- “I'm no longer the Winter Soldier. I'm James Bucky Barnes, and you're part of my efforts to make amends.”
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he first appears in the film Captain America: The First Avenger as a member of an elite special unit of Allied soldiers formed in World War II known as the Howling Commandos. He was thought to be dead after falling off of Zola's Train, but survived and was brainwashed by HYDRA to become the most famous Winter Soldier.
After being free of HYDRA's control, Bucky became a very important ally of Captain America during the following events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and eventually became one of the Avengers. He is fully recovered from the brainwashing during the period he stayed on Wakanda, where he became known as the White Wolf. He and Sam Wilson are the titular protagonists of the Disney+ series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
Bucky Barnes was created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, while the White Wolf was created by Christopher Priest and Mark Texeira.
- 1 Background
- 2 Appearances
- 2.1 Marvel Cinematic Universe
- 2.2 Marvel Animated Universe
- 3 Video games
- 4 Gallery
- 5 Trivia
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Bucky is loyal, brave, honest to a fault, headstrong, resilient, and has a strong sense of justice and honor; during the 1940s he was charming and a ladies man, in present times he tends to be more distant and self-contained.
As the Winter Soldier, Bucky was an elusive, dangerous, and amnesiac assassin. He was ruthless, brutal, and under the complete control of HYDRA. After Steve Rogers reminded him of his past, Bucky broke from his programming and saved his friend and former target from drowning.
Powers and Abilities
- “He's fast... strong... had a metal arm.”
- ―Steve Rogers describing the Winter Soldier
- Super Soldier Serum/Bionic Arm: Bucky's bionic arm gives him enhanced strength superior to that of A normal human's. However, the bionic arm is not the only source of his physical attributes; he was given some form of the Super Soldier Serum, which affected his tissue strength and physical capabilities to the very peak of human potential.
- Enhanced Strength: Bucky's physical strength is enhanced to the very peak of human potential. HYDRA also removed the remnants of his severed left arm and replaced the missing limb with a cybernetic one. The bionic arm and some form of the Super Soldier Serum give him enhanced strength almost equal to that of Steve's.
- Enhanced Durability: Bucky's bones and muscles are almost as dense and hard as Steve's, which makes him very durable compared to a normal human.
- Enhanced Speed: Bucky can run and move at speeds that are superior to that of a normal human's. Bucky's speed is almost equal to that of Steve's.
- Enhanced Stamina: Bucky's musculature produces less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of a normal human.
- Enhanced Reflexes: Bucky's reflexes are superior to that of a normal human's.
- Enhanced Agility: Bucky's agility is superior to that of a normal human's.
- Accelerated Healing: Bucky's healing speed and efficiency is superior to that of a normal human.
- Slowed Aging Process: Extended periods of cryonic preservation and his rapid cellular regeneration has dramatically slowed Bucky's overall aging process.
- Bionic Arm: Barnes had his left arm removed by HYDRA and had it replaced with a cybernetic one. After his original arm was destroyed, Barnes received a new Vibranium arm from T'Challa.
Superhuman Strength: The bionic arm gives him extraordinary superhuman strength, superior to that of Captain America's strength, though not quite on par with that of Spider-Man. Winter Soldier was able to rip open a S.H.I.E.L.D armored SUV, rip apart Falcon's EXO-7 suit, and smash concrete by punching it. With his bionic arm supporting his already enhanced natural strength, the Winter Soldier was shown to be able to overpower Captain America in a fight.
Superhuman Durability: Winter Soldier's cybernetic arm is incredibly resistant to physical damage. The cybernetic arm is shown to be bulletproof, made evident when Barnes used the arm to block several gunshots from a German officer. After losing his original cybernetic arm, Barnes was given a new vibranium one by Black Panther. This new arm grants him even higher durability due to it being composed of vibranium, as well as the benefit of being vibration absorbent.
- Master Hand-To-Hand Combatant/Martial Artist: Receiving vast training from the United States Army and HYDRA, Bucky became a master assassin, who's combat skills are almost on the same level as Steve's.
- Master Marksman: Receiving vast training from the United States Army and HYDRA, Bucky became a master marksman, he is one of, if not the deadliest marksman on the planet.
- Expert Pilot: Bucky was able to "hijack" a Quinjet after killing the pilot.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
Captain America: The First Avenger
After meeting him in his childhood, Bucky became Rogers' best friend. After the Pearl Harbor attack, Bucky joined the U.S. Army and attained the title of Sgt. Barnes.
