Spoilers for all works set prior to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame are unmarked.
Sergeant James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes, US Army / The Winter Soldier / White Wolf
Birth Name: James Buchanan Barnes
Known Aliases: The Winter Soldier, White Wolf
Species: Enhanced human
Citizenship: American, Wakandan (temporarily)
Affiliation(s): US Army, Howling Commandos, HYDRA, Winter Soldiers, Avengers, Wakanda
Portrayed By: Sebastian Stan
Voiced By: Irwin Daayán [Captain America: The First Avenger to Avengers: Endgame], Luis Leonardo Suárez [The Falcon and the Winter Soldier] (Latin-American Spanish dub), David Jenner (European Spanish dub), Mitsuru Shiraishi (Japanese dub), Axel Kiener (European French dub), Nicholas Savard L'Herbier (Canadian French dub), Marcos Souza (Brazilian Portuguese dub)
Appearances: Captain America: The First Avenger | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Ant-Man note | Captain America: Civil War | Black Panther note | Avengers: Infinity War | Avengers: Endgame | The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes was born on March 10th, 1917 in Shelbyville, Indiana. He is Steve Rogers's best and oldest friend. Companions since childhood, Bucky would often come to Steve's rescue by fending off bullies and offering him a place to stay. Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the two of them enlisted, and Bucky was accepted into the Army while Steve was constantly rejected.
Bucky Barnes became a Sergeant in the 107th Infantry, but his unit was captured by the Red Skull's HYDRA forces, and made the subject of lab experiments by Dr. Zola. Bucky was then rescued by none other than his old friend Steve, now the fit and able-bodied Captain America. Along with several other POWs rescued from the HYDRA base, Bucky and Steve formed a special ops assault group, the Howling Commandos.
After falling off a train and being found by HYDRA, he was brainwashed and turned into their foremost assassin, the Winter Soldier. Over the following decades, he gained a reputation as a mysterious and deadly force with strength and cunning to match Steve Rogers' own. The Winter Soldier is rumored to have been responsible for dozens of assassinations that changed the course of history. During Rogers' new career in the modern day, the Soldier is assigned a few new targets: Director Nick Fury, then Captain America and Black Widow as they investigate the conspiracy within S.H.I.E.L.D.
After conflict with both Captain America and the Avengers, Barnes was able to be freed of his brainwashing thanks to the assistance of Wakanda.
- Adaptational Badass:
- The comic book Winter Soldier is a Badass Normal with a metal arm who later attained something close to slowed aging thanks to Nick Fury. Here, he's explicitly superhuman, and is able to keep pace with other powered individuals, including the super strong and fast Captain America, Spider-Man and Black Panther.
- This also extends to his robotic arm. In the comics, how often the arm gets damaged or destroyed has become a running joke; here, however, it's only torn off by a direct hit from Iron Man's Chest Blaster. Bucky later receives a vibranium replacement from T'Challa, meaning it's the next best thing to indestructible.
- Adaptation Deviation: MCU Bucky is a noticeably different character from the main comics incarnation of the character, even accounting for some elements that were changed early on (namely, his age and relationship with Steve), which mostly stems from the different approaches taken with the Winter Soldier stuff. Comics Bucky immediately took to trying to redeem himself once his memories returned, working alongside Nick Fury and later Steve Rogers, before Steve's death led to Bucky becoming Captain America to honour his mentor and redeem himself, later taking on an active role in the superhero community. MCU Bucky is much more reluctant to fight after his time as a villain, and is portrayed more as a man tired of fighting who wants to keep to himself, and as such is much less involved in the world of superheroes.
- Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In the comics, Bucky and Steve don't meet until after Steve is given the serum. They're still best friends, but there's a clear older brother/younger brother dynamic, with Steve as both a role model and mentor and Bucky the sidekick. In the original 1940s comics, their dynamic was very similar to the father/son-but-not-quite relationship between the contemporary Batman and Robin, but modern comics (read: Ed Brubaker) shortened their age gap to four years — giving Bucky the Age Lift that made him more of a partner than a sidekick, but still preserving the power dynamics. In the movies, they're closer in age and childhood friends, eliminating the Kid Sidekick trope and saving the writers from having to cram in a subplot about how they met, but this change also has the added benefit of giving skinny Steve someone who has always believed in and stuck by him. "Even when I had nothing, I had Bucky," was not something Steve could have said in the comics, no matter how much he values his friend.
- Adapted Out: Much of Winter Soldier's background introduced in his comic debut has been cut or exchanged. Aleksander Lukin, his commander, and Vasily Karpov, his creator, are replaced in the film by Alexander Pierce and Arnim Zola, respectively. Additionally, this Winter Soldier may or may not have had a romantic relationship with Black Widow (both characters are very secretive and ambiguous, so who knows) and his Russian ties are mostly all diversions from his actual ownership by HYDRA within America. However, Karpov appears in Civil War as his primary controller back in the 80's/90's and the man who ran the HYDRA facility in Siberia.
- Advertised Extra: Bucky was featured in most of the later marketing for Infinity War. Despite this, he has only 2 minutes of screentime (less than Wong) and doesn't really get to do much in the film, until he becomes the Sacrificial Lion to demonstrate that none of the major good guys are safe from the aftermath of Thanos's Bad Ass Finger Snap.
- Age Lift: Around the same age as Steve instead of starting out as his Kid Sidekick like in the comics. Different birth years on props add confusion to how old he is exactly: the Captain America exhibition appearing in The Winter Soldier has both 1916 and 1917, while files from a scene in Age of Ultron have 1922 (his birth year from Ed Brubaker's Captain America comics). Civil War officially confirms that his birth year is 1917.
- Alliterative Name:
- Middle and last names start with a B (James Buchanan Barnes). Typically shortened to Bucky Barnes.
- White Wolf.
- AM/FM Characterization: Conversed in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, where both Sam and Zemo tease Bucky for disliking Marvin Gaye, in favor of only listening to music from The '40s.
- Ambiguously Bi:
- While Bucky generally treats Steve as Heterosexual Life-Partners throughout The First Avenger, the Suspiciously Apropos Music that plays in the background of one scene that takes place in a bar is a song about a woman whose lover left her for another. The Homoerotic Subtext caused by the song's lyrics implies that Bucky might have an unrequited crush on Steve, and that the real reason he's upset because he thinks Steve is cheating on him with Peggy.
- In Episode 1 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier he mentions attempting online dating and complains about running into a lot of "tiger photos". "Tiger photos" are a Tinder and Grindr meme overwhelmingly associated with men's profiles.
- In episode 3 Sharon criticizes Bucky's devotion to Steve by calling him "Mr. America", and immediately follows it up by calling him "Cap's best friend", with her mocking lip bite right afterwards suggesting that she's being sarcastic. One of the implications of her comment is an insinuation that he's biased due to having a crush on Steve and that he fancies himself Captain America's husband. While it's implied in context that part of it is Sharon projecting her frustrations over her own failed romance with Steve onto Bucky, and Bucky is insulted by her comments, he doesn't deny her accusation either.
- Animal Motifs: When he lived in Wakanda he got nicknamed White Wolf on account of his intense stare, which gets lampshaded by Falcon a fair bit.
- Antagonist Title: The subtitle of the first film in Captain America's trilogy referred to Steve. The second time, Winter Soldier takes the honor.
- Artificial Limbs:
- His left arm is a cybernetic replacement with the Soviet red star engraved onto it. It's a very durable prosthetic that's bulletproof, withstands Cap's steel-slicing shield, and recovers in a few seconds from Black Widow's electro-dart that could knock out a grown man. Winter Soldier also uses it subtly differently from his human arm; the flesh one is used for quick, precise uses like knife fights, while the metal one is used for power attacks since it takes at least a second to pull back then punch. A closer look reveals Winter Soldier has some metal enhancement going into his shoulder and ribs, so that his body is strong enough to keep his heavy arm attached. Even so, it's not completely invulnerable, as Isaiah Bradley managed to cut off a good chunk of it in the 1950s.
