Falcon & Winter Soldier Can Finally Show How Much Wakanda Changed Bucky

Bucky was deprogrammed from his Hydra brainwashing by Shuri in Wakanda but Falcon and the Winter Soldier will prove if Barnes’ mind really is his own.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will finally prove whether Bucky Barnes’s (Sebastian Stan) deprogramming in Wakanda worked or if the Winter Soldier is still under the thrall of Hydra. Bucky and Sam Wilson AKA The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) step onto the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s main stage in The Falcon and The Winter Solider. The two best friends of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) will explore what superheroism means in the post-Avengers: Endgame MCU. But Bucky has some other things to prove as well; mainly that he really is no longer a Hydra assassin.

Bucky Barnes has had a long and tragic life since his introduction in Captain America: The First Avenger. Sgt. Barnes and the 107th Infantry Regiment were captured by Hydra during World War II. After Steve Rogers, who was now Captain America, rescued the 107th, Bucky joined Steve as part of the Howling Commandos and they took the fight to Hydra. However, Bucky was subjected to experiments by Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) and he survived what was believed to be a fall to his death. After Barnes was recaptured by Hydra, he was extensively brainwashed and further enhanced with a metal left arm. Bucky was turned into the Winter Soldier and he performed decades of assassinations for Hydra. Bucky’s mind was erased he was placed in suspended animation after each mission. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers was able to break through Bucky’s brainwashing. Barnes continued his recovery while on the run, although the Winter Soldier was briefly reactivated by Helmut Zeo (Daniel Bruhl) in Captain America: Civil War.

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Related: The Winter Soldier’s Complete MCU Timeline: Bucky’s Story Explained

After the events of Civil War, Captain America brought Bucky to Wakanda to be deprogrammed. Decades of Hydra’s reconditioning resulted in Bucky still being vulnerable to the following code phrases spoken in Russian: Longing, rusted, seventeen, daybreak, furnace, nine, benign, homecoming, one, freight car. In Civil War, Helmut Zemo proved the Winter Soldier could be reactivated into a nearly unstoppable killing machine. In Wakanda, Bucky was placed in the care of Shuri (Letitia Wright), the younger sister of King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and the most brilliant scientific mind in the technologically superior African nation. Bucky went back into cryo-sleep and Shuri promised she could find a way to break Hydra’s mind control. By the end-credits scene of Black Panther almost two years later, Bucky was seemingly cured. But did Shuri’s deprogramming really work?

In Avengers: Infinity War, Bucky Barnes described himself as “a semi-stable 100-year-old man” but it’s hard to say for sure if he really is free of Hydra’s grip on his mind. While giving Shuri’s genius her just due, there simply wasn’t time to prove whether Bucky is no longer susceptible to Hydra’s conditioning in the long term. After all, when Bucky emerged from his cryo-sleep and Shuri was done tinkering with his mind, Barnes lived simply as a farmer in Wakanda, where he was known as the White Wolf. T’Challa called Bucky back into action before the Avengers arrived to join the Wakandan army against the Children of Thanos (Josh Brolin), and immediately after that conflict, Bucky was one of the billions the Mad Titan turned to dust with his Infinity Gauntlet snap. Bucky was then brought back to life five years later and fought in the Avengers’ final battle against Thanos before he watched an older, time-traveled Steve Rogers pass Captain America’s shield to Sam Wilson.

While it’s probably safe to say that Shuri successfully broke Bucky’s programming that Zemo exploited in Captain America: Civil War, there’s no telling what else Hydra might have done to Barnes’ mind. However, it’s also likely that Shuri anticipated layers of hidden Hydra programming and that she was as thorough in her work curing Bucky as she is when she’s designing Vibranium-based technology and weapons for Wakanda. Regardless, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will be Bucky’s new baptism of fire. The new and improved Winter Soldier will be trying to adjust to the real world of 2023 and being exposed to new stimuli while facing new threats to the world. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will be the true test of how completely Shuri rid Bucky of Hydra’s poison in his mind and whether Bucky Barnes really is free to write his own heroic destiny.

Next: Falcon & Winter Soldier Will Deliver The MCU Promise WandaVision Couldn’t

  • Black Widow (2021)Release date: May 07, 2021
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
  • Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
  • Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
  • Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022

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