The day before shipping out to England, Bucky saved his friend Steve from being beat up by a bully by punching him in the jaw and kicking him in the backside as he ran. Bucky and Steve then went to the Modern Marvels Pavilion on a double date Bucky had arranged, but Steve was more interested in attempting to enlist for the fifth time. Despite Bucky's protests, Steve still went through with it, but they parted on good terms before he did. Bucky and his regiment, the 107th, then shipped to England the next day.
A year later, Bucky and his regiment consisting of 200 men went up against a Nazi science division named HYDRA lead by Johann Schmidt at the orders of the SSR but 150 of the men were either killed or captured while 50 barely escaped. Bucky and the future Howling Commandos were among those captured. Bucky was taken to a prison camp in Austria where he was forced to work to build components for a super plane called the Valkyrie, but the enforced labour eventually became too much when he contracted pneumonia, and despite the efforts of his fellow prisoners to keep the HYDRA officers off his back, he was taken to an isolation ward for experimentation. But a little less than month later, Steve (who had become Captain America) infiltrated the base, freed the prisoners, and located Bucky strapped down to an examination table, suffering from whatever it was they had been doing to him. Steve freed Bucky and the two friends made their escape from the factory that was now self destructing. During the escape, Bucky and Steve encountered Schmidt and Zola but were able to evade them and flee the facility before it blew and then walked all the way back to the SSR base in Italy located more than 30 miles away.
After Steve's impressive job saving the prisoners, he was officially promoted to Captain and allowed to put together a special team. Bucky was of course completely on board with joining and following "that little guy from Brooklyn who was too dumb not to run away from a fight." Over the course of several months, Captain America and his team, now known as the Howling Commandos, went on special missions taking down HYDRA facilities and forces. On one of these missions, Bucky, Captain America and Gabe Jones zip-lined onto the top of a HYDRA train carrying one of HYDRA's top scientists, Arnim Zola. They ran into trouble inside the train and a gun fight broke out, Steve temporarily went down and Bucky took up his shield and saved him from enemy fire. But Bucky didn't have the upper body strength to hold on to the shield when hit with Hydra's powerful advanced weapons and the blast pushed him out of the blown open side of the train. Steve was unable to save him, and he fell hundreds of feet into an icy ravine below.
- “Most of the intelligence community doesn't believe he exists. The ones that do call him the Winter Soldier. He's a ghost, you'll never find him...”
- ―Natasha describing the Winter Soldier to Steve Rogers
Steve Rogers’ best friend Bucky Barnes was a member of the Howling Commandos and a former member of the 107th Infantry Unit. He had been captured during the Italy campaign by Red Skull's HYDRA forces and experimented on by the Swiss HYDRA scientist Arnim Zola, with Rogers, re-branded as Captain America due to Project Rebirth, rescuing him from the facility. He joined the Howling Commandos in gratitude, specifying he was joining for Rogers, not for Captain America. On one mission to capture Zola, however, Barnes was thought to have died from falling down a crevice while pinned by HYDRA soldiers. However, thanks to the experimentation done unto him earlier, he survived and was recovered by Zola (who had presumably just been released by the SSR in exchange for information about HYDRA) and some Soviet agents, with his arm forcibly removed through surgical operation and replaced with a bionic arm, and presumably undergoing brainwashing to remove any memories of his former identity. However, he resurfaces decades later as the Winter Soldier, a brainwashed, mega-enhanced Super-Soldier doing dirty work for a mysterious organization. By the time of the end of the Cold War, he was kept so classified that most of the intelligence community had doubts that he even existed, and gained the codename "The Winter Soldier," acting as an assassin for the USSR and presumably HYDRA. He once had an encounter with then-KGB agent Nastasha Romanoff while she was protecting a nuclear engineer, where he managed to shoot out their protection vehicle's tires and also kill the engineer by shooting straight through her gut. His MO was using Soviet rounds that were from antiquated weapons and thus "untraceable." By the time of the 21st century, the hardened Winter Soldier has no memories of his former identity and that suits him just fine — he is simply a killing machine.
The Winter Soldier is first seen in the film leading a herd of fake police to chase after Nick Fury. Eventually, the Winter Soldier shoots a bomb with a magnet that attaches itself to Fury's vehicle, which explodes and flips the car over. The Winter Soldier walks over to Fury, but he finds a hole in the ground where Fury should have been. Fury then limps over to Steve Rogers' apartment to attempt to tell him that SHIELD has been compromised.
However, the Winter Soldier manages to find where Fury is hiding and shoots Fury through the wall, three times, seemingly killing him. Steve chases after the Winter Soldier and attempts to throw his shield at him, but is shocked when the Winter Soldier catches it, and throws the shield back at Steve before disappearing.