- After the loss of the red star arm against Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War, T'Challa offers Bucky a new arm that's made of vibranium just before the battle of Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War. A black and gold-engraved one at that. After Bucky gets dusted at the end of the movie, his new arm goes with him, though he gets it back after his resurrection. Wakandans know how to easily disable it, as demonstrated by Ayo in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
- The Atoner: After starting to regain his memories, Bucky joins Captain America's side so that he can bring Helmut Zemo and the other Winter Soldiers down. He also shows extreme guilt and remorse for the crimes he's committed (including the murder of Howard and Maria Stark) and comes to the realization that everyone would be better off and much safer if he goes back into cryofreeze so that he can be cured of his HYDRA brainwashing. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier shows that he's keeping a list of people to make amends to, which includes those who benefitted from his crimes as well as innocents that he hurt.
- Ax-Crazy: A high-functioning example. As the Winter Soldier, Bucky is a highly efficient, focused killing machine with all personality brainwashed away. If he stays out of cryofreeze too long or encounters an old friend, he starts remembering fragments of who he was and acting erratically.
- Back from the Dead:
- Subverted in Captain America: Winter Soldier, since he never died, but was captured by HYDRA instead.
- Played straight in Avengers: Endgame where he is one of many characters who are brought back from being dusted by Hulk reversing Thanos' deadly fingersnap from Avengers: Infinity War.
- Back in the Saddle: Returns to action for the final battle in Infinity War. When T'Challa presents him with a new arm, his only reaction is "Where's the fight?"
- Badass Biker:
- In Captain America: Civil War, while being followed in a high-speed car chase, we see Bucky hijack a motorcycle mid-air and attempt to flee with it while simultaneously fighting off attackers like Black Panther.
- Later, in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he is seen riding a bike through the streets of New York in order to stop the Flag Smashers.
- Badass in Distress:
- Gets captured by HYDRA along with several hundred other allied soldiers, prompting a rescue by Steve and catapulting the latter from chorus girl to Living Legend.
- Although he himself doesn't know it, he's actually been HYDRA's prisoner for 70 years. Any time he starts to become even remotely aware of this fact, they wipe his mind.
- In Civil War, he gets framed for a terrorist attack and spends most of the movie either on the run or in custody.
- Bad Bedroom, Bad Life: His apartment is extremely spartan and lacking in furniture, reflecting his loneliness and crippling self-worth issues.
- Bad Dreams: In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he suffers from nightmares about his previous exploits as the Winter Soldier. He is very distraught about the Soldier's innocent victims.
- Barbarian Longhair: Once he becomes the Winter Soldier, Bucky's hair grows out to be long and somewhat disheveled, matching his muscular physique. He gets a haircut and returns to a style closely resembling a modernized version of the one he had back in the forties for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
- Bash Brothers:
- Cap and Bucky; childhood friends, war buddies, and on the run together in Civil War. No mook or superhero can take down the pair of them.
- Starting from Civil War and leading up to the events of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he and Sam Wilson are shaping up to be this as well, albeit with a healthy side-dish of being Vitriolic Best Buds.
- Been There, Shaped History: HYDRA used Bucky to shape the current era of paranoia that the world of espionage is today in order to achieve their own objective in convincing the world to reject The Evils of Free Will. He's also the assassin HYDRA used to kill Howard and Maria Stark.
- Berserk Button:
- As the Winter Soldier, he doesn't take kindly to setbacks — such as Natasha shooting his goggles in Winter Soldier, or Steve keeping him from getting away in a helicopter in Civil War — and reacts with anger and vindictiveness.
- He also loses his cool when Steve reminds him that The Winter Soldier is a person with a name and a life outside of being a living weapon.
- In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he is pissed when the new Captain America John Walker tells an interviewer that he feels like he and Steve are practically brothers, especially since he never actually met the guy.
- Don't touch or read his journal, especially ones that look like the trigger books used by HYDRA agents to activate his Winter Soldier conditioning. When Zemo starts reading it, he chokes him in a fit of rage and warns him to not do it again.
- Big Brother Instinct: Had this towards Steve before he took the serum. Bucky was very protective towards Steve and constantly looked out for him, especially when other people would bully him or pick on him.
- Big Brother Mentor: Before Steve became all ripped from the serum, Bucky has constantly looked out and encouraged the physically weak Steve since their childhood.
- Blood Knight: Once he is deprogrammed after the end of Civil War, he spends his time on a Wakandan farm until Thanos comes knocking, and is resigned about going back into combat when T'Challa brings him a new arm. In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he claims that he would prefer to live in peace after all the conflict he's been through, but his therapist states that he actually wants to throw himself into action for a good cause. Similarly to Steve, he's become reliant on fighting enemies in order to cope with the losses, trauma and loneliness. Bucky quickly proves that she is right and he is much more combat-willing than Sam, who tries to solve probelms diplomatically, be it avenging his misdeeds as the Winter Soldier, stopping the Flag Smashers, or fighting with John Walker after inititally opposing him.
- Blue Is Heroic: His outfit as one of the Howling Commandos features blue prominently, but after becoming the Winter Soldier he dresses mostly in black. Once he's cured of his brainwashing, he starts wearing more blue, albeit mostly muted tones to indicate his Anti-Hero status. His costumes in Infinity War and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier are the two most popular examples of this.
- Boobs-and-Butt Pose: His official poster for Infinity War is a Rare Male Example. His best friend Steve Rogers got a similar poster as well.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: His memories are constantly wiped to make sure he stays an emotionless killer.
- Break the Cutie: Bucky is introduced in the first film as a very friendly and cheerful Genki Guy at first. He then goes through so much trauma due to his brainwashing and all of the horrible stuff he commits as a HYDRA assassin that it's hard to tell that he's the same guy that he was before.
- Broken Bird:
- Downplayed in The First Avenger, where he starts off as friendly and supportive, but is then captured by HYDRA, and while his cheerful demeanor doesn't go away entirely, he's noticeably less chipper in the aftermath of whatever Cold-Blooded Torture Zola puts him through.
- After his transformation into the Winter Soldier his breaking and the consequences thereof are on full display. By the time of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier he's seeing a therapist, but he's deeply withdrawn and still struggles with nightmares due to his trauma.
- Brought Down to Badass: As the Winter Soldier he was able to match Cap and Black Panther blow for blow. However, without his Winter Soldier mental programming, he lacks the implacable determination, resistance to pain, and ruthless killing efficiency that made him such an unstoppable assassin. Once he regains his senses as Bucky he sometimes has trouble against opponents with comparable powers, but nevertheless he's still an extremely effective combatant, given that he retains all of his physical traits.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Subverted. Tony claims this is the case, but once Bucky regains his memories he still remembers everyone he ever killed while under HYDRA control, including Iron Man's parents. Once he has his brainwashing removed, he writes down a list of all the wrongdoings he committed as the Winter Soldier and sets out to atone for all of them.
- Call to Agriculture: His first scene in Infinity War shows him working on a farm in Wakanda, which was his home since Shuri removed his triggers. It doesn't last long though due to the immediate threat of Thanos, and his subsequent return to America in the aftermath.
- Cartesian Karma: In Civil War, Tony fights Steve in the climax because Bucky killed Tony's parents and Tony wants to kill Bucky for it but Steve wants to protect him, arguing that he was brainwashed by HYDRA at the time and, therefore, it wouldn't be just to punish him for something out of his control.
- Celebrity Paradox: Rhodey mentions Hot Tub Time Machine as one of the movies involving time travel in Avengers: Endgame, Bucky's actor Sebastian Stan appears in the movie and Bucky himself reappears after being ressurected by the Hulk.
- Character Tics:
- During combat he sometimes swings his artificial arm around 360 degrees vertically at the shoulder. Possibly this has a practical mechanical purpose that helps it function during heavy use.
