Read on only if you don't mind reading spoilers for the film.
|Appeared in|| Captain America: The First Avenger|
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: Civil War
- "I'm with you to the end of the line, pal."
- ―Bucky Barnes to Steve Rogers [src]
Sergeant James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes is the childhood friend of Steve Rogers and a member of an elite special unit of Allied soldiers formed in World War II known as the Howling Commandos. He was assumed deceased after falling off of Zola's Train. Unbeknownst to the Commandos, Zola's experimentation allowed Bucky to survive the fall. HYDRA subjected him to brainwashing as part of their "Winter Soldier" program. Under HYDRA's control, Bucky would be responsible for countless assassinations including political targets. Bucky became a formidable fighter and an even more ruthless killer. His experiences with the KGB would earn him the name of The Winter Soldier. After the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., Bucky started to remember who he was.
In 1930, when he was thirteen, James Buchanan Barnes noticed a weak, scrawny-looking boy around his age getting beaten up by some bullies and stepped in to save the kid, who introduced himself as Steve Rogers. Years later, during an art class, Bucky and Steve found out that America had joined the Second World War. Over the next two weeks he trained Steve at Goldie’s Boxing Gym. They visited a US Recruiting and Induction Center in New York where Steve was classified as 4F and rejected from service. But Bucky was accepted into the Army.
- "This isn't a back alley, Steve. It's war!"
- ―Bucky Barnes[src]
After meeting him in his childhood, Bucky became Rogers' best friend. After the Pearl Harbor attack, Bucky joined the U.S. army and attained the title of Sgt. Barnes.
The day before his shipment out to England, Bucky helped save his friend Steve from being beat up by a bully by punching him in the jaw and kicking him in the backside as he ran. Bucky and Steve then went to the Modern Marvels Pavilion on a double date Bucky has arranged but Steve was more interested in attempting to enlist for the fifth time. Despite Bucky's protests, Steve still went through with it, but they parted on good terms before he did. Bucky and his regiment, the 107th, then shipped to England the next day.
A year later, Bucky and his unit consisting of 200 men went up against a Nazi science division named HYDRA lead by Johann Schmidt at the orders of the SSR but 150 of the men were either killed or captured while 50 barely escaped. Bucky and the future Howling Commandos were among those captured. Bucky was taken to a prison camp in Austria where he was forced to work to build components for a super plane called the Valkyrie, but the enforced labour eventually became too much when he contracted pneumonia, and despite the efforts of his fellow prisoners to keep the HYDRA officers off his back, he was taken to an isolation ward for experimentation. But a little less than month later, Steve (who had become Captain America) infiltrated the base, freed the prisoners, and located Bucky strapped down to an examination table, suffering from whatever it was they had been doing to him. Steve freed Bucky and the two friends made their escape from the factory that was now self destructing. During the escape, Bucky and Steve encountered Schmidt and Zola but were able to evade them and flee the facility before it blew and then walked all the way back to the SSR base in Italy located more than 30 miles away.
After Steve's impressive job saving the prisoners, he was officially promoted and allowed to put together a special team. Bucky was of course completely on board with joining and following "that little guy from Brooklyn who was too dumb not to run away from a fight." Over the course of several months, Captain America and his team, now known as the Howling Commandos, went on special missions taking down HYDRA facilities and forces. On one of these missions, Bucky, Captain America and Gabe Jones zip-lined onto the top of a HYDRA train carrying one of HYDRA's top scientists, Arnim Zola. They ran into trouble inside the train and a gun fight broke out, Steve temporarily went down and Bucky took up his shield and saved him from enemy fire. But Bucky didn't have the upper body strength to hold on to the shield when hit with Hydra's powerful advanced weapons and the blast pushed him out of the blown open side of the train. Steve was unable to save him, and he fell hundreds of feet into an icy ravine below.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier Prologue
- "Sergeant Barnes... the procedure has already started. You are to be the new fist of HYDRA!"
