After months of anticipation, the former anti-heroes who would grace in the newly-confirmed MCU film Thunderbolts were finally unveiled at the recent D23 Expo. One surprise addition to the team is no other than Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier, played by Marvel veteran Sebastian Stan.
Stan's Bucky had an extremely eventful character arc, starting as a villain in Captain America: The Winter Soldier to being part of the Avengers and participating in beating Thanos in two of the MCU's groundbreaking films, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
Now, it appears that Bucky is joining a more dysfunctional team than the Avengers after his Thunderbolts casting announcement. To make things more interesting, Marvel President Kevin Feige teased at the event that Bucky is the closest thing to a hero in the group.
At the Marvel Studios panel at the 2022 D23 Fan Expo (as reported by The Direct), Sebastian Stan addressed his return as the Winter Soldier in 2024's Thunderbolts.
Joining the stage with the rest of the cast and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, Stan referenced the team as a "good troubled bunch" and expressed his excitement to "join a team of some sort:"
"Well, listen, you know, these are my kinds of people. They look like a good troubled bunch, and maybe I know a thing or two about that, and I’m just really glad to be back and, I guess, join a team of some sort."
During an interview with Extra, Stan joined co-stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Wyatt Russell and opened up about their thoughts on the film. When asked if the team consists of antagonists, Stan seemingly plays it coy by saying that the question will just be answered when the film hit theaters. He said:
"Well, again, maybe that’s what the movie’s gonna answer, right? It’s always interesting when you as an audience member have to maybe decide whether we are villains or heroes. But I think it’ll be interesting, I think that’s what’s compelling, I guess, about the movie, is sort of that it’s very unconventional like that. It sort of starts out a little bit like ‘who’s really the protagonist or antagonist,’ I guess."
There's no doubt that it would surely be intriguing to see how these complex characters would work with one another. However, Bucky's inclusion in the Thunderbolts may be a huge setback for the character, considering his massive redemption arc in Disney+'s The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. If it indeed will be a movie about the group turning into villains, this means that Bucky would go back to square one.
Nonetheless, Marvel Studious would surely give the Thunderbolts a worthy plot that would make them look like the Avengers, at the very least. Alongside Bucky, he will be joined by Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), US Agent (Wyatt Russell), Red Guardian (David Harbour), Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), Hannah John-Kamen (Ghost), and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Valentina Allegra de Fontaine).
Thunderbolts will premiere in theaters on July 26, 2024.