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier makes a Running Gag out of his habit of staring coldly at other people.Walker: Does he always just stare like that?Sam: You get used to it.
- Chick Magnet:
- In The First Avenger, he was this back in New York. When he first meets Peggy, however, she ignores him so thoroughly in favor of Steve, he half-jokingly blames it on Steve's newly impressive physique and laments that they've switched places:Bucky: I'm invisible. I'm turning into you. This is a horrible dream.
- He returns to this status in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Leah readily accepts going out on a date with him when Yori asks her out on Bucky's behalf. And when he introduces himself to Sarah, Sam's sister, she returns the greeting with a coy smile (much to Sam's chagrin).
- In The First Avenger, he was this back in New York. When he first meets Peggy, however, she ignores him so thoroughly in favor of Steve, he half-jokingly blames it on Steve's newly impressive physique and laments that they've switched places:
- Classical Anti-Hero: In Civil War, Bucky is very insecure and unsure of himself because of all the horrible things that he did during his tenure as a HYDRA assassin. He's become isolated, jaded, cynical, and hopeless about life in general. After Bucky is free from his brainwashing, regains his memories, and does a HeelFace Turn, he sides with Captain America and becomes The Atoner. Bucky questions Steve on whether hes worth all the commotion that hes causing with the UN, the government, and his fellow Avengers in order to protect him and keep him safe. Steve assures Bucky that what he did as the Winter Soldier was not his fault because he had no choice in the matter. Throughout the film, even though Buckys main motivation is to bring down the Big Bad Helmut Zemo, Bucky is held back by his extreme guilt for the actions he committed as a deadly assassin in the past. Bucky then makes the decision to go back into cryogenic freezing so that he can be cured of his HYDRA programming. Buckys storyline is about overcoming his flaws, hindrances, and fears as well as finding redemption for his past sins.
- Clock King: He manages to orchestrate his plan to break Zemo out perfectly. So perfect that while he was explaining the plan to Sam, Zemo had already enacted the plan and had completed it once Bucky finished explaining.
- Closet Geek:
- He expresses utter fascination for Howard Stark's flying car Captain America: The First Avenger.
- Bucky is in awe of Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War due to its technological advancements and when Thanos' army comes to Wakanda, he remarks how much he loves the place.
- In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we learn that he was able to read The Hobbit back when it first came out. Given that the novel only appeared in North American in 1938, his ability to have acquired a version straight out of the UK is impressive.
- Co-Dragons: With Brock Rumlow, to Alexander Pierce in Winter Soldier. Of the two, the Winter Soldier is much more dangerous, but tends to be held back unless he is needed.
- Cold Sniper:
- While nice to his friends when hanging out he's ruthless while in battle, such as when saving Steve from a HYDRA ambusher by sniping him. The others look impressed by his shot, but Bucky just grimly reloads. According to Sebastian Stan, it's a small foreshadowing of his eventual turn as Winter Soldier, where he pulls off dozens of assassinations that shaped the course of history.
- In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Nick Fury pointedly hides in a windowless corner of Cap's apartment after he first escapes a Winter Soldier attack. Fury never walks in front of an open window before he is shot three times through a solid brick wall; from outside the building, Bucky could see Cap talking to someone, and used Cap's eyeline to calculate where Fury must be in the room and was right. A reversal of a scene where Bucky saves Cap from an attack back in The First Avenger turned into a clever hint about who the Winter Soldier truly is.
- During the fight scenes in Infinity War and Endgame, Bucky is seen taking down Mooks left and right with a cold, calculating expression on his face. However, it's played heroically, due to the fact that the Avengers are up against Thanos' forces, and he's only doing so to prevent them from getting to Vision.
- Combat Pragmatist: The Winter Soldier will take the easy option in a fight if he gets it, no exceptions.
- The Comically Serious: In Civil War his grim demeanor extends even to silly situations.Bucky: Can you move your seat up?
Sam: [equally stone-faced] No.
[Bucky scooches over without breaking character]
- Composite Character:
- Of war-time Kid Sidekick James "Bucky" Barnes and elements from Ultimate Bucky, who was a childhood friend of Steve and accompanied him on missions during World War II .
- Being Steves childhood friend and protector from bullies who was popular with the ladies was taken from Arnie Roth — a devoted friend to pre-serum Steve who was also homosexual.
- Alternatively, as sergeant of the Howling Commandos and the less idealistic NCO to balance out Steve, he's Bucky plus the mainstream, WWII-era Nick Fury, which puts an interesting light on his attempt to kill cinematic, Ultimate-inspired Fury.
- He's given the nickname White Wolf while hiding in Wakanda. In the comics, White Wolf is the codename of a character from Black Panther — T'Challa's adopted brother Hunter, another white male with deep connections to Wakanda and its royal family.
- Cool Uncle: An honorary one towards AJ and Cass Wilson by the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It is a side-effect of becoming their actual uncle's new best friend and helping to fix the family boat. He's seen playing around with them in the show's epilogue.
- Crazy-Prepared: As pointed out in the Blu-ray audio commentary for Civil War, Bucky expected someone to come for him in Bucharest eventually, and had set up his apartment specifically for ambushes. He had also planned escape routes, including how to shake off a helicopter.
- Creepy Monotone: In his Winter Soldier mode, Bucky talks in a very monotone and low voice, unless he is provoked into anger and violence.
- Dark and Troubled Past: His memories of involuntarily serving as HYDRA's foremost assassin take their toll on him.
- Dark Reprise: In the opening of Captain America: Civil War when the Soldier is awakened out of Bucky with the use of a Trigger Phrase, he responds to the Russian HYDRA officer's greeting with the phrase "Ready to comply", spoken in Russian. When Zemo uses the phrase again to awaken the Soldier and cause havoc in the facility he's been locked in, his first (and only) line as the Soldier is "Ready to comply", said again in Russian with the exact same intonation.
- Darth Vader Clone: He was once a good man, but was turned into a black-clad, stoic, masked, and augmented villain and later used as a murdering machine by his superiors. He also comes to blows with his former best friend, who he fought alongside with during wartime. However, he lives following his redemption and becomes an ally of the heroes.
- Deadpan Snarker: During humorous moments, Bucky is very deadpan and snarky. Most of the time, his sarcasm comes out to play in his interactions with Sam.
- Death Glare: His permanent expression in combat as the Winter Soldier. When not fighting, though, he falls to Dull Eyes of Unhappiness.
- Dented Iron: He takes more and more damage from Iron Man in the final fight of Civil War to the point where he starts bleeding from the nose and can't even stand on his own. In Wakanda, he recovers.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Once released from HYDRA's brainwashing and the conditioning that would allow them to repossess control of him, he's completely unsure what to do with his newfound freedom. Lampshaded by his government-mandated therapist who points out he's a free man but notices he has no real life or friends to speak of. She also says that his claim to want "peace" is "bull shit", considering how quickly he moves to help Sam with the Flag-Smashers. His apartment is nigh-empty to show his lack of fulfillment, and he spends most of his time attempting to atone for his past instead of working to build a better future for his own self.
- As the Winter Soldier, he will go to any lengths to take targets down. As recounted by Natasha in his debut film, she was once tasked with helping a target of his get to safety. When he finally cornered them and she tried to shield the man, the Soldier shot through her instead. She survived (albeit with a nasty scar); her client didn't.
- This applies just as much when he's in his right mind. At the climax of Civil War, after being beaten so badly he can't even stand, he manages to distract Tony for the critical moment Steve needs to win.
- Deuteragonist: Of the Captain America films. He is the only character besides Steve to have an active role in all three films, and his character arc contrasts Steve's in many ways. Whereas Steve knows who he is but has no idea how to adapt to the modern world, Bucky has no issue adapting but hasn't got a clue who he is as a person.