- ―Arnim Zola[src]
Bucky survived the fall from Zola's train (although he lost his left arm) thanks to the results of Zola's experiments he endured when he was held captive with the 107th. Though found by Soviet patrols, it was HYDRA that eventually took custody of the fallen soldier and replaced his missing arm with a cybernetic one. Bucky underwent further experimentation to enhance his body and had his memories of his former life wiped clean in order to make him nothing more than a puppet and eventual weapon in the hands of the newly recreated HYDRA embedded within S.H.I.E.L.D. Subsequently, Bucky was subjected to cryonic preservation.
Bucky would remain frozen for long periods of time until HYDRA saw fit to unfreeze him for certain missions. Over the next seventy years, Bucky would be responsible for countless assassinations including politicians. Due to his expertise in the field and the shadowy nature of his existence, Bucky became something of a ghost story within intelligence agencies, many doubting he even existed. The legend around him would earn him the name of the Winter Soldier.
During his long career as HYDRA's personal assassin, it was heavily implied that the Winter Soldier was responsible for the death of former ally Howard Stark. Years later, he was sent to kill a nuclear scientist and found his target being escorted by Natasha Romanoff. Without hesitation, he attacked his target, sending the nuclear scientist and Natasha over a cliff in their vehicle. Finding that Natasha had saved the target from falling to his death, the Winter Soldier then fired a single round through Romanoff's stomach and into the scientist, killing him. He then made his getaway without pursuit.
Upon crossing paths with Romanoff years later, the Winter Soldier spoke Russian while commanding his subordinates to command them to leave him to pursue her alone. This, along with the Red Star on his arm, implies that the Winter Soldier indeed spent some time in the service of the Soviet Union during his career. As Zola stated: HYDRA had been shaping world history, making it probable that HYDRA had infiltrated many governments in addition to the United States.
During WWII, the Soviet Union and America were known as the two 'superpowers'. It can be assumed that HYDRA infiltrated the KGB much like they did SHIELD, and that the Winter Soldier was transferred to Alexander Pierce's command following the dissolution of the USSR.
In a deleted scene from the film, Bucky Barnes' file is among the ones viewed by Steve. Oddly enough, he is reported as "Missing in Action", implying that S.H.I.E.L.D. thinks he may still be alive.
S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel Skye and Grant Ward see Barnes' name on a wall in a memorial to those who were killed in action. As Barnes was assumed killed before the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D; it can be presumed he received posthumous honours.
- "Most of the intelligence community doesn't believe he exists, but the ones that do call him The Winter Soldier. He's a ghost, you'll never find him."
- ―Natasha Romanoff to Steve Rogers[src]
The Winter Soldier was activated and sent out to assassinate Nick Fury when the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. began to investigate Project Insight. During an intense car chase in Washington D.C. between Fury and a rogue tactical unit masquerading as D.C. Metropolitan Police, the Winter Soldier appeared in the middle of the street, armed with a magnetic disk grenade launcher which he fired at Fury's SUV. Upon arriving at the wrecked vehicle, intending to kill Fury, the Winter Soldier discovered that Fury had escaped into the sewers. Later that night, the Winter Soldier gunned Fury down at Steve Rogers' apartment from a nearby rooftop. As the Winter Soldier attempted to flee into the night, Rogers chased after him and threw his shield at him. However, he caught the weapon and threw it back at Steve, before vanishing into the night.
When Rogers and Natasha Romanoff became a troublesome threat, Brock Rumlow requested assistance from "the asset." The Winter Soldier arrived at the residential home of Alexander Pierce who ordered for Rogers' and Romanoff's immediate termination. The Winter Soldier then proceeded to track them down when they, with the help of Sam Wilson, kidnapped Agent Jasper Sitwell who they were transporting on the highway. Using his enhanced strength, the Winter Soldier pulled Sitwell out the window and threw him into oncoming traffic where a truck ran him over and killed him.
