Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes has had a tough life. Born over a hundred years ago, he fought in World War 2, was experimented on by mad scientists, lost an arm, was brainwashed into a ruthlessly efficient assassin, fought his friends, was framed for murder, got disintegrated and took part in two battles against Thanos. As such, it’s no surprise that the character we see in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is traumatized and grumpy.
The Disney+ show has devoted a lot of time to showing Bucky’s residual guilt for his actions as a HYDRA hitman and how he was freed from mind control in Wakanda. There was a particularly great scene last week which flashed back to Ayo’s final test of whether Shuri had successfully erased his murderous programming. All that character development has changed Stan’s opinion on how Bucky’s story should end.
Back in 2014 he was quizzed on how he thought Bucky would die and replied:
“The Winter Soldier would rip his arm off and beat himself to death with it”
7 years later he’s substantially softened. In a new interview with Uproxx he was asked if, with all that’s happened to Bucky in the intervening years, he’d alter that answer. His response was touching:
“Oh man, hopefully at this point, it would be in a nice warm bed as a 200-year-old man with a family. That’s his way now, I think he’s earned that.”
Bucky’s future in the MCU should be indicated by the coming episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Though we’re fairly sure that by the finale Sam Wilson will officially become the new Captain America and Steve Rogers’ successor, it’s difficult to imagine Bucky settling down for cosy domesticity anytime soon. After all, he clearly relishes superhero action and throwing himself into battle.
Even so, I hope he eventually goes back to that nice chef he was dating in the premiere, as Bucky really could use a romantic partner, a family and a life less riddled with death and explosions. Fingers crossed that someday he gets it.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is airing every Friday on Disney+.