Marvel Reveals Why Bucky's Arm Had Wakanda Failsafe

By Lauren Rouse Posted:
Black Panther next to Sebestian Stan as Bucky Barnes in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier may have finished its season on Disney+, but the future is bright for its main characters, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes.

After dealing with his traumatic past as the Winter Soldier, Bucky appears to be in a better place, and even actor Sebastian Stan has said that his character has earned a peaceful ending. But, it sure was a journey to get him there. 

After losing an arm, being mind-controlled by Nazis, and going through hell to undo his brainwashing, Bucky's story in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier wasn't an easy one. A pivotal scene in the series turned out to be a fight in Episode 4 between Bucky, Sam, and the Wakandans over Baron Zemo, where Bucky's mentor Ayo revealed she had the power to detach his vibranium arm. 

The scene was a big revelation for Bucky and plenty of thought went into how it would play out.


Bucky Barnes Vibranium Arm
Marvel Studios

In a behind-the-scenes video posted by Marvel Studios, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier VFX supervisor Eric Leven discussed the logistics of Bucky's iconic arm. 

Leven explained that while the Wakandans gifted Bucky his vibranium arm, they still put a "little failsafe" in there:

"Since it was a Wakandan arm, the Wakandans put a little failsafe in there so that if they ever got in a situation, like they did, they were able to hit a little code in the magic arm so it would pop off."

So, how exactly did this failsafe work? Leven said there's a "magic pressure point:"

"There's some magical pressure point here (gestures to shoulder), a magical button that's going to detach his arm. Ayo knows where that is."

It seems that communicating this failsafe to the audience was quite an in-depth process. Leven said there were many discussions about whether the failsafe should have a "Wakandan energy signature:"

B"ucky's wearing a black shirt and it's kind of hard to tell what's going on, so there were conversations about 'well, should we have a bit of energy glow? Should there be a little purple Wakandan energy signature, or a little light, to help the audience figure out what's going on?' So, there were a lot of conversations about what color should this light be? How bright should this light be? What should the light do?"

It turns out this energy signature was included in the final scene in a "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" moment:

"We ended up doing a very, very subtle light inside around his shoulder, and then a very subtle light that travels down his arm. It's a blink and you'll miss it kind of thing."


The design of Bucky's arm was quite a process. Earlier concept art showed that the black and gold prosthetic that Bucky ended up with could've looked very different, so it's interesting to see all the little things that went into this iconic piece.

This particular scene in Episode 4 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was a pivotal one for Bucky. After earning the title of the White Wolf during his time in Wakanda, Bucky left feeling more in control of his life and was rewarded with his new vibranium arm. Learning that the Wakandans never fully trusted him with this weapon was sure to be a shock. 

This bit of insider information about Bucky's arm is a cool detail for fans to check out. Marvel Studios has always been focused on the little things, helping to make each re-watch more rewarding. Now that it's been proven Bucky's arm can be easily detached, maybe Rocket Raccoon finally has a chance to get that arm.

The full behind-the-scenes video with Eric Leven can be seen below:


Release Date
March 19, 2021
- About The Author: Lauren Rouse
Lauren Rouse has been a writer at The Direct since the site launched in 2020. She has a huge passion for everything pop culture and currently writes news articles for the Marvel, Star Wars, DC and video game branches.