While holding onto the roof of the car, The Winter Soldier fired his gun into the roof and when the brakes kicked in, he was thrown clear across into the pavement, but used his metal arm and acrobatics to stabilize his landing and slide to a stop. He then stood up without a scratch on him. When Wilson tried to run him over, he simply leapt on top of the car once again and ripped the steering wheel out through the windshield. Romanoff fired at him, but he leaped onto his humvee which was tailing close behind. The henchman driving the humvee rear ended the heroes' car, and they jumped out right before it lost control and flipped over, Rogers uses the car door to protect them from being torn up by the road. The Winter Soldier then fired a grenade at Romanoff, but Rogers pushed her out of the way and used his shield to deflect it, sending him flying off the bridge and onto the streets below right into a bus.
The Winter Soldier, aided by his own crew of mercenaries, advanced on Romanoff and Wilson, with the henchmen firing their guns. Romanoff ran for cover, but the Winter Soldier fired his grenade launcher at a nearby car. It exploded, sending Romanoff over the edge, but she saved herself with a grapple gun. While running, she saw the Winter Soldier's shadow on the pavement from under the bridge and then went in a different direction to catch him off guard, firing at him several times when his attention was elsewhere. One of her shots hit the upper part of his mask and broke his goggles.
Silently enraged, the Winter Soldier exchanged blind fire with Romanoff before she ran away. Then, he ordered his men to kill Rogers while he dealt with her personally. He jumped off the bridge and onto a car, followed by some of his men who used wires to lower themselves instead. He saw Rogers and fired at him, but lost him. He then heard Romanoff's voice coming from behind a parked car and rolled a grenade to the curb. The car was destroyed, but her voice was just a recording, a distraction for the Winter Soldier. Romanoff leapt on top of him from behind and the two engaged in combat. She ran and threw a taser disc at his bionic arm. The Winter Soldier furiously detached the disc and pursued her, then shot Romanoff through the shoulder from afar. He advanced on her, about to finish her once and for all, but Rogers intervened and the two exchanged blows.
After an intense fight, Rogers ripped off the Winter Soldier's mask and instantly recognized his best friend. Petrified, he exclaimed, "Bucky?", to which the Winter Soldier responded, "Who the hell is Bucky?" He was about to shoot Rogers but was knocked down by Wilson. When he got up again, he hesitated for a split second before aiming his gun at Rogers again. But an injured, but still strong Romanoff fired at the Winter Soldier with his grenade launcher, but missed. As the Strike team arrived to arrest the heroes, the Winter Soldier disappeared.
That night, as the Winter Soldier was being prepared for his next mission, he started to remember fragments of his past: falling off of the train, being found by Dr. Zola, and receiving his bionic arm. His mind having snapped from the flashbacks, the Winter Soldier threw a doctor across the room. Alexander Pierce was summoned and the Winter Soldier started to question him about Rogers. But Pierce told him that Rogers was a mission and that he needed to do his part. When the Winter Soldier still insisted he knew Rogers, Pierce ordered for his mind to be wiped again to ensure his cooperation. As the mind wiping process began, the Winter Soldier screamed in agony.
Fully reprogrammed, The Winter Soldier reappeared at the Triskelion loading bay preventing S.H.I.E.L.D. agents from aiding Captain America in his mission to take down the three Insight Helicarriers. He took control of a Quinjet and landed on Helicarrier Charlie where he ambushed Sam Wilson and Rogers, he used a grappling hook to break apart one of Falcon's wings and kicked him off the platform of the Helicarrier.
Then he went after Rogers, confronting him on the deck blocking his path from the Helicarrier's Target System chip centre. Rogers attempted to plead with his best friend to remember who he was, and that they were not enemies. As The Winter Soldier proceeded to attack Rogers furiously in hand-to hand combat, Rogers tried his best to fend him off and detain him without seriously hurting him until he obtained the targeting chip.
Trying to obtain the targeting chip from The Winter Soldier and forcing him to release it from his hand, Rogers broke Bucky's human arm and had his legs in a submission lock as he began to choke him. Finally releasing the chip from his grasp by rendering The Winter Soldier unconscious, Rogers quickly raced up to the control targeting chip station. However, The Winter Soldier regained consciousness quicker than normal and shot him multiple times from afar, severely wounding him. In spite of the wounds, Rogers managed to swap the Data Chips, causing the three helicarriers to target each other instead. Then he told S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill to engage fire even with himself still aboard one.
