Villain or not, Bucky played an integral role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since his introduction in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger. Add to that the fact that Bucky/The Winter Soldier actor Sebastian Stan still has six movies left in his nine-year Marvel contract, the character could pretty much appear in any MCU film. The Winter Soldier's next Marvel movie appearance may be unknown at this point, but Stan has hinted that Bucky might be in 2018's Black Panther.
According to Comicbook.com, Stan was at a Wizard World Philadelphia panel this past weekend when he was asked where he would prefer Bucky to appear next. Since Captain America: Civil War's post-credits involved Bucky, the 33-year-old actor suggested that it's highly likely that Black Panther will be where Bucky will appear next.
I don't know, man. I mean, there's obviously a very clear answer but I'm not maybe say it, now (sic). Where did he end up at the end of the movie? That's the movie he should be in. I feel like that would be the natural... But I don't know.
It's a modest answer and while Stan could already be hinting at a fact, the answer is an indirect one since Marvel is strict when it comes to spoilers. However, it appears that the actor already has some idea about Bucky's next MCU appearance. With six movies left in his contract, there's plenty of Phase Three and Phase Four movies in the next few years where Bucky might appear.
Looking at Stan's perspective though, it does make sense if Bucky is in Black Panther, since he asked King T'Challa to place him in deep freeze in the king's high-tech laboratory in the fictional country of Wakanda, until T'Challa's scientists find a way to cure Bucky from being brainwashed.
Certainly, if T'Challa would need extra hands to fend off the bad guys in Black Panther, he might need to take Bucky out of deep freeze to ask for help.
It would be cool to see the two characters fighting side by side after their confrontations in Civil War.
Right now, only Lupita Nyong'o and Michael B. Jordan have been confirmed to star in Black Panther. With the movie up for release still in two years' time, it could take a while before there's any official announcement of Stan's involvement in the movie.
Black Panther hits theaters on February 16, 2018.