'Black Panther': Who Is White Wolf?

As you've probably figured out by now, the majority of Black Panther is a standalone affair, [...]

As you've probably figured out by now, the majority of Black Panther is a standalone affair, keeping itself fairly separate from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, one scene in the film mentions a classic comic character, and reveals that they might be tied to a current member of the MCU.

WARNING: Major Spoilers ahead for Marvel's Black Panther! Continue reading at your own risk...

If you stayed through every last credit at the end of Black Panther, you were met with a scene you were probably expecting: Bucky waking up in Wakanda.

Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. The Winter Soldier, was last seen at the conclusion of Captain America: Civil War, where he was taken to Wakanda and cryogenically frozen. The scientists in the world's most technologically advanced nation were going to attempt to fix his programming, permanently freeing him from anyone's control.

In the Black Panther scene, Bucky woke up in a hut in the outskirts of the country, surrounded by children who were watching over him. Shuri, who was the one operating on Bucky, soon showed up talk with him, preparing him for what's to come next (Infinity War).

This kind of interaction was expected by most, given Bucky's inclusion in the upcoming Avengers films, and the fact that the trailers already revealed that he's still in Wakanda. What caught many off guard in this scene however, was the fact that Bucky was referred to as "White Wolf."

If you're not familiar, White Wolf is actually an important character in the Black Panther comics. Before T'Challa was born, a plane carrying a white family crashed in Wakanda, and only Hunter, the young child of the family, survived. Even though he was advised not to, King T'Chaka kept the child and raised him in Wakanda, making him the adopted brother of T'Challa. As you can imagine, they had a testy relationship over the years.

white wolf marvel
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

When Hunter got older, T'Chaka appointed him the leader of a secret police force, Hatut Zeraze, and he took on the mantle of the White Wolf. When T'Challa took over as king, he disbanded the force, so White Wolf and his men left Wakanda and became mercenaries. While there was no love lost for T'Challa, Hunter still answered his brother's calls for help whenever Wakanda was in trouble.

So, how does this all tie into Bucky?

Well we know by now that T'Challa never had the adopted brother from the comics, so the traditional White Wolf story is out the window. However, the character seems like a good fit for Bucky Barnes, especially since he will likely want to drop the Winter Soldier mantle.

T'Challa and Bucky already had a difficult relationship, considering T'Challa once believed a brainwashed Winter Soldier killed T'Chaka (even though it was actually Zemo). Bucky has also been welcomed by the people of Wakanda, despite being a white outsider, just like Hunter. On top of all that, Bucky has the mercenary, violent disposition that lines up with the White Wolf character from the comics.

infinity war bucky
(Photo: Disney/Marvel Studios)

Go back and watch the Avengers: Infinity War trailer again. As you can see, Bucky is fighting alongside the armies of Wakanda, even before the other Avengers are a part of the battle. He's become a part of their war, and he cares for those he's fighting beside. When you factor in the nickname and the end of Black Panther, it looks like the people of Wakanda have already taken him in as the lone outsider in their ranks; the White Wolf.

Black Panther is currently playing in a theater near you. Marvel's next blockbuster is Avengers: Infinity War, which hits theaters on May 4, followed by Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6. If you've already seen Black Panther, be sure to give it a rating below!