As the Carrier began to fall apart in mid-air, the Winter Soldier became trapped under a steel foot column. A badly injured Rogers made his way to him, and with all of the remaining strength he could muster lifted the column, allowing The Winter Soldier to be freed. Rogers again pleaded with him to remember who he was, and told him his name is James Buchanan Barnes, and that he has known him his whole life. Rogers let his shield drop to the water below, refusing to fight. The Winter Soldier refused to listen, and violently began beating Rogers' face into a bloody mess, stating he's only a mission. Rogers then quoted something Bucky had once said to him years ago when his mother had died: "I'm with you to the end of the line." These words restored small pieces of Bucky's memories, enough to believe Rogers, just in time to save him after he plummeted into the water below. With his enhanced bionic arm, he dragged Rogers to a nearby shore. Then, filled with internal conflict, Bucky left, knowing Steve would survive.
Later, disguised in civilian clothing, Bucky resurfaced at the Smithsonian, viewing the Captain America exhibition. He read a memorial in his honor, A Fallen Comrade. Finally seeing the reality of his identity, Bucky realized that Steve had told him the truth about his past.
Steve joined the other Avengers, with Sam Wilson and James Rhodes for a party to celebrate their victory over HYDRA at Avengers Tower. Rogers and Wilson discussed working together and their continued search for Bucky.
Ant-Man (post-credit)/Captain America: Civil War
- "I don't do that anymore."
- ―Bucky Barnes[src]
Realizing the sins he committed whilst he was brainwashed by HYDRA, Barnes goes on the run from the government and other interested parties. Later, Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson eventually managed to track Barnes down to a remote location and find him with his cybernetic arm trapped in a vice, leaving him defenseless and unable to continue fighting. Unable to run Barnes accepted defeat and sat silently awaiting his fate. Rogers asked if Bucky now knows who Rogers is, and Barnes replied that Rogers' mother was Sarah Rogers. Rogers and Wilson discussed the situation, noting that they would not inform Tony Stark of Barnes' capture and that Wilson knew a guy who could assist them.
Bucky Barnes aka Winter Soldier reappears, this time with more memories of the past solidifying and hopefully counteracting his dangerous programming and unstoppable nature. He trusts Steve and though he has no skin in the game of Avenger vs. Avenger, he allies with Captain America against Iron Man for his own redemption and to reclaim his original identity as Bucky Barnes.
Bucky is a loyal and brave man, an honest person and a good soldier. He firmly believes in the duty of protecting his country, and is eager to test his own value. Bucky shares a very close friendship with Steve Rogers, who he has always protected from bullies. But thanks to Zola's experiments and HYDRA's brainwashing, Bucky became their master assassin known as The Winter Soldier. Without a doubt, The Winter Soldier is one of the deadliest men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He is credited with over two dozen assassinations as stated by Natasha Romanoff. He will not stop until his mission is accomplished. He will eliminate his target without hesitancy or remorse. He was normally extremely calm and reserved in life-threatening situations, but he is capable of violent rages, shown especially when he became confused why Steve kept calling him by his real name, which he didn't know at the time and for the first time he lost control of his emotions. Given that Bucky was in a brainwashed mentality for seven decades, it seems that he was mentally unconscious of his wrongdoings.
Bucky is a highly trained soldier, an expert fighter and a talented marksman. In battle, he uses canonical firearms, and most of all as a sniper, Bucky is an expert on sniping. As The Winter Soldier, Bucky is highly skilled in all forms of hand-to-hand combat. He is skilled with all types of firearms and bombs, and is a master knife fighter and expert marksman. His entire left arm has been rebuilt by HYDRA, making it cybernetic, which has granted him enhanced strength.
