Sam Wilson is Captain America. John Walker is U.S. Agent. Sharon Carter is the Power Broker.

Is Bucky still the Winter Soldier?

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier set numerous names on clear paths moving forward, but the future of Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes remains up in the air. With his list of amends complete, Bucky is able to put his Winter Soldier days in the rearview.

Series creator Malcolm Spellman added to this conversation, saying Bucky ends the series by "[shedding] the burden of the Winter Soldier." 

Now, the director of the show has shed some more light on this matter.

BUCKY'S FUTURE IN THE MCU

Bucky Barnes
Marvel Studios

In an exclusive interview with The Direct, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland opened up about Bucky's Marvel Cinematic Universe future.

While she "[doesn't] know" if Sebastian Stan's character will return to Wakanda, she believes other elements of the Winter Soldier's path will always linger in his mind.

"I would like to think that that is a happier place. I think he’ll always be troubled, because you can’t go through what he’s gone through and who he’s had to be without having residual effects. So, I think he will always be coping with what that is, but he certainly is in a better place."

Skogland attributes Bucky's healing to his time spent with Sam Wilson, pointing to their conversation in the fifth episode as pivotal in his healing:

"I can say as a result of his time with Sam, and as Sam says to him, 'You’ve been avenging. What you really need to do is you need to make them feel good.' You need to serve them. You’ve been talking about you, now go out and make them feel okay. And so as a result, he starts on that path. And, of course, we suggest he’s gone through the book, and so he’s on the path to heal."

WHITE WOLF? SERGEANT BARNES?

What about just Bucky?

Fans have only seen a fraction of the mental and physical torture James Buchanan Barnes was subject to during his time with HYDRA. The Winter Soldier's assassination missions drained his psyche even more than Alexander Pierce literally erasing his memory. Aside from "a little calm in Wakanda," Bucky jumped from fight to fight for eight decades. Maybe it's time to let him get a little of that life Tony Stark suggested to Steve Rogers back in Avengers: Endgame.

Skogland's comments emphasize that whenever viewers see Sebastian Stan as Bucky next, parts of the Winter Soldier will still be there. After all, the series ended with Sam's new title inserted into the show's logo, but Bucky's alias remained the same. 

The first time Skogland spoke with The Direct, she mentioned how the core of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was the "re-definition of a hero." Sam Wilson leaves the series with an updated idea of what it means to be Captain America, while Bucky exits with a fresh perspective on the title of the Winter Soldier. 

Rather than abandoning the moniker, who's to say Bucky can't carry it further with the goal of doing some good?

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is available to stream in full on Disney+.