- Disney Death: As Bucky Barnes, he appears to die after falling out of a train into an icy chasm below, but he returns as the eponymous assassin in The Winter Soldier.
- Domino Mask: Doesn't wear one, but in some scenes, he has black makeup around his eyes that's painted in a style resembling the domino mask of his comic incarnation.
- Dragon Their Feet: His brainwashing stays in place for a brief few minutes after Pierce has been killed, Steve successfully getting through to him upon the crashing Helicarriers.
- Dramatic Unmask: During their fight on the street, Steve rips off his mask and finds his enemy is actually his childhood best friend.
- The Dreaded: Even Black Widow, who has dealt with some of the toughest people imaginable, is apprehensive of him. And the only person in the entire movie who was able to match him in a fight was Captain America, Living Legend and the guy that Nick Fury literally called the greatest soldier in history. He is one of the greatest assassins in the world who is considered The Spook over the course of several decades, linked to over two dozen assassinations, and yet, in an age of paranoia wherein most of the world is in a surveillance-heavy state, the majority of the intelligence community doesn't believe he even exists.
- Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Most of the time he has this expression in The Winter Soldier, even while on the job. It's less that he's consciously unhappy than that he remembers nothing else.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: He's quite pale, contrasting with his dark hair and black outfit.
- Empowered Badass Normal: He was a mundane, albeit very skilled soldier, but his time with HYDRA lets him fight on par with Captain America and survive seemingly fatal accidents.
- Empty Shell: He spends most of The Winter Soldier this way because his captors are repeatedly, intentionally, agonizingly wiping his memory in order to use him as an unstoppable weapon.
- Enemy Within: When Bucky is in his normal, non-brainwashed phase, he's subdued and reserved. However, when he is activated by trigger words, he becomes Ax-Crazy and violent. The contrast is such that he seems like two people rather than one.
- Establishing Character Moment: He gets two.
- As Bucky, he is introduced as a Cool Big Bro who saves Steve's ass from a bully without breaking a sweat. While he sternly tells Steve off at first for constantly lying on his enlistment forms and getting into fights left and right, his cool facade cracks after a few seconds and the two share a warm hug. He's also seen marveling over Howard's inventions at the Stark Expo, establishing that he has an Endearingly Dorky side as well.
- As the Winter Soldier, he shoots Nick Fury in cold blood using only Steve's eyeline, and is the first person ever in the MCU to No-Sell Steve's iconic shield throw, shocking both Cap and the audience.
- Everyone Has Standards: Despite his frustration with Sam Wilson as a teammate, he's quick to jump to his defense when two white cops racially profile him in Baltimore, and is utterly baffled when the two of them ask him if Sam is "bothering him".
- Evil Counterpart:
- For Captain America, as a seemingly immortal World War II soldier who ended up a villain instead of a hero. The fact that they were best friends deepens the parallel.
- For Black Widow, as they were both brainwashed and abused into becoming killing machines, the only real difference being Natasha getting out before he did.
- Evil Wears Black: His "mysterious assassin" outfit is completely black. This contrasts with the heroic defender, Captain America, whose outfit is still white, blue, and red.
- Extreme Doormat: Despite being one of the most dangerous men alive, the Winter Soldier is completely subservient to HYDRA, barring the occasional freak-out, because his brain is all but fried.
- Fake Arm Disarm: Thrice!
- As the Winter Soldier, he apparently got his arm ripped off by Isaiah Bradley during the Korean War.
- He tries to rip out the Mark 46's arc reactor with his metallic arm in Civil War. Tony teaches him that the reactor doubles as the armor's most powerful weapon and promptly disintegrates the prosthetic arm.
- Ayo uses this method on him as she knew how to deactivate and detach the Wakandan installed arm from its socket. Thankfully, he knew how to reattach it.
- Fallen Hero: Before Bucky did a FaceHeel Turn and was subjected to brainwashing by HYDRA to become a deadly assassin, he was a good, noble, and moral young man who was a soldier that fought on behalf of his country.
- False Flag Operation: It is implied that his cover identity was established by HYDRA to increase the tension that his assassinations brought out between America and Russia during the Cold War. This is enforced by him speaking in Russian to his fellow HYDRA operatives at times, and having the Soviet star on his metal arm.
- Fate Worse than Death: Bucky was brainwashed, experimented on, and forced into spending seven decades as the loyal top assassin of HYDRA, the same organization he fought against. Though he was eventually freed, the guilt he's suffered as a result of being made to murder dozens of people, including his friend Howard Stark, has been extremely traumatic.
- Fauxshadow: At least Once per Episode in each of the Captain America movies, Bucky Barnes wields the shield, suggesting that he'll become the next Captain America. But with Endgame, Steve Rogers hands his shield and title over to Sam Wilson instead. However, Bucky gives Sam his blessing with a nod, and the two already have a history of teaming up, so he's with the next Cap until the end of the line.
- Fauxreigner: Bucky has a Soviet star branding on his mechanical arm, uses old Soviet slugs, and gives orders to henchmen in Russian at one point, but this is merely smoke and mirrors surrounding who he really is and to invoke Dirty Communists stereotypes, useful in the Cold War. He's actually an unwitting American turned into an assassin for HYDRA.
- First Friend: To Steve Rogers. Before Steve became the titular Super Soldier, Bucky was kind and protective of him even when everyone else overlooked or picked on him due to his sickly nature and stunted stature. Steve is the most open about Bucky being his first true friend.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: Not quite as bad as Steve, as he's been in and out of his cryostasis for decades and probably got training to blend in to whatever time periods he was active in. This might explain why he declines to join Steve in going back in time at the end of Endgame, to live out the life he never got.
- Flat-Earth Atheist: He denies the existence of wizards despite having fought alongside Kamar-Taj's sorcerers. He insists that they are sorcerers, but the term is basically the same as wizards.
- Forgotten Friend, New Foe: Steve isn't aware of what Bucky became until the Dramatic Unmask.
- Freak Out: Downplayed. Heroic, jolly Bucky appears in a few early scenes in The First Avenger (and a flashback during Winter Soldier)... and the next time we see him, Steve finds him strapped to a HYDRA operating table. From then on he's much grimmer.
- Friend to All Children: During the post-credits scene in Black Panther, Bucky endears himself to several Wakandan children after he wakes up, and even accepts the "White Wolf" moniker that they give him. In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Bucky gets overly friendly with Sam's nephews AJ and Cass, allowing them to hang off his vibranium arm, and play fights with them on the docks while everyone else is celebrating.
- Friendly Sniper: He's the heroic long shot for the Howling Commandos. Eventually, he's this for the Avengers as well, albeit unofficially.
- Genius Bruiser: While not heavily involved in logistics per se, he's a very competent tracker and strategist, and the Smithsonian exhibit in The Winter Soldier notes him to have been a very good student.
- Genki Guy: Shown to have been an enthusiastic and cheerful person before the war, which makes his more melancholy turn after his rescue from the prison camps that much more noticeable. What If...? (2021) also shows this to be the case, as his Alternate Self there remains a lot more excitable and quippy as a member of the Howling Commandos, due to having been rescued before Zola had a chance to turn him into a human guinea pig.
- Going Native: After being freed from HYDRA's influence, Bucky briefly becomes a farmer in Wakanda, and spends enough time there to learn fluent Xhosa as shown in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. He holds the country up in high regards, as seen in his reaction to Thanos's forces ships exploding against Wakanda's border shields.Bucky: God, I love this place.
- Good Costume Switch: In the post-credits of Civil War, when Bucky and Steve are in a centre in Wakanda, Bucky is wearing all-white clothing (white tank top and white pants). This is an indication that Bucky has done a full-fledged HeelFace Turn and has become The Atoner, shedding the persona of the Soldier.
- Grappling-Hook Pistol: He has one that tucks away into his cybernetic arm. He uses it to tear one of the wings off Sam Wilson's Falcon suit.
