Bucky called the White Wolf in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier was not the first time that we hear him called with the said title. He was first introduced as the White Wolf in Avengers: Infinity War when T’Challa, King of Wakanda, gave him a new vibranium arm told Bucky that “the White Wolf has rested long enough.”
Warning! This portion may contain spoilers for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Read at your own risk!
In Episode 2 of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, The Star-Spangled Man, during the scene where Sam and Bucky are spying on what the Flag Smashers are doing, Sam teased Bucky saying “Look at you, all stealthy. A little time in Wakanda and you come out White Panther.” Bucky immediately corrected Sam saying “It’s actually White Wolf.”
This would open a lot of doors for the character of Bucky and his future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with his dark past, and complex present. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier handed us Pandora’s box into the mind of Bucky where he is struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after being a cold killer for Hydra for more or less 80 years and how he tries to manage it by making amends.
Bucky really tries his best to do so but he still gets nightmares of what he used to be. The shadow of his past comes crawling back on him through dreams and he, clearly, isn’t over it yet. In the comics, the White Wolf was never Bucky, it was another person, Hunter, and yet the MCU decided to give Bucky the title. What would that mean for Bucky and his MCU future? First, we delve into who the White Wolf is in the comics.
In the comics, the White Wolf was first introduced in the 1999 issue of Black Panther #4 where a plane crashed on the borders of Wakanda and the only one to survive is a white Caucasian kid whose parents died. Wakanda holds dear their privacy but King T’Chaka took pity on the kid, he was named Hunter and was raised as if he is T’Chaka’s own son.
However, this father-and-son kind of thing was interrupted with the birth of T’Challa. Hunter grew with jealousy as that would mean someone takes up his place in the family. He didn’t want the throne, he just loves Wakanda and T’Chaka so he decided he could prove his worth to the then King of Wakanda. That’s when he became the White Wolf as he led the secret Wakandan police force, the War Dogs or Hatut Zeraze.
He remained devoted to their cause. However, when T’Challa was hailed king, T’Challa didn’t approve of their brutal methods. This led to the disbanding of the War Dogs and the raging hate of Hunter to T’Challa. He became a hired mercenary in the open world but would always return to Wakanda when chaos ensues.
Bucky: The White Wolf
There sure is a plan that Marvel has laid out for Bucky in taking up the mantle of the White Wolf. Marvel is known for these little easter eggs that turn out to be huge revelations in the future of something useful which would come up some other time, so there would surely be something planned out for Bucky giving him the moniker of the White Wolf.
Sure, Bucky is not Hunter as the two have completely different backstories and given the passing of the late Chadwick Boseman (RIP, King of Wakanda) who portrays T’Challa, what remains of their connection to each other is Wakanda itself.
It could be remembered that when Bucky was still a fugitive after the events of Captain America: Civil War, he was taken by Captain America to Wakanda for refuge and rehabilitation. With the advanced science and technology of Wakanda, Bucky submits himself to another cryogenesis until Wakanda figures out how to cure him or at least, bring him back to his prime self.
Giving Bucky the title of the White Wolf could give him the chance to turn up into the upcoming Black Panther 2. Even with the news that T’Challa would not be recast, that only means that Wakanda would be needing a new leader and that could probably stir some chaos, something Bucky could help out sort given that it was Wakanda that gave him back his consciousness and recovery along with the moniker of the White Wolf.
You see, the White Wolf has always been loyal to Wakanda and he would always return there whenever there is something wrong, or when they need a helping hand. Bucky could be this, he could be the one Wakanda would seek out for help as the throne is up for grabs.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier could be the perfect way to set Bucky becoming the White Wolf. In just two episodes, it is shown that Bucky is trying to step away from the dark shadows of his past and becoming anew through all the possible ways there could be like making amends to those he wronged, trying to build a new life, and just being Bucky, the way he used to be before HYDRA screwed him up.
With Sam on his way to leaving the mantle of The Falcon and about to take over the Captain America title, Bucky could also be on his way to leaving his past behind as the Winter Soldier and start out new as the White Wolf.