Bucky Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier, is probably one of the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) who has had the most influence on the story with the least amount of screen time. Now, with Captain America: Civil War, he's about to get the attention he deserves. Despite the fact that he has only appeared in two Captain America movies — The First Avenger and The Winter Soldier — Bucky has arguably made more significant contributions to MCU plot points than Hawkeye, who, I'll remind you, is an actual member of the Avengers. The Winter Soldier is crucial to the evolution of the MCU, but he's also crucial to fans, who have become massively invested in the character thanks, in large part, to actor Sebastian Stan. And still, Winter Soldier has yet to headline his own movie, and the fandom wants to know, will Bucky get a standalone movie sometime in the future?
Currently, there are no plans for a Winter Soldier solo movie, at least not officially. Looking at Marvel's extensive movie plans — they're booked through 2020 — The Winter Soldier is nowhere to be found. That said, Marvel Studios plans are always changing. Recently the studio announced that it was putting the Inhumans movie, which had been on schedule for a 2019 release date, on hold. Another reason to have hope for a Winter Soldier movie is that Marvel has three "Untitled" movies set for release in 2020. Yeah, not one, not two, three untitled movies. One of them's gotta be a Winter Soldier movie, right? Right?!
It's completely possible that Bucky will get a standalone Winter Soldier movie. Fans have rallied around the character in such a way that it almost feels inevitable. However, as we have already learned with Black Widow, just because the fans are asking for a solo film does not mean Marvel Studios is going to listen. Should they actually give fans the Winter Soldier movie we all want and deserve, there is a lot of Marvel comic content to pull from.
Perhaps the most buzzed about storyline concerning the Winter Soldier is one in which Bucky Barnes eventually takes over the role of Captain America. This storyline is obviously one that could be used very effectively on screen. Many people assume that sometime in the MCU future, Chris Evans will hang up his shield, vacating the Captain America spot for either Stan or Anthony Mackie (The Falcon). Should Stan take over the role, then fans hoping to see him lead his own film will definitely get their wish.
When asked about the possibility of eventually playing Cap, Stan has spoken with tentative optimism. "I love the character that I have. It's up to a lot of different things, and whatever Marvel decides, I'm game," Stan said in an interview with We Got This Covered. It has been reported that Stan signed a nine-picture deal with Marvel Studios when he originally booked the part of Bucky Barnes, meaning that should Evans' contract come to an end without extension after the last Avengers movie, the studio could easily pick Stan to be the new Cap.
Alas, having a Winter-Soldier-as-Captain-America movie isn't really the same as a Winter Solder standalone. But, it might be all fans can hope for at this point. Marvel hasn't typically been about creating prequels; all of its movies build off each other in such a way that works best going forward in time, not backwards. So the idea of a Winter Soldier prequel, specifically an origin story, seems unlikely given how much he has appeared in the present MCU.
So, maybe we'll see a Winter Soldier movie, and maybe we won't. But fans of Bucky should take comfort in the knowledge that his role in the films has increased with each movie. He's gotta take over sometime.
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