Later, Natasha reveals to Steve that the Winter Soldier has been responsible for many assassinations for 50 years. After Steve and Natasha escaped Hydra once again, Rumlow requested the Winter Soldier's help. ("Call in the asset")
Alexander Pierce, the official head of the reorganized HYDRA terrorist group operating within SHIELD, finds the Winter Soldier in his apartment, and tells him to assassinate Captain America and Black Widow, wanting their confirmed deaths in ten hours. However, Pierce's house-keeper stumbles upon their meeting and sees the Winter Soldier, resulting in Pierce shooting her with the Winter Soldier staring unfazed.
After realizing that Alexander Pierce is a follower for HYDRA and is intending to use Fury's insight project to kill anyone who could potentially oppose Hydra, Steve, Natasha, and Sam Wilson attempt to drive to the Triskelton, but are confronted by the Winter Soldier and his men. The Winter Soldier successfully manages to kill Jasper Sitwell by throwing him into the path of a truck. The heroes are split up, and the Winter Soldier sends his men to kill Steve Rogers while he goes after Natasha. A battle ensues, with Steve and Sam fighting the other assasins while the Winter Soldier fights Natasha. Eventually, the Winter Soldier is about to shoot Natasha, only to be charged at by Steve. The Winter Soldier quickly stops him by punching his shield. Steve fights the Winter Soldier, but the latter is able to match him move for move. Steve eventually removes the Winter Solder's mask, and much to his horror, Steve recognizes the Winter Soldier as Bucky Barnes, his friend from the past and whom he thought to have died. Steve says Bucky's name, but the Winter Soldier responds, "Who the hell is Bucky?", before disappearing.
The Winter Soldier returns to HYDRA's lair to get his mechanical arm fixed up after being damaged during the battle. While his arm is being fixed, he has brief flashbacks to his old life, from the fall he took to the moment he was recovered by Zola and the HYDRA agents, his left arm being amputated and replaced with the metal arm, and finally being placed in suspended-animation. The Winter Soldier cracks and attacks the person fixing his arm, sending him flying across the room, causing the other people in the room to point their guns at him. Alexander Pierce is called and comes. As he walks in he tells everyone to lower their guns, and asks the Winter Soldier for a mission report. Bucky however, merely stares out into space his mind on other things. Pierce, annoyed slaps him, which prompts the Winter Soldier to ask who Steve was. Pierce tells him that he met Steve earlier this week on another mission. Bucky then remembers the moment before he fell off the train during WWII, how Steve had reached for his hand. Bucky then claims to have known Steve. Pierce tries to appease him by praising the Winter Soldier's work and asking him to come back to do it again. Bucky, however, insists that he knew Steve. Pierce tells the scientists to prep the Winter Soldier to continue his mission, however one of the scientists comment that he's been too long out of cryophase. So Pierce orders the agents erased Bucky's memory again to start over and reset the Winter Soldier to his original killing machine mindset. Pierce walks out of the room with Bucky wailing in pain from being brainwashed.
Later, Steve, Falcon, Natasha, Maria Hill, and Fury, who survived his injuries, attempt to stop Alexander Pierce's plot. While Steve and Falcon put overriding chips into two of the Helicarriers, the Winter Soldier is seen attacking the only people that were going to support Captain America. He then hijacks a Quinjet and heads on up.
When Cap and Falcon arrive on the third Helicarrier, the Winter Soldier suddenly appears out of nowhere and bowls over Captain America, seemingly making him fall off the Helicarrier. Winter Soldier then attacks Falcon to keep him from rescuing Steve, by ripping off one of his wings and throwing him off of the helicarrier. Winter Soldier had gotten close enough to the edge to notice that Captain America indeed had not fallen off the Helicarrier, and proceeds to head to the control panel to confront Steve. Steve attempts to talk with the Winter Soldier, telling him that a lot of people are going to die. After receiving a blank stare from his friend, Steve pleads with Bucky to not make them fight each other. However, the Winter Soldier doesn't move, leaving Steve with no choice but to attack the Winter Soldier with his shield.
A brutal fight breaks out between the two, with the Cap multitasking and attempting to put in the third and last chip. During the fight, the Winter Soldier gets a hold of the chip. Steve puts the Winter Soldier in an arm lock demanding he let go of the chip. Bucky however holds on to it, prompting Steve to dislocate his elbow. Steve then holds Bucky in a Rear-Naked-Choke. Winter Soldier then passes out and releases the chip. Steve rushes to place the chip into the Helicarrier's system, but the Winter Soldier recovers and shoots at him, hitting him twice. However, Steve still succeeds in placing the chip. Hill tells Cap to get out, but Steve tells her to shoot down the Helicarriers, making them open fire upon each other.
