The Falcon and the Winter Solider finally did what everyone wanted to see: a fleshed-out dynamic between Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. When the series started, the two were hardly acquaintances. Then, by the end of the show, they were all but partners.
Sadly, despite that recent development, it seems Marvel Studios aims to separate the two for Phase 5.
Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson will be Captain America in New World Order, as he has to deal with the re-emerging threat of The Leader from The Incredible Hulk.
As for Bucky, there was no announcement of his involvement in those events—instead, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige revealed that he would be leading the Thunderbolts team alongside Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova in their first major outing together.
So what exactly do the two actors have to say about the quick separation of Sam and Bucky?
Sebastian Stan Celebrates a Divorce—in Spirit
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter at D23, Bucky Barnes himself, Sebastian Stan, commented on what it's like to be separated from Anthony Mackie in the MCU, thanks to his upcoming lead role in Thunderbolts.
The actor joked that "freedom tastes bright" but then went on to note how "it's nice to at least always be close to each other," in this case, referring to the both of them at D23:
“All I can say, freedom tastes bright. Finally, I am free. No, I love him… It is weird, of course. That’s, you know, it’s a little bit like… what’s that, Stockholm syndrome or something? When you’re like, ‘I might not… you know…’ But anyway, it’s nice to at least always be close to each other.”
In a separate interview with Variety, when asked about the potential return of Steve Rogers, Anthony Mackie shared how "[they] all love and enjoy Chris [Evans]" and that since Sebastian Stan gets to work with Wyatt Russell's John Walker, then he "should get Chris:"
“I hope so, man. You know, Chris [Evans] is my boy. We all love and enjoy Chris. I’m highly upset that they put Sebastian in a movie with Wyatt and left me out. If Sebastian gets Wyatt, I should get Chris.”
Are Bucky and Sam Truly Separated?
Even though they seem separated now, are Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes truly not going to share the screen for the foreseeable future?
There is the possibility of Sebastian Stan showing up in Captain America: New World Order. After all, the film’s director has recently teased how Sam Wilson will be leading a team in his first titular movie.
In order to do that, one has to actually have a group of people, one that perhaps Bucky can be a part of. Marvel Studios may have left that information out so Stan could focus on promoting Thunderbolts.
It’s also entirely possible that Sam Wilson will show up in Thunderbolts as well. Given the unsavory nature of the team, maybe the new Captain America won’t be too fond of them. This could also be a great starting point for some juicy conflict between the two of them, since Sam and Bucky haven’t had a reason to fight in awhile.
Maybe it’ll all even culminate into a story that could pit the New Avengers against the Thunderbolts. Regardless, it’s nice to see that their friendly rivalry is still alive.
Captain America: New World Order hits theaters on May 3, 2024, while Thunderbolts releases on July 26, 2024.