- Gun Fu: Very skilled in combat with firearms.
- Guns Akimbo: He does a hilarious version of this in Infinity War: when he encounters Rocket on the battlefield, he doesn't hesitate upon meeting a shooting, talking raccoon, but grabs him by the scruff of his neck and holds him up so he can shoot better, while shooting his own gun with his other hand.
- Guy Liner: Bucky's Domino Mask is replaced with black eye shadow (when they're not Scary Shiny Glasses).
- Handicapped Badass: Lost an arm years ago from his fall in The First Avenger, and got a cybernetic replacement from HYDRA. This is then shot off by Iron Man in Civil War. Both in The Stinger for Black Panther and in his first scene in Infinity War, we see him not wearing a prosthetic at all.
- Headbutting Heroes: With the Falcon. When the two of them are forced to work together in Civil War to help Steve, they make snide remarks to one another whenever they get breathing room. With Steve no longer around to ease tensions between them in their own miniseries, Sam and Bucky are just barely holding it together to deal with the Flag-Smashers, and constantly get into arguments whenever they're in the same room.
- Healing Factor: Just like Cap, Bucky has limited regenerative abilities due to the super soldier variant running in his blood. Like Cap, he can recover from injuries quickly and has a high resistance to disease and toxins though like Cap he, obviously, can't grow back large portions of his body that are removed.
- The Heavy: He's not the primary villain of the show in Winter Soldier; that would be Pierce. Despite that, he's still the villain with the most emotional impact on the plot and the one that takes the most overt action.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: In Civil War, he wants to do what's right, but gets forced back into his Winter Soldier persona by Zemo using a string of trigger words, leading to a confrontation with several Avengers and agents of the Anti-Terror Task Force.
- HeelFace Turn: When he starts showing cracks in his Brainwashed and Crazy absence of personality, his Bucky Barnes memories are immediately erased before he can act outside his mission. The next time the programming fritzes out, it's just in time to prevent him from beating Steve to death so he can then save Steve's life and walk away to find his past.
- Hero Killer: When his superiors really want to kill someone, they send this guy. He puts two rounds through Nick Fury's back, although he gets better. It's revealed in Civil War that he killed Howard and Maria Stark.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Due to his actions as the Winter Soldier, Bucky has become this following his escape from HYDRA. It gets worse when Zemo frames him for the UN bombing. By the time of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he's working to avert this by working with the U.S government to undo some of his work as the Winter Soldier.
- He's Just Hiding!: In-Universe. When Steve is reading files after being thawed in the 21st century, Bucky's fate is listed as MIA, meaning S.H.I.E.L.D. thinks he might still be alive, as they Never Found the Body. The sequel reveals his true fate.
- Heroes Want Redheads: A reminiscence in Civil War reveals he used to be sweet on a redhead named Dolores, possibly as a reference to his in-comic romance with Natasha.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Steve. Word of God states that their relationship is most like that of brothers, despite not being blood-related. Pre-serum, Bucky used to defend Steve from bullies; post-serum, Steve breaks into Nazi strongholds to rescue him. Exemplified in The Winter Soldier, after learning that the titular character is his best friend.Steve: Even when I had nothing — I had Bucky.
- Hidden Depths: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier reveals that he's something of a bookworm, as he tells Sam he read The Hobbit back when it was first published in 1937. He's also a bit of a geek, as he was the one who thought Howard Stark's Expo would be a great double date in the first Captain America movie.
- Human Popsicle: His superiors kept him on ice unless he was needed. At the end of Civil War, he willingly decides to be cryogenically frozen again under Black Panther's protection in Wakanda, until a definitive cure for the latent brainwashed state of his mind is found. By the end of T'Challa's solo movie, he's out of cryo and enjoying some much-deserved peace and quiet.
- Human Weapon: What he was turned into by HYDRA. His fears of his latent mental programming being reactivated cause him to return to cryo-sleep at the end of Civil War.
- I Have Many Names: Is now on his third "identity" — after starting out life as James Barnes and spending his time with HYDRA as the Winter Soldier, he is nicknamed White Wolf while living in Wakanda. To his friends, however, he is still just Bucky.
- Important Haircut: After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Bucky gets a haircut that looks quite reminiscent of his old hairstyle from the 1940s, representing how he's truly free of being the Winter Soldier.
- Implacable Man: The Winter Soldier is relentless when he is let loose. In Winter Soldier, Steve is the only person who can match him. Only his resurfacing memories of his life as Bucky Barnes were capable of hindering the Soldier in his mission, and he only stops trying to kill Steve when Steve calmly ceases fighting back, citing their past relationship. Even that is more the Soldier's confusion than anything else, as he's unable to account for a person who is not "target", "superior", "ally", or "irrelevant". When it happens again in Civil War, he flattens everyone in his way, including Steve, Agent 13, Black Widow, Tony Stark (albeit only with an Iron Man gauntlet), and T'Challa.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: When he ambushes Fury, he presumably figured out Steve's sightline and shot Fury blindly through a wall. An exterior brick wall, which means he also worked out the deflection.
- Improvised Weapon User: During the fight in his hideout in Bucharest, he uses pretty much everything to keep his attackers at bay — including a mattress, parts of a shelf, a door, a battering ram, Captain America, his attackers...
- Innocently Insensitive: Being a white guy who grew up in the early 1900s, he's not fully aware of the more subtle forms of racism African Americans face in the modern day, even though he's shown to be racially tolerant. Thus he ends up saying or doing a lot of things without understanding the pain it causes them, especially towards Sam.
- Insult of Endearment: He calls Steve a "punk" multiple times, though it's obviously out of affection for his best friend rather than malicious intent.
- Intergenerational Friendship: He forms a friendship with Yori Nakajima, a physically older man, due to his guilt over killing the man's son. Despite appearing to be the younger of the two, Bucky is the older party, chronologically speaking.
- It's All My Fault: He holds himself responsible for everything he did in his 70 years as the Winter Soldier.Steve: What you did all those years... it wasn't you. You didn't have a choice.
Bucky: I know. But I did it.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Fairly rude and blunt after losing his brainwashing and attempting to reintegrate into modern society, but he's also empathetic and has a strong moral compass.
- Knife Nut: Winter Soldier shows him using some intricate knife-handling skills, which reappear in Falcon and the Winter Soldier when he comprehensively outclasses a knife-wielding Flag-Smasher. He prefers to wield his combat knife in Reverse Grip.
- Knight of Cerebus: While other villains in the MCU have their humorous moments, the Winter Soldier has none. His powers aren't particularly outlandish either, but whenever he shows up, expect a tide of death and destruction to follow his wake. This is also in contrast to Captain America, who's characterized as a Hope Bringer.
- Knight in Sour Armor: In Infinity War he's tired of fighting and reluctant to rejoin the battlefield, but does so to help protect the galaxy from Thanos.
- Kubrick Stare: As the Winter Soldier, he would often give his enemies this along with a Death Glare, which makes him all the more menacing, threatening, and intimidating. In Falcon and the Winter Soldier, his habit of doing this becomes a Running Gag.
- Last of His Kind: Due to Helmut Zemo killing the remaining ones in their cryosleep in Civil War, Bucky is the only Winter Soldier left in existence. That is, until more super soldiers show up in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
- Leave No Witnesses: When carrying out assassinations, HYDRA programmed him to kill anyone unfortunate enough to watch his reign of terror, civillian or not, to preserve the secret of his existence. Among one of these people is Yori Nakajima's son, which he finds one of the hardest things to make up for in his atonement.
- Leitmotif: He has his own theme, titled "The Winter Soldier". For Jump Scare appearances, he has a distinctive screech to mark his arrival.
- Licked by the Dog: During the post-credits scene of Black Panther, several Wakandan children take a liking to Bucky and are noted to frequently play with and tease him. It's a touching moment that reminds us what kind of person Bucky is without the murderous assassin that was programmed into his brain. Sam's nephews are also fond of him, and he's similarly fond to them back as a sign of his good nature.
