Marvel Studios is already seeing a great deal of success with its venture into Disney+ storytelling, most recently with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan's solo series told a compelling new story within the MCU narrative with both characters navigating through a post-Blip world which is almost completely new to them.
While Sam worked to evolve into the new version of Captain America, Bucky's biggest challenge was finding himself again after nearly a century's worth of torture and mind control. Putting his days as a HYDRA killer firmly behind him, Barnes found redemption as the hero he always aspired to be, saving the day with Sam as they put an end to the Flag Smashers.
The end of this series set up a plethora of opportunities for the former Winter Soldier, which was addressed by the show's head writer.
BUCKY'S FINALLY A FREE MAN
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier head writer Malcolm Spellman, who is also the reported scribe for the unannounced Captain America 4, spoke with The Playlist about Bucky Barnes' story in the Disney+ series and where the hero goes from there. Specifically, Spellman was asked what his ideas would be for Bucky Barnes' continued character evolution if he were to pursue a second season of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The head writer described Sebastian Stan's Bucky as being "free, in a way," which he didn't fully feel when he was "coming out of Wakanda." Looking at "the way he smiled at the end" when he was "invited to the cook-out," Bucky experienced true freedom, which "leads to a lot of possibilities" for his future:
"If I tell you, then you’re going to ask me what that would be. I think Bucky is free, in a way. Even coming out of Wakanda, he still wasn’t totally free. He was freed programming, but I believe Bucky is free now in a way. Look at the way he smiled at the end; he got a family, he’s invited to the cook-out, as we say in the community. He is free in a way that I think we haven’t seen, and that leads to a lot of possibilities for him."
"I AM NO LONGER THE WINTER SOLDIER"
As inspirational as it was to see Sam Wilson take over the Captain America mantle, Bucky Barnes had an equally emotional ride in his first starring appearance in the MCU.
This series marked the first time Bucky had this much screen time and character development since Shuri and the Wakandans removed the Winter Soldier programming from his mind. Even with this positive change, though, the former U.S. Army sergeant still had a long road ahead of him to re-discover who he really is.
With Barnes now closer than ever to the man he was in the 1940s, there are numerous avenues the MCU could use for new material. This could possibly include the recently-announced Captain America 4, although details are limited on that picture.
Sebastian Stan's next MCU appearance is a mystery, although he's signed to a massive nine-picture deal with Marvel Studios; thus far, including post-credits cameos, he's appeared in seven projects. With the Winter Soldier gone and James "Bucky" Barnes back in full, there are sure to be plenty of chances for him to make a name for himself as a hero once again.
All six episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are available to stream on Disney+.