Marvel Needs to Stop Calling Bucky Barnes the Winter Soldier
I am no longer the Winter Soldier. I'm James Bucky Barnes and you're part of my efforts to make amends.
Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) says that as one of his very first lines in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, not even four minutes after he first appears on-screen in the Disney+ series. Over the next six episodes, 270 minutes or so of actual storytelling, Barnes goes to great lengths to show people that he is, in fact, not the person he once was. At the same time Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) was making his ascension to the role of Captain America, Bucky was doing what he could to remove himself from his previous life as a blood-thirsty HYDRA assassin.
When the finale finally wraps up with a nice little bow, the credits roll, and fans see Marvel has renamed the show to Captain America and the Winter Soldier with a pair of in-credits title cards.
When all is said and done Marvel still chose to call him the Winter Soldier at the tail end of the finale, even after Bucky makes amends to everyone in his little black book —the one thing Barnes said was the last thing that connected him to his previous life.
Even after the therapy sessions, the House of Ideas opted to go straight back to his identity before all the development we saw unfold throughout the show. Even after millions of Marvel fans watched the tear-filled moment Bucky realizes the HYDRA trigger words no longer worked on him and he can finally begin his journey of healing, the studio chose to still reduce him to his former self.
The show did an incredible job diving into Bucky's path of redemption and a journey of trying to become human once again. Still, after all of that, the series wrapped and Marvel Studios chose to still identify the character by a name he no longer wished to wear.
Now the series wrapped, the Mouse has finally unveiled a bunch of spoiler-iffic merchandising. Across the board, Wilson is referred to as Captain America. Even the John Walker (Wyatt Russell) toys bear the namesake of US Agent.
When it comes to Bucky? It's not James Barnes, or even Bucky. It's not the White Wolf. It's the Winter Soldier.
Certainly, it couldn't have been a choice based on name recognition or brand confusion, right? After all, the title cards read Captain America and the Winter Soldier while the most acclaimed entry in the entire franchise dons the title Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Don't get us wrong — this show was largely about Sam Wilson becoming Captain America; even then, that doesn't mean his partner was without any struggle. As we watched Sam fight his fight on the journey to don the stars and stripes, Bucky was fighting his own battle, railing against the person he once was. Doing anything to build a new life for himself.
Bucky Barnes made it a point to tell us he's no longer the Winter Soldier and Marvel should respect that.
Watch The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+.
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