much bigger player:" 

"There was a much longer version of this show, and there is a much longer version of this show. Hopefully, you know, if anybody would ever let us do it, the longer version of this show had Bucky as a much bigger player in this. That's the other really big person in Cap's life from the get-go. I could absolutely see a Bucky and Cap song in there somewhere. But we just literally didn't have the time."

Lennertz also acknowledged fan complaints over Peggy being given one of Bucky's on-screen lines in the show, explaining that the swap "wasn't a mistake" or a disregard of MCU canon. 

Instead, it was the result of the team wanting "to get the line in" and this was the best way to do so given the show's unique demands:

"We know there are tons of fans who are upset because Peggy said a line that Bucky said. Obviously, we all knew that. It wasn't a mistake. We all knew; we all knew. We all made the choice that for this 35-minute show we wanted to get the line in, and the way to get it in was to land on the Peggy storyline."

Lennertz went on to add that "there could be a great Broadway version" of Rogers: The Musical which would allow Bucky Barnes to "say the lines he needs to say:" 

"Absolutely there could be a great Broadway version of this show in which Bucky has a really big part and will say the lines he needs to say. So it's interesting to think how that could work."

When asked about the idea for a Cap and Bucky song and if it was actually developed, Lennertz explained that the team "didn't get very far" due to the songs he and the creatives already had:

"We didn't get very far with that because we sort of timed things out and how many songs we had. We knew we wanted the love song, the 'I want' song, the Nick Fury song, and we had the other two songs. And, we're like 'Jeez, we're almost out of time. We're already at 32 minutes.'"

In the end, much like Captain America himself, when the Rogers: The Musical team needed direction, Peggy was the compass; and according to the composer, "Once we came up with that" we knew we could "make it great in 30 minutes:"

"We knew it was basically a Cap and Peggy love story from start to finish. Once we came up with that, we're like 'we can do that show and make it great in 30 minutes'."

From Brooklyn to Broadway?

In the case of Rogers: The Musical, time wasn't just Cap's opponent but Bucky's as well. 

Still, Sebastian Stan's MCU persona wasn't the only casualty of the show's time constraints. 

For instance, while Tony Stark's Iron Man appears alongside the Avengers, there's little reference to his and Cap's Civil War standoff; and while Sam Wilson is pictured in the backdrop of "End of the Line," his physical character is MIA.

Yes, some members of the audience may have wanted more, but it's worth noting there wasn't time to tell all of Steve Rogers' story, not to mention that of other characters. 

And, again, as Christopher Lennertz shared, the decision to streamline the musical to Steve and Peggy's story was the best way to service a half-hour musical. 

The big question now is whether audiences will ever see that longer version of the musical and a realized Cap and Bucky duet. 

Given the positive response to Disneyland's Rogers: The Musical - as well as the fan demands for more Bucky - it certainly seems like the interest is there.  

For now, there's still time for audiences to experience Disney's Rogers: The Musical at Disney California Adventure Tuesday through Saturday until August 31. 

- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.