As the third Helicarrier begins to crumble, Steve heard a cry of pain and saw that the Winter Soldier was pinned down by a rail. The wounded Steve then lifts the rail enough for the Winter Soldier to crawl out. As soon as the Winter Soldier was free, he responds by mercilessly attacking Steve again. Steve again attempts to revive Bucky's memories, telling him his name, and that they were childhood friends, but the Winter Soldier rebuffs everything and yells at him to shut up. Cap, refusing to fight his friend, tells him so and drops his shield into the river below. Winter Soldier simply responds by tackling Steve saying he is nothing but a mission. Bucky repetedly kept pounding at Steve with his metal arm. When he paused for a breath Steve tells him to finish it, because no matter what, Steve will be "with him until the end of the line" (something that Bucky had told him years ago). Hearing those words, the Winter Soldier looks at Steve and hesitates. The Helicarrier crashes, throwing Steve out and sending him into the water below. The Winter Soldier instinctively grabs onto one of the metal supports and watches his friend falling for a moment. Bucky then lets go and falls after his friend. He pulls Steve out of water and to the shore. He makes sure Steve is breathing before limping away, without a word.
A couple weeks later, Bucky, is shown to be visiting the Smithsonian. He visits the Captain America exhibit, where he reads a display of himself. Bucky stares at it, desperate to remember the old life Steve spoke of.
Bucky appears in the custody of Steve at an unknown base; his capture was not informed to Tony Stark due to Steve's concern over the former's actions in recent events. Together with Sam Wilson, Steve seeks to undo Bucky's brainwashing with the help of Scott Lang.
Freed from HYDRA's control, Bucky went on the run from the government. After a bombing at the Vienna International Centre in Austria, it was believed the Bucky was the culprit and the murder of Black Panther's father T'Chaka. Bucky decides to go back under the ice so that Black Panther and his sister Shuri can fix the brainwashing from Bucky's brain.
Two years after civil war, Bucky is reunited with Steve in Wakanda after the HYDRA brainwashing is removed. Bucky later assists, Black Panther, Captain America, Black Widow and others at the battle of Wakanda, but Bucky is one of the 50% of the universe to disintegrate from Thanos' snap.
Bucky is resurrected after Professor Hulk's snap and helps the Avengers defeat Thanos and his army once and for all. He later attends Tony Stark's funereal after he sacrifices himself to defeat Thanos. Bucky is amongst those who see Captain America return the Infinity Stones and says one final goodbye to Steve, knowing he will spend his time back in the 40's to live his life with Peggy Carter. Bucky watches from afar as an elderly Steve Rogers gives Sam Wilson his shield.
In the first episode, Bucky is struggling with memories as the Winter Soldier, so he is having therapy to help get those memories out of his mind. It is also revealed that he has been trying to make amends with those who he caused trauma or helped to rise to power during his time as the Winter Solider. He states to a woman that is still abusing of the power he helped her obtain that he is no longer the assassin everyone knew him as before, but now just James "Bucky" Barnes, the best friend to Steve Rogers, and that taking her from her position of power is part of his effort to make amends.
Bucky now spends time with a elderly man called Yori who had lost his son years ago, as he was murdered while traveling abroad. The man sets Bucky on a date with a woman, but Bucky struggles with feelings of guilt as it is revealed that he is the one who killed Yori's son when he was still the Winter Soldier. Because of this, he leaves the date when the woman starts to mention Yori's son, despite her complimenting him for being nice to Yori.
In the fifth episode, Bucky is one of the survivors of the zombie outbreak. He helps Spider-Man, Wasp, Happy Hogan and others defeat the zombies, where he ends up having to kill a zombiefied version of Captain America.
Marvel Animated Universe
World War II
In 1943, Bucky helped Captain America to get inside the Red Skull's fortress in Norway. After the two American allies defeated the HYDRA goons, Bucky and Captain America pursued the Red Skull in his rocket ship, but the Red Skull got away and set the rocket to blow in 30 seconds. As Bucky got his leg stuck to the ladder, Rogers tried to free him from the bars, but when Bucky said the world needs Captain America more than Bucky, he knocked him off the rocket and into the frozen water to save him before he died in the explosion in tragedy.
Change of reality
When Captain America and Baron Strucker touched the Cosmic Cube in the 21st century, Captain America subconsciously changed reality to ensure that Bucky survived the explosion instead of dying.
