At the end of last Friday’s finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the title card that started each of the six episodes of the series was changed to Captain America and the Winter Soldier to acknowledge Sam Wilson’s (Anthony Mackie) new role as the Star-Spangled Avenger. But while Bucky Barnes’ (Sebastian Stan) Winter Soldier alias was kept in the updated title card, series creator Malcolm Spellman said that this does not reflect Bucky’s current status as the Winter Soldier, claiming that the character has finally moved on from the darkest chapter of his life at the end of the series.
“I hope people will forget that end title card as being an indicator of a commitment from Marvel,” Spellman told ComicBook.com. “I think he has slayed that dragon, personally, and I don’t think I’ll be in trouble for that. So when Bucky enters the series, he’s never ever shaken what he believes, which is, ‘I remember everyone, murders, which means that part of me was there, which means a part of the Winter Soldier is me.’ And if even a fraction of Winter Soldier is you, you are an awful person. You know what I’m saying?”
At the start of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Bucky was having a hard time trying to make amends for the horrendous things he had done after getting brainwashed by the Soviet Union and HYDRA. And even though all events that took place during that checkered portion of his past were out of his control, Bucky remembered everything and was carrying guilt for a very long time.
But in the final moments of the series, when he finally had the courage to admit to the old man that he’s the one who killed his son, it appeared that Bucky finally freed himself of all the guilt within him. He also seemed to realize that he’s no longer the killing machine that people once knew after getting a hero moment in the show’s finale.
“I think Bucky enters this thing truly believing he is kind of the Winter Soldier no matter what anyone says,” Spellman said. “[But] by the end, he has the moment with the old man, but more importantly, nobody has caught this… I’ve been saying it all day. In the scene with the Flag-Smashers in episode 6, when one of those people gets out of that van and thanks Bucky, that’s his first time being a hero. So by the end of this series, Bucky is emerging as having shed the burden of the Winter Soldier. He has found a new family, ironically, it’s a Black family in Louisiana, you know what I’m saying? And he has tasted being a hero for the first time. And I think he’s now free to become something amazing.”
Though it’s not clear what’s in store for Bucky in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans will likely see him next in Captain America 4, which is currently being developed by Spellman.
All six episodes of The Falcon and the Winter are available to stream on Disney+.