- “I'm with you to the end of the line, pal.”
James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes is a Marvel Comics character who is the protégé and childhood friend of Captain America. He is the tritagonist in Captain America: The First Avenger, the (former) secondary antagonist turned anti-hero (having been brainwashed by HYDRA) in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the deuteragonist in Captain America: Civil War. He is 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 to return as The Winter Soldier.
Bucky Barnes was created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.
Bucky is loyal, brave, honest to a fault, headstrong, resilient, and has a strong sense of justice and honor; during the 40's 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, that 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 gives 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.
- 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
Bucky Barnes' files is among the ones studied by Steve Rogers, awakened at the present days. Oddly enough, he's reported as "Missing in Action", implying that S.H.I.E.L.D. thinks he may still be alive.
- “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 Falconput 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 or Black Panther's father.
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 changed reality to make it sure that Bucky survived the explosion instead of dying.
Bucky ended up frozen somewhere in the Arctic ocean.
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 Solider.
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, who he married Rogers' wartime girlfriend.
- Bucky's codename is Winter Soldier, much like his older self in the comics.
- Notice that Bucky does not wear a mask like in the comics, and his identity isn't a secret.
- 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. Late 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.
- Bucky Barnes has some similarities with Warp Darkmatter, in the fact that they both have prosthetic arms and are former partners of the main protagonist and were presumed dead.
- Sebastian Stan originally auditioned to play Captain America, but was cast as Bucky instead.
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