And thus, Bucky ended up falling into the Arctic ocean, frozen into suspended animation just as his mentor.
Change into the Winter Soldier
- “Captain America has abandoned you, little one. You have a new teacher now.”
- ―Red Skull to Bucky
He lost an arm in the explosion, and was later found by the Red Skull and HYDRA. He was brainwashed and given a robotic arm. The Skull trained him and sent him on many missions. One such mission was to infiltrate Nick Fury's group when they blew up a HYDRA base. He took out the team except for Fury, and got out of there before the explosion that took Fury's left eye. Between missions, they put him into hibernation so he wouldn't age.
Creation of the Red Hulk
He sneaks onto the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, and steals the sample of the Hulk's blood. Then he injects it into the willing Thunderbolt Ross, who changes into the Red Hulk. Later, he went to Washington, D.C. where he meets up with Secretary of Defense Dell Rusk, along with Falcon, Doc Samson, and the Red Hulk.
When a virus affected people outside of Avengers Mansion, Winter Soldier, along with Doc Samson and Falcon, attacked the Avengers. Doc Samson and Falcon were defeated, but Winter Soldier managed to capture Captain America and take him to Dell Rusk, who was revealed to have been the Red Skull. Bucky cured Captain America of the virus and later fled.
Cap defeated the Skull and took him into custody.
When Red Skull escape prison as a result of his Sleeper robots, Roger's seeks the aid of Nick fury to help him track down The Winter Soldier as he believes it's Bucky. When Rogers and Fury do locate Winter Soldier, they find him attempting to disarmed one of the sleepers bots. Afterwards, theirs a little confrontation in which Bucky remembers who he is and is furious at Rogers for abandoning him to be reprogrammed as the assassin he has become. Fury is also enraged by Bucky having caused his eye sight failure. Cap reason with both of them to put aside there difference and work together to stop the Red Skull who has launched a full-scale attack on Washington DC using his sleeper robot, The Avengers attempt to thwart his plans while Captain America and Bucky go directly to face-off with Red Skull. Together Cap and Bucky defeat him and Bucky decides to go off solo to redeem himself of all the past wrongs he had committed as The Winter Soldier.
In the episode "Ghosts of the Past" Bucky as the Winter Soldier returns to enact vengeance upon the Red Skull with the Avengers trying to stop him.
Bucky appears as a team up disk in the Disney Infinity: 2.0 Edition.
- In the comics, Bucky is younger than Steve Rogers. In the initial stories by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Bucky was a teenage mascot for Captain America's regiment. He was later adapted to having been older. In the Ultimate Universe, Bucky was a paratrooper/war photographer who was a childhood friend of Steve Rogers, often having defended him from bullies. Fifty seven years after Steve Rogers fell into the ocean and shortly after Rogers was revived, Bucky had become an aging, cancer-ridden veteran, he married Rogers' wartime girlfriend.
- Bucky used Captain America's shield, in the comics Bucky becomes Captain America when Steve was supposedly dead.
- In the comics, Bucky was a trainer and lover of Black Widow, and the two have rekindled their relationship and remained steady since Bucky's resurrection.
- The Winter Soldier is very similar to Rinzler/Tron from TRON: Legacy in that they were once best friends with a protagonist (Steve Rogers for Bucky, Kevin Flynn for Tron) and were seemingly killed in a battle (Bucky fell off Red Skull's train, whereas Tron was supposedly derezzed during CLU 2.0's coup), but later revealed to be still alive and brainwashed into a masked assassin. Later into their respective films, they end up redeeming themselves (Rinzler breaks free of his brainwashing and becomes Tron again, whilst the Winter Soldier ends up saving Captain America from the destroyed Helicarriers and begins to learn more of his past).
- However Bucky Barnes is not a villain since he is brainwashed and is in fact a hero, but when he was the Winter Soldier, he was brainwashed and became a villain due to this, so he would be an anti-hero.
- To prepare for the role of the Winter Solder, Sebastian Stan went through five months of physical training and historical research: "I dove into the whole Cold War history: I looked at the KGB. I looked at all kinds of spy movies, and all kinds of documentaries about that time, and what it was about. I grabbed anything from that time period and anything about brainwashing.
- Sebastian Stan originally auditioned to play Captain America, but was cast as Bucky instead.
- It's shown in "The Whole World Is Watching" that Bucky can speak Wakandian.
- In the comics, he and the White Wolf were separate characters.
- James Barnes on Marvel Movies Wiki
- Bucky on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Wiki
- Winter Soldier on the Marvel Database (Wikia)
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