- Lightning Bruiser: He's extremely fast and agile and is also very strong and resilient. His strength and resilience are just about equal to Steve's while he is potentially even better in terms of speed and agility.
- Living Emotional Crutch: According to his actor, Steve is the only reason why he hasn't put a bullet through his skull yet for the guilt over the crimes he committed as the Winter Soldier. He knows how far his best friend is willing to go for him, and the trouble he causes around him, hence he stays away so he won't cause Steve any more pain. At the same time, however, he recognizes that if he were to permanently remove himself from Steve's life now that Steve knows he's alive, it would only hurt Steve beyond recovery. Continues to be the case as of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier even after Steve has already left his life, as he gets extremely protective of Steve's name and legacy due to Steve being one of the few people to believe in his capacity for goodness once he left HYDRA's control.
- Living Legend: As James Barnes he's revered as a hero and Captain America's second-in-command who sacrificed his life defending America from the Nazis. As the Winter Soldier he's dreaded as the deadliest assassin in the world for several decades.
- Living MacGuffin: Bucky is Captain America: Civil War's Helen of Troy. While the two factions in also have broader ideological differences, these quickly fall to the wayside as it's ultimately Steve and Tony's personal histories with him and the other heroes' choice of who to sympathize with that mark the division between the two sides, with Steve and Tony's conflicting desires over what to do with him being what kicks off the climax of the film.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: After becoming the Winter Soldier. While he's more brawny than usual for the trope, he still retains his delicate features, and his increasingly lengthy hair is fabulous and well-permed. Particularly noticeable in What If...? (2021), where his long hair is modeled and animated fluidly with detail.
- Looks Like Cesare: His dark hair and the circles under his eyes give off this impression.
- Looks Like Jesus: In The Stinger for Black Panther, thanks to his hair growing out; not to mention the Wakandan robe he was wearing.
- Loss of Identity: He has absolutely no idea who he really is or that at his chronological age, he should either be dead or in a nursing home. All that really mattered to him was the mission until Steve came along. It's justified in that HYDRA keeps wiping his memory clean after all of his missions are finished.Bucky: [as the Winter Soldier] Who the hell is Bucky?
- Malevolent Masked Man: He wears a black cloth mask over his nose and mouth, and combines it with Sinister Shades which resemble his otherwise absent Domino Mask from the comics.
- Manchurian Agent: Actually lampshaded by Tony Stark in Civil War. That film also reveals that his Winter Soldier programming is activated by a series of Trigger Phrases. This is first shown in the Distant Prologue when the Siberian HYDRA base commanders send him to kill Howard Stark. Zemo later acquires these phrases and uses them to set Bucky against the Avengers and the Counter Terrorism Force who are currently holding him, deepening the conflict over how to treat Bucky in light of the Sokovia Accords. It's a major reason Bucky decides to go back to cryo-sleep in Wakanda, until a way to deprogram him can be found — which it eventually is, thanks to Shuri.
- Manly Tears: When Ayo's test of his trigger words reveals that the Winter Soldier programming is gone, all Bucky can do is quietly sob as he realizes he's finally free.
- Master Actor: When tasked by Zemo to pretend to be the Winter Soldier in Madripoor, he was able to maintain an expressionless face the entire time until the masquerade was blown. Sam was even concerned that he was actually being the Winter Soldier and not pretending to be.
- Meaningful Name: His title is heavy with meaning.
- The Winter Soldier was dragged from ice, gets placed in cryosleep between missions, and has the demeanor of a heavily-armed glacier. The phrase "winter soldier" references an investigation into war crimes committed by American soldiers in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, organised by Vietnam veterans — it was called The Winter Soldier Investigation. That, in turn, referenced a quotation from Thomas Paine, who described a "summer soldier" as someone who only serves their country when convenient. Thus the name connotes both cold and wartime atrocities.
- It also references Russian military history, to match his red star emblem, Soviet bullets, and use of Russian language. You don't win a war with Russia during the winter time; the climate of Russia has been widely considered a contributing factor to the military failures of several invasions of Russia. In fact, the Russian Winter is often given a name because of it winning wars for Russia: General Winter, General Frost, or General Snow.
- My God, What Have I Done?: There is no single point in Civil War where Bucky realizes he's done terrible things and must stop; he is just always conscious of what he's done, admitting at one point that he remembers every single person he has killed, and is unsure how to prevent himself from being used in that way again. His fears that someone could trigger him into becoming a remorseless killing machine again drive him to go back into cryo-sleep until he can be safely deprogrammed.
- Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer: He's considered an urban legend by intelligence agencies; accounting for the mysterious deaths of people around the world for decades. The only reason Natasha is convinced that he is real is because he shot her in the past.
- Named After Somebody Famous: US President James Buchanan. The fact that he's named after a president least-regarded in American history lines up well with how, for a time, he was weaponized against America's interests and stood against someone who's the best America can offer. His presidency was also the last before the infamous American Civil War.
- Nazi Hunter: In The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, part of his efforts to make amends is to help hunt down and bring in the remaining HYDRA members who pulled a Karma Houdini after the organization collapsed. One scene has him help the authorities hunt down a Corrupt Politician who used the Winter Soldier to become Senator.
- Nice Guy: Despite all the horrible things he went through and what he was forced to do, Bucky is still one of the kindest people in the MCU. Before becoming the Winter Soldier, he's the first man in Steve's life to look past his physical inadequacies and was his Only Friend. After breaking free from his brainwashing, hes shown to still be the same friendly man that he was during the war.
- Noble Wolf: His nickname of the "White Wolf" establishes his dangerous but also noble character.
- No Body Left Behind: Is disintegrated along with half the universe after Thanos completes the Infinity Gauntlet.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis:
- He comes out of nowhere to attack, and the first inkling anyone has that he's there at all is his bullet going through his target. He has a total of eight lines in The Winter Soldier, most of them delivered either flatly or in a state of complete and blinding rage.
- He and T'Challa skip all the formalities during their rooftop battle in Civil War. When a man in all-black power armor with sharp claws leaps from the sky and takes him down, Bucky doesn't question it for a second and simply fights him. Likewise, Black Panther doesn't monologue about justice or revenge; he gets right to the point—that point being to kill Bucky.
- He's the first person in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to no-sell Black Widow's Hurricanrana, and that's a list that includes a seven foot tall cyborg alien soldier.
- Cap's first attempt to throw his shield at him also has no effect, as the Winter Soldier just catches it in midair.
- He himself gets no-sold by Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, when Spidey effortlessly blocks a punch from his metal arm (though it's implied that Bucky was holding back).
- When he's escaping from the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre headquarters after being triggered into his Winter Soldier personality by Zemo, T'Challa tries to stop him by going toe to toe, then locking him into an arm bar. Arm bars are extremely painful holds that will get practically anyone to submit, but in the heat of battle T'Challa applies it to Bucky's cybernetic arm. Bucky not only No Sells it, but shoots T'Challa a lot of slightly contemptuous disbelief.
- The Not-Love Interest: He is the second most important character in the Captain America series of films after Cap himself. Throughout all three films, Bucky serves as the main motivating factor for Steve in some way, and their Undying Loyalty to one another is the biggest overarching theme of the films.
- Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: With Steve in Winter Soldier. By the standards of superheroes they are not that strong, but as they are the only characters with superpowers in this movie, they are practically unstoppable in any fight they are in, except between themselves.
- Not Quite Back to Normal: Despite seemingly being back to his pre-train fall self in Infinity War, Bucky jokingly describes himself as being only a "semi-stable 100-year-old man". Plus, there's the fact that he still doesn't have a left arm.
- "Not So Different" Remark: He notes that something is wrong with Walker and tells Sam that he can see it because he's crazy himself.