Powers and Abilities
Surviving the fall from Zola's train, Bucky was found by HYDRA agents. Some time later, Bucky's memory was wiped by HYDRA scientists, and was given some form of the Super Soldier Serum, that affected his tissue strength and physical capabilities. Working underneath S.H.I.E.L.D.'s nose, Bucky underwent further experimentation at the hands of Arnim Zola and various other doctors to become HYDRA's secret weapon, "The Winter Soldier".
Winter Soldier Abilities
- Enhanced Strength: The Winter Soldier's physical strength is enhanced to the very peak of human potential, on par with that of Captain America's. He has used his legs and flesh arm to send other flying through the air in a display of strength that far surpasses normal humans. HYDRA also removed the remnants of his severed left arm and replaced the missing limb with a cybernetic one. The bionic arm has physical strength superior to that of Steve's and comparable to that of Iron Man, enough that he could smash rock and crush metal with ease. The Winter Soldier was able to rip open an armored SUV and effortlessly threw Jasper Sitwell from a moving car into an oncoming truck.
- Enhanced Durability: The Winter Soldier's bones and muscles are denser and harder than even Captain America, which makes him very durable compared to a normal human. Zola's experiments fortified his form to the extent that he survived a high fall in the Eastern Alps that would have been fatal to an ordinary man, and possibly Captain America himself. The Winter Soldier was able to leap off a bridge to the top of a car below, crushing in the roof and shattering the windows while he was unfazed by the landing.
- Peak Human Speed: The Winter Soldier can run and move at speeds that are superior of a normal human. The Winter Soldier's speed is also comparable to Steve's, who had difficulty catching up to him.
- Peak Human Stamina: The Winter Soldier's musculature produces less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of an ordinary human.
- Peak Human Agility: The Winter Soldier's reflexes, coordination, balance agility are superior to an ordinary human. When Steve throws his shield at him while he was chasing after him, he easily catches it with his cybernetic arm and throws it back at him. The Winter Soldier was able to dodge gunfire from Sam Wilson's machine gun pistols.
- Accelerated Healing: The Winter Soldier regenerates damaged tissue at high speeds. This also extends his health & youth. Despite the fact that the his healing factor helped him survive the fall from the Swiss Alps, he is unable to regenerate missing/severed limbs.
- Slowed Aging Process: Extended periods of cryonic preservation (potentially aided by his rapid cell regeneration) has slowed Bucky's overall ageing process. Despite being in his late nineties, he continues to retain the physical condition and appearance of an average man in his late twenties. He was in the same age group during the events of Captain America: The First Avenger.
- Master Combatant: Receiving vast training from HYDRA, Bucky became a master assassin that can even rival a Super Soldier. The two engaged in a brutal one-on-one fight, both rivaling each other with every move. The Winter Soldier also single-handedly killed up to a dozen well-armed Quinjet pilots in a single encounter and escaped uninjured. During both fights with Captain America, the Winter Soldier displayed an extremely precise, brutal and murderous style of combat and combined the use of firearms and knives with close-range physical attacks. He was, though, intelligent in a fight, shown by his calculative decision to remove the Vibranium shield from the equation when fighting Captain America, or else use his own weapon against him.
- Expert Marksman: The Winter Soldier fired a single round through Natasha Romanoff's stomach and into a nuclear scientist, that she was protecting, effectively killing him. The Winter Soldier is also capable of making long range shots without the use of a rifle, for example shooting Nick Fury multiple times through the wall of Steve's apartment and from the top of another building.
- Expert Pilot: The Winter Soldier was able to "hijack" a Quinjet after killing the pilot.
Over seven decades of constant mind control and manipulation from HYDRA, there is no way to tell how much damage has been done to Bucky's mind. During Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when Pierce demands that the Winter Soldier's mind is to be completely wiped clean again after he started to remember Steve slightly, we are shown just how painful the procedure is. He is strapped into a chair, and is given a mouthguard before highly advanced electrical equipment is put on his head and electrocutes his brain, causing him unbearable pain. This procedure was probably inflicted upon Bucky anytime HYDRA believed he started to remember any trace of his former life. It is also possible that this could have damaged his brain due to his brief catatonic states, only reacting to violence and displaying little emotion when it comes to his missions.
