Warning: This article contains spoilers for “Episode 3" of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Bucky Barnes' time in Wakanda was barely explored at all in the MCU films.
This experience is only shown with his initial arrival to the hidden nation at the end of Captain America: Civil War, his recovery in a post-credit scene from Black Panther, and of course, his assistance in the fight against Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. Something that sparked the most interest in fans was Bucky being given the title of White Wolf.
A title that belonged to an entirely different character in the comics paints an interesting relationship that Barnes would have with the African nation. So, it was a happy surprise when Bucky's time in Wakanda came up again in the very first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. These mentions continued until the surprise cameo in the latest episode, giving some exciting implications.
BETTER TIME IN WAKANDA
During Bucky's mandatory therapy appointment in the debut episode, “New World Order,” the former brainwashed assassin said that “I had a little…calm in Wakanda.” The WWII vet is still remarking fondly on his time there, which was even shown in Avengers: Infinity War, when Bucky was shown to be quite content with just one arm tending to goats.
That is until T'Challa came strolling up to Bucky with his new arm to get him ready for another fight. Even as Bucky was conscripted into the fight for Wakanda against Thanos, he still found moments to appreciate the hidden city he called home for the previous two years.
THE WHITE WOLF
In the episode entitled “The Star-Spangled Man,” Sam Wilson makes a crack at Bucky being called the “White Panther,” only for the former assassin to correct the avian hero and say that he was actually called the “White Wolf.” This proves that Bucky still treats that title given to him with respect, to the confusion of Wilson at the seriousness of his response to his jab.
No one seems to actually know much about Bucky's time in Wakanda after staying there for at least two years while T'Challa's sister, Shuri, helped purge the HYDRA programming from his mind. The newest episode may have shed more light on Bucky's relationship with the formally secluded nation.
RETURN OF AYO
The series' latest episode, “The Power Broker,” showed that Bucky is still fairly connected with Wakanda as he notices the trail of beads on the ground with the kingdom's markings. This leads him to Florence Kasumba's Ayo, who was last seen in Infinity War. This indicates that the Dora Milaje have been keeping a close eye on Bucky Barnes, either to make sure Shuri's work on him has stuck or because they've continued to stay in contact with Barnes after he left Wakanda.
Barnes is unsurprised with her appearance, likely having anticipated that once Zemo was outside American jurisdiction, the Sokovian terrorist would be on Wakanda's radar for the murder of their previous king, T'Chaka. This incident is something that Sam Wilson goes out of his way to remind Bucky (and audiences) of in this same episode.
BUCKY BARNES: AGENT OF WAKANDA?
It seems apparent that Bucky never lost contact with Wakanda after he left. This would make sense since it's likely that Barnes is still indebted to them, specifically Shuri, for helping him and sheltering him for two years. In fact, the post-credit scene for Black Panther implied this further, as Shuri tells a cured Bucky Barnes that there's “...much more for [Bucky] to learn.”
It's possible that Barnes could have been working with the Dora Milaje, as there was scrapped concept art showing Bucky in more Wakandan inspired armor. The color scheme and style of the armor even being reminiscent of the Dora Milaje. Bucky may have undergone some training with them, as fans see Bucky chucking a pipe much like a Vibranium spear wielded by its members.
It's entirely possible that Sebastian Stan could make an appearance in the upcoming Disney+ spin-off show based in Wakanda. An appearance there would potentially further explore his relationship with them and how he may be helping them protect Wakanda.
In the comics, the title of White Wolf belonged to a man named Hunter, a white foreigner who crash-landed in Wakanda as a child. King T'Chaka adopted him and would later put him in charge of Wakanda's secret police, the Hatut Zeraze. Although that won't likely be the case with Bucky, it could point to him being put in charge of his own unit of War Dogs within the MCU.
As for how the rest of the show will continue, there could be a chance that Bucky planned on giving up Zemo to the Dora Milaje once he was done with him. However, it's unlikely that Ayo will be that patient, especially when dealing with the man responsible for killing their last king.