- Not So Stoic: After Steve calls him by his nickname, and his memories get triggered as a result. Before that, the Winter Soldier was silent in battle with every single move planned out beforehand. During the climax, as Steve tries to get through to him, he screams at Steve to shut up and straight-up bashes his face in.
- Obviously Evil: Black leather fatigues, hides his lower face in a mask, long, dark, disheveled hair, either Scary Shiny Glasses or dark eye shadow, a metal arm with an engraved Soviet star, always armed with a BFG... Clearly, his superiors wanted his appearance to scream "EVIL GUY!" when they designed his uniform. HYDRA designed the Winter Soldier to be as terrifying as possible to manipulate the public into giving up their freedom to gain their security. In actuality, Bucky isnt evil, hes just Brainwashed and Crazy — making this a subverted trope.
- Older Than They Look: He's as old as Steve. By the time of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier he states that he's 106, but has the appearance and body of a man a third that age. This is because Hydra kept him as a Human Popsicle for most of the time, only bringing him out whenever they needed someone eliminated then immediately freeze him again once it was done. He is chronologically one year older than Steve, but his handlers' use of cryostasis has had him frozen for 70 years, in contrast to Steve's 67, making him biologically three years younger than Steve.
- Omniglot: Bucky can speak fluent English, Romanian, and Russian. He is also capable of understanding German and Japanese, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier shows that he can also speak Xhosa.
- Once an Episode: Bucky wields Steve's shield at some point in every Captain America movie, which may be a reference for how he ends up taking the mantle in the comics. Although Sam offers it to him once more in "Endgame," he refuses and instead gives Sam a nod of approval, indicating that he's had enough of war for now.
- One-Hit Polykill: In a tale told by Natasha, the Winter Soldier had targeted a nuclear engineer she was trying to get to safety. When she threw herself into the line of fire to shield the target, the Soldier simply fired through Natasha. She survived. The target didn't. Judging by her scar, Natasha only failed in literally fulfilling the trope through pure luck and speedy medical attention.
- One-Man Army:
- He single-handedly takes out an entire squadron of S.H.I.E.L.D. gunships, their crews, and any agents unlucky enough to get in his way.
- While under Zemo's control in Civil War, he one-ups himself by going against several more agents, Captain America, Agent 13, Black Widow, Tony Stark and T'Challa and fends them all off, incapacitating all of them but Black Panther, and starts walking away. The time since HYDRA's fall hasn't blunted his skills one bit.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Bucky is only referred to as his first name "James" by two people throughout the entire franchise. The same exhibition that refers to Steve as "Steven" calls him Bucky. Zemo first calls him James while pretending to interrogate him in Civil War, to which he flatly replies that "My name is Bucky", and later calls him James again to get under his skin while they're on his private jet. His therapist in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier also exclusively calls him James during his session, despite his obvious discomfort with it. Basically, any time Bucky appears or is referenced outside of a HYDRA or generic assassination context, he will be referred to as "Bucky," "Barnes," (possibly prefixed by "Sergeant") or "Bucky Barnes," and thanks to seventy years of brainwashing, it's possible not even the man himself believes "James Buchanan Barnes" still exists.
- Past Experience Nightmare: In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he is having nightmares in which he sees his missions and his victims. He wouldn't admit it to his psychologist, though.
- Perma-Stubble: As an indication of the general dishevelled state HYDRA has left him in.
- Perpetual Frowner: In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. His default expression tends to be an intense stare, and he rarely smiles, if ever; when he does, it's usually a creepy fake-looking one at that.
- Pretty Boy: More of a straight example in the 40's, but he's still pretty as the Winter Soldier (for some reason, HYDRA let his hair grow out when it would probably be easier to just cut it all off.)
- Professional Killer: One of the most infamous assassins in the MCU and unstoppable in combat.
- Quest for Identity: In the stinger for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he is visiting the Captain America Smithsonian exhibit seen earlier in the film, and avidly studies the memorial with himself on it.
- The Quiet One: You would be forgiven for not realizing he can speak. He talks during, at most, three scenes during the entirety of Winter Soldier, the last of which he's screaming. In Civil War, he is a bit more talkative, but still hardly a chatterbox.
- Racist Grandma: Played with. Like Steve, he's surprisingly tolerant and open-minded for a white man born in the US at the start of the 20th century. Nevertheless he has some racial blind spots due to his lack of direct personal experience with racism, which leads to him learning an An Aesop about racial sensitivity and better understanding Sam's perspective as an African American in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
- Red Baron: During and after his stay in their kingdom post-deprogramming, the Wakandans have taken to calling him the White Wolf.
- Redemption Demotion: While he still retains all of his skills and superhuman abilities even without his Winter Soldier programming "On", regaining his old self and conscience comes with the cost of reduced efficiency, Justified as he's lost the ruthless efficiency he has when brainwashed and tends to hold back, not to mention also lacking the weapons he used to have as HYDRA's top assassin. Shown during the airport clash in Captain America: Civil War: Fighting opponents who could compare even to Captain America who have no reservations about fighting him seriously makes him less of a help to Steve's team, needing to be saved by Falcon and Winter Soldier. Black Panther specifically has no intention of holding back, even as Bucky tries to.
- Red Herring: The trailers play him up as the The Heavy of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While he does get some focus, he's actually just a distraction for the true plot: S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. HYDRA.
- Red Right Hand: Does double duty as this trope and as a pun — his cybernetic arm was branded with the Red Star for a while. He receives a different arm made of Vibranium that lacks the star while in Wakanda.
- The Reveal: The first half of Captain America: The Winter Soldier keeps the Winter Soldier's identity a secret before revealing he's Bucky, brainwashed by HYDRA and having no memories of his past self.
- The Rival: He hates John Walker from the moment he found out he was chosen to be the next Captain America. By the end of the episode they met, Walker starts reciprocating his contempt. Unlike Sam, who at least tried to be civil and get along with Walker, Bucky never warms up to him, even when Walker starts doing so. He's also largely dismissive of Lemar, finding his codename Battlestar dreadful, though he was shocked and saddened by his sudden death.
- Sacrificial Lion:
- As a Howling Comando and The Hero's best friend, he falls to his apparent death right before the final assault on the Red Skull in First Avenger.
- He's also the first of many heroes to be killed by Thanos's finger snap of doom, establishing that plot armor won't save anyone.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: At one point, Nick Fury barely manages to escape from an assault he leads to Steve Rogers' apartment. Moments after Steve returns, the Winter Soldier puts a bullet straight through Fury, simply by observing Steve's eyeline and making an educated guess.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Although he's physically somewhere in his 30s to early 40s, he often acts more like the surly centenarian he chronologically is, and isn't afraid to snark about things he doesn't like.
- Secondary Character Title: Despite being in the title and central to the plot of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he mostly stays Out of Focus and really doesn't become active until the latter half of the movie, when he attacks Cap, Black Widow, and Falcon and Steve realizes his true identity. From there, he serves as Steve's final opponent and the main focus, and the movie sets up his future appearances.
- Seen It All:
- When Black Panther joins in with the police chase, Bucky does not stop to question why a man in a cat suit has decided to come after him, he just keeps on running.
- He doesn't even bat an eyelid when he meets Rocket Raccoon in Avengers: Infinity War. All he does is tell him that he won't sell Rocket his gun or his metal arm.Rocket: How much for the gun?
Bucky: Not for sale.
Rocket: Okay. How much for the arm?
Bucky: (walks off with a look of confusion on his face)
- Seriously Scruffy: In addition to his Barbarian Longhair he also sports facial scruff of varying lengths as a sign of his disheveled mental state due to his poor treatment at the hands of HYDRA.
- Sex Slave: While infiltrating Madripoor posing as the Winter Soldier, Zemo pretends to sell him to a criminal named Selby promising his complete obedience, with the implication that she was intending to use him for this specific purpose. Worse, the fact that Zemo doesn't feel the need to explain further carries heavy implications it's not the first time someone has attempted to treat him this way.