- Uniform: HYDRA designed a lightweight tactical suit for Bucky, attempting to conceal his true identity from the world. The uniform is constructed from nomex thread and kevlar fiber. The lightweight suit is entirely bullet proof to small arms fire, and has advanced flexibility for close quarters combat.
- Weaponry: The uniform has a vast array of weapons for combat. The main weapons are dual knives, a submachine gun and a handgun. The Winter Soldier also carries extra weapons that the mission may require, including grenades, a grenade launcher, a gun that launches magnetic bombs and an assault rifle with a grenade launcher attached.
- Steve Rogers/Captain America - Best friend turned unwilling enemy; turned friend (upon rescuing Steve).
- Howling Commandos - World War II allies.
- Strategic Scientific Reserve - World War II allies.
- KGB - Former allies
- HYDRA - Enemies/former allies
- Alexander Pierce - Former commander and handler.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (4 films)
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (1 TV series)
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (3 comic)
- Captain America: First Vengeance (First appearance)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron Prelude - This Scepter'd Isle
- Avengers: Operation HYDRA (Photograph only)
Behind the scenes
- Sebastian Stan was considered for the role of Captain America, but got the role of Bucky instead.
- Bucky's uniform from Captain America: The First Avenger is based on his original and his codename The Winter Soldier.
- About the role, Stan stated, "Steve Rogers and Bucky are both orphans and kind of like brothers. They kind of grow up together and look after each other. It's a very human, relatable thing.... I also wanted to look out for how their relationship changes once Steve Rogers becomes Captain America. There's always a competition and they're always one-upping each other. I paid attention to how Bucky is affected by Steve's change and suddenly Steve is this leader".
- When Steve finds Bucky hooked up to machines in Arnim Zola's HYDRA Lab and Bucky is in a sort of trance. These experiments allowed him to survive his fall.
- Though Bucky was a HYDRA asset in the film, his body was recovered by Soviet officers. Given the fact he uses Russian weaponry and spoke Russian while pursuing Black Widow; it can be presumed at some point HYDRA infiltrated the KGB like they had done with SHIELD. This is supported by Arnim Zola's reveal that HYDRA had infiltrated many governments and manipulated world history. In the wake of WWII both the United States and the Soviet Union were the two greatest powers, making it logical that sleeper cells would lay within both.
- To prepare for the role of the Winter Soldier, 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."
- Stan also went through rigorous fight and weapons training. He took a lot of good-natured ribbing from his friends because he would walk around all day practicing his moves with a plastic knife because he wanted his movements to feel natural.
- 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 Rogers, often having defended him from bullies. Fifty-seven years after Rogers fell into the ocean and shortly after Rogers was revived, Bucky had become an aging, cancer-ridden veteran and had married Rogers' wartime girlfriend.
- Bucky's codename is Winter Soldier, much like his older self in the comics.
- In the comics, Bucky wears a mask, and his identity is a secret.
- Bucky used Captain America's shield in Captain America: The First Avenger while on Zola's train. This is a reference to Bucky Barnes becoming the new Captain America in the comics when Rogers fell into the ocean.
- 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 (Bucky Barnes) is able to match Captain America (Steve Rogers) move by move, even to the point of catching Rogers' shield. This foreshadows Barnes taking over as Captain America (which happened in the comics).
- The Winter Soldier creator Ed Brubaker appears in a cameo as a scientist during Bucky's transformation as Winter Solider.
- According to his Smithsonian biography, Bucky's birth date is either 1916 or 1917, making him one or two years older than Steve. However, his 'death date' was listed as 1944, given that he was assumed deceased after falling from Zola's Train. Ironically, in the post-credits scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Bucky visits the exhibit, reading his biography, despite the fact that it still states he died.
- Bucky and Peggy Carter are the only two characters from the first film besides Steve who are known to still be living in the present-day.
- Bucky's Winter Soldier look from the film will be re-designed in the comics.
- See: James Barnes/Gallery
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