Marvel Says Goodbye to Bucky for ‘Captain America: Brave New World’

in Entertainment, Marvel

winter soldier arm

Credit: Marvel Studios

It’s hard to imagine a Captain America project without Sebastian Stan’s James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes in the passenger seat, but that just might be the case for Anthony Mackie’s first outing as Marvel Studios’ new Cap.

Chris Evans as Captain America (left) and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes (right)
Credit: Marvel Studios

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Since making his franchise debut alongside Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Bucky Barnes (AKA the Winter Soldier) has become a staple of the MCU, going on to fight alongside the Avengers against Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). His transformation from hero to HYDRA assassin back to hero made for one of the most memorable character arcs in MCU history, culminating in the recent Disney+ miniseries The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. However, his story is far from over, as Bucky will reportedly co-lead a new team of anti-heroes in director Jake Schreier’s Thunderbolts (2025).

Although it was somewhat of a mixed bag with audiences, the chemistry between Bucky and Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson was enough to carry The Falcon and the Winter Soldier following the duo’s strained relationship post-Infinity Saga. Sam, whom Steve gave the shield to fter he returned to the present time in the final moments of Endgame, is reluctant to adopt the Captain America moniker for what it represents and grapples with the impossible legacy he feels he has to live up to. However, Bucky, frustrated with this development while also struggling to cope with his traumatic past, has to team up with the former Air Force Pararescueman when a new threat arises in the form of the Flag Smashers, a terrorist group led by Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman).

Steve Rogers with Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson becoming the next Captain America.
Credit: Marvel Studios

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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier marked Sam Wilson’s official debut as the “star-spangled man with a plan,” flashy new suit and all. And now, he’s set to lead his own solo outing in the upcoming Captain America: Brave New World (2025). Recently, the film has made headlines after it was revealed that Matthew Orton will work on additional scenes and material, despite principal photography wrapping in June. With the fourth Captain America entry heading to reshoots, it seems Orton, who has previously worked as a consultant for Moon Knight, might be Marvel’s best bet to ensure the film’s quality, given the high stakes resting on its shoulders.

However, even though Brave New World boasts an all-star cast from the likes of Harrison Ford, Carl Lumbly, Tim Blake Nelson, Shira Haas, Liv Tyler, and even WWE Superstar Seth Rollins, it seems like one familiar face will be absent from the story: Bucky Barnes. Trusted scoopers @MyTimeToShineH and @CanWeGetToast took to X earlier this week to respond to rumors that the Winter Soldier will appear in some capacity for the newest Cap movie after Deadline mistakenly added, then deleted Stan’s name from the cast list in an article published Wednesday afternoon:

Bucky is NOT in ‘CAPTAIN AMERICA: BRAVE NEW WORLD’.

DEADLINE added Sebastian Stan by mistake and quickly removed his name from the article. Sam and Joaquin are the leads.

Although the insiders didn’t provide specifics in their reports, they cast doubt on claims that Sebastian Stan would reprise his role ahead of Thunderbolts, shutting down rumblings that both he and Tatiana Maslany’s Jennifer Walters (AKA She-Hulk) will pop up in Brave New World. Instead, it sounds like Danny Ramirez’s Joaquín Torres, AKA the MCU’s new Falcon, will be Sam’s sidekick, which makes sense given his role in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

If this is true, Brave New World will be the first Captain America movie not to feature Bucky. While some may be disappointed by this news, Stan’s fan-favorite character is still getting his spotlight in Thunderbolts — they’ll just have to wait a bit to see him back on the big screen. There’s also the off-chance that Bucky could have a cameo in Brave New World, with a post-credits scene tying into Thunderbolts seeming most likely.

Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Captain America
Credit: Marvel Studios

Ultimately, the whole point of the MCU’s Phases Four and Five is to establish new heroes ahead of the Avengers’ Multiversal battle against Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), so it comes as no surprise that Ramirez’s Falcon will get an expanded role in the upcoming Captain America entry. Still, given Bucky and Sam’s character growth in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it’s unclear why Marvel is choosing to sideline their newfound friendship for the movie after dedicating so much time to pair, though the most straightforward answer is that a) the studio wants to make Joaquín Torres a key player, and b) understands that Bucky will take center stage in Thunderbolts, leaving Brave New World to be — mostly — Sam’s movie alone.

With Disney and Marvel having just one MCU movie on the schedule for next year, Deadpool 3 (2024), hype is only continuing to build for the fourth Captain America installment. Considering the Cap franchise’s track record, it’s safe to say that expectations are high for Brave New World, and if fans can accept that Bucky likely won’t appear in the film, they’re in for an action-packed political thriller that could lay the foundation for the Multiverse Saga moving forward.

Captain America: Brave New World arrives in theaters on February 14, 2025.

Do you think that Bucky Barnes should appear in Captain America: Brave New World, or would he distract from Sam Wilson’s highly-anticipated debut as the titular hero? Let us know in the comments below!

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