With Avengers: Infinity War hitting theaters in May 2018, there are already numerous theories floating around the Internet about what's gong to happen, who's going to survive, who may fall, and how the Marvel Cinematic Universe will continue. When combining a bazillion MCU movie characters, such as the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, and Spider-Man, into one film in which a bunch of heroes fight a seemingly undefeatable God-like alien there are bound to be some casualties, right? Well, as said, there are plenty of thoughts floating around, including many Infinity War theories about Bucky Barnes, seeing as we know the fan-favorite character will appear in the movie.
Spoilers ahead. Now that Black Panther has hit theaters, Marvel fans know from a post-credits scene that Bucky is alive and well and healing up in Wakanda. The end of Captain America: Civil War saw the Winter Soldier taken away to the flourishing African country by T'Challa, the Black Panther himself. T'Challa and his sister, Shuri, seemed to have used their incredible tech and healing knowledge to cure Bucky of his Hydra brainwashing and bring him back into the Avengers fold. So now that Bucky is presumably cured, what's going to happen to him in Infinity War?
It's already pretty evident from the trailer that Bucky is going to fight alongside his old pal, Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America. But probably the most popular fan theory bubbling up right now is that Captain America won't survive the Infinity War battle, and that Bucky will inherit the shield and become the new Captain America. The theory makes sense, after all, Chris Evans has said that the fourth Avengers movie, which was originally set to be Infinity War Part 2, would be his last, according to ScreenRant. It's also not looking good for Cap, considering Thanos, the main villain of Infinity War, kills Captain America in the movie's source material, Infinity Gauntlet #4. And in the comics, both Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson, AKA The Falcon, have taken up the title of Captain America.
But if both Steve and Bucky survive Infinity War, what's to become of their story? Knowing that Dr. Strange is in possession of the time stone, some fans think that both Steve and Bucky will be sent back in time to their own post-WW2 era. Whether or not they'll retain their memories, or go back to where they were pre-cryo-freeze is a whole other question. But sending them back to their own time would be a nice way for them to continue their friendship, avoid Bucky's whole brainwashing troubles, and reunite Steve with Agent Peggy Carter.
But one bummer of a theory out there in the realm of comic book-loving cinematic universes is that once Thanos gets his hands on all of the Infinity Stones and forms the Infinity Gauntlet, he'll be able to resurrect the vanquished villains from all of the previous MCU movies. So characters like Ronan, Ultron, and Red Skull would be fighting as sidekicks to Thanos. Which possibly means that Bucky's Hydra brainwashing could somehow be reactivated and he'd be turned back into the Winter Soldier. He was, after all, long considered a villain, albeit one that needed saving.
Honestly, this theory is pretty unlikely, considering that a couple of movies now, including Black Panther, have devoted scenes to the fact that Wakandan energy and technology could cure Bucky of his mental instability and release him of Hydra's code. So to turn around and have that progress reversed would be a major bummer, and kind of lame. But fans will just have to wait and see what Avengers: Infinity War brings for Bucky Barnes and our beloved Marvel superheroes.