- Shipper on Deck: He smiles at Steve after the latter and Sharon Carter share a kiss.
- Shrouded in Myth: S.H.I.E.L.D. knows nothing about his origins and, until his attack on Nick Fury, have little proof that he exists. It parallels Steve's own Living Legend status to hammer in the Evil Counterpart undertones of their relationship.
- Signature Move: Bucky likes throwing things, and often people. He's also really good with Improvised Weapons. By contrast, The Winter Soldier likes to grab people by the throat, usually with his mechanical left arm, though he does like the odd throw. Both are exceptionally good with knives. In TFATWS, the choke is used as a sign that Bucky's regressing back toward the Soldier.
- Silent Antagonist: In Winter Soldier. He rarely speaks, especially in action, except rattling off a few orders in Russian. Compare this to Cap, who is well-known for being a good public speaker, and rather charismatic in person.
- Sleeves Are for Wimps: As the Winter Soldier, Bucky never wears a sleeve on his metal arm. Even post-deprogramming, Bucky makes a show of tearing off his sleeve in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to emphasize his new Vibranium limb.
- The Snark Knight: Tends to treat the world around him with weary disdain due to his traumatic past, and struggles just as much with his own issues with self-worth at the same time.
- Spoiler Title: To the point that his actor was once hidden and none of the trailers have a particularly clear shot of his face. Then again, for comic readers, it's a Foregone Conclusion.
- The Spook: Natasha explicitly described the Winter Soldier as "a ghost". Until Steve sees his face, nobody really knows who he is or where he comes from save his handlers.
- The Stoic: Until the climax of Winter Soldier, he is nothing but cold, calm, and professional, to a point that he seems almost mechanical.
- Strapped to an Operating Table: He's strapped to a table in Zola's research lab when Steve finds him.
- Strong and Skilled: He has both superhuman physical prowess and decades of training and experience as an assassin, his fighting skills rivaling those of the greatest fighters Earth has to offer such as Black Panther and Captain America. This helps him in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier when he goes up against the Flag Smashers, who are also super soldiers. He is able to easily dispatch any of them in a straight fight due to being much more skilled and having more experience with the serum's powers.
- Super Reflexes: In Winter Soldier, the only person fast enough to match those reflexes is Steve, the only other superhuman in the entire movie. In Civil War, he's fast enough to block bullets with his metal arm. The Falcon And The Winter Soldier has him dodging and catching a knife thrown at him mid-flight.
- Superpowered Evil Side: As Zemo demonstrates about halfway through Civil War, it's only when his Winter Soldier programming is reactivated that he loses all the self-control he normally exerts to avoid killing anyone, and finally shows his true monstrous strength and ruthlessness.
- Super Senses:
- In The Winter Soldier, he manages to hear Black Widow (or rather, a cellphone she put on playback to bait him) amidst a chaotic street.
- In Civil War, he reacts to the SWAT team surrounding his appartment in Bucharest at the same time Sam notifies Steve of their movements through their earpieces. At one point, he glances at the roof a split-second before Sam (who's on the roof) tells Steve about the SWAT guys there.
- Super Soldier: Dr. Zola injected him with a version of Red Skull's Super Serum in 1943, which can be viewed as the Evil Counterpart to the version of the super serum that Dr. Erskine administered to Steve. It gave Bucky enhanced abilities such as Super Strength and Super Speed. He survived his fall from the train, but fell into the worst hands imaginable and became a Sympathetic Sentient Weapon owned by HYDRA. They equipping him with a cybernetic arm and subjecting him to more experiments after they re-captured him.
- Super Speed: He is fast, as shown in Civil War when he's comfortably outrunning cars.
- Super Strength:
- He has strength on par with Captain America and Black Panther. His metal arm is strong enough to easily overpower Captain America, punch through solid concrete, tear off armored car-doors, and fire high-recoil weapons with perfect accuracy. During his fight scenes, there's a distinct difference between the attacks he makes with his flesh-and-blood arm and the cybernetic arm — the former is for precision, the latter simple straight-up power.
- The part in Winter Soldier wherein he kicks a S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot into a jet engine show that his flesh-and-blood body parts have somehow been enhanced, likely due to his exposure to a Super Serum procedure similar to Cap's in the previous film. Also in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Bucky is shown handling the Flag Smashers with ease despite them being similarly enhanced with the super soldier serum due to being fully accostumed to the superhuman strength he has, having no problem sending them flying around and knocking them down.
- Thanks to his metallic arm, Bucky is able to engage Iron Man in combat and hold his own against him nearly as well as Steve. At one point, he manages to overpower Tony, back him into a corner, and get within seconds of tearing out his arc reactor.
- Superhero Packing Heat: Prior to his HeelFace Turn he carries an entire arsenal of firearms. He doesn't use firearms for most of Civil War but near the climax he grabs a large firearm from the Quinjet armory when going to confront Zemo. He also uses a gun in Infinity War and in Endgame after his resurrection.
- Super Toughness: Hits from regular people like Natasha, Sharon, and Sam don't make a dent in him. Bucky's been able to take a brutal hits from similarly powered individuals such as Captain America, Black Panther, and the other Winter Soldiers as well as higher tiered people like Iron Man and Spider-Man and stay in the fight.
- Sympathetic Sentient Weapon: The poor guy never asked to become HYDRA's brainwashed super-assassin.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Bucky stands at 6'0, has dark hair, and used to be quite the Chick Magnet before HYDRA subjected him to 70 years of Cold-Blooded Torture. He cleans up a bit after his HeelFace Turn, but Bucky still has a long way to go before he's anything like his old self.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Was this prior to becoming the Winter Soldier. In Civil War, he starts showing shades of this again, especially around Sam Wilson.
- Tearful Smile: In a flashback set before Infinity War, as Ayo recites his trigger words, he breaks down in fear of losing himself. When he realizes his deprogramming was successful and the words no longer work, his expression turns to relief and then a smile.
- Trauma Conga Line: After being captured by HYDRA he undergoes brutal, painful experimentation to turn him into the Winter Soldier. He then spends the next seventy years committing atrocities as their assassin. In between missions, his mind is wiped, which if Winter Soldier is any indicator is an agonizing process. When he regains his memories he unfortunately remembers all of his actions. Civil War hits home just how badly he doesn't want to go back to being the Winter Soldier when he thrashes with every fiber of his being as Zemo recites the trigger phrases. He finally finds a measure of peace living in Wakanda by Black Panther after his mind control mechanisms are removed...until he's called upon to fight once again. During said fight, he becomes the first onscreen victim of The Snap. He's then resurrected to take part in the final battle and helps save the world, only to watch his closest friend disappear through time and return as an old man, leaving Bucky to adjust to a changed world as a civilian all by himself.
- There Was a Door: The Winter Soldier never opens a door that he could tear straight from its hinges. Especially when it's a metal door.
- Took a Level in Badass: As Bucky Barnes, he was skilled in battle but nowhere near Steve's level. As The Winter Soldier, he's become the greatest assassin in history, a One-Man Army, and gives heavyweights Black Widow, Black Panther, and Cap himself a run for their money.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Sam giving up the shield and the shield being given to John Walker made him quite bitter and surly towards other people. He resents the former for giving up the shield and he hates the latter not just because he believes John doesn't deserve the shield or to be called Captain America, but also because he finds him arrogant and condescending. Only when they take the shield from Walker and Sam finally starts using the shield does Bucky start being nicer.
- Tragic Keepsake: Treats Steve's shield as this after Steve leaves in Endgame. He admits that the reason he's so protective of the shield has nothing to do with its association with Captain America and everything to do with the man behind it, due to his depression from loneliness and the fact that it's all he has left of Steve.
- Tragic Hero: Becomes this following his actions as the Winter Soldier, initially still has HYDRA's brainