The Falcon and the Winter Soldier star Sebastian Stan says it's both bizarre and a blessing to play James 'Bucky' Barnes across a decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Stan first appeared as the childhood best friend and wartime buddy of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger, where Barnes was subject to testing by HYDRA before appearing to fall to his death during a mission with Captain America and the Howling Commandos. But Barnes operated for decades as the brainwashed metal-armed assassin called the Winter Soldier — a history that continues to haunt him in the Marvel Studios original series now airing on Disney+.
"It's very strange, for sure. It's bizarre to think about it," Stan told Entertainment Tonight about his ten-year run as Bucky Barnes. "Because it's been such a big part of my life in this decade for sure, so it's a blessing they're still willing to call me."
Falcon and Winter Soldier marks co-star Anthony Mackie's seventh year as Sam Wilson, the high-flying Falcon, who became Steve's wingman in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier. After their uneasy alliance in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, and their efforts to save the universe in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War and 2019's Avengers: Endgame, Sam and Bucky are both in search of "redemption" six months after blipping back to life.
"I think when you look at these two characters, and you get their backstory and what's going on with them, it's really them in a position trying to redeem themselves for failures of times before," Mackie said. "Which is, I think, really important in the MCU. Everyone has something that they want to make up for, everyone has something that they're trying to get back to. So redemption in this series is very important to these characters."
As for how Sam and Bucky's stories might continue past their six-episode series that will conclude on April 23, Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige said during a virtual press conference that the two characters "are essential to the MCU and as they change, or as they evolve, or whatever they go through could and should have a big impact on the MCU. So the answer is yes, there can be character shifts that have massive, massive implications for the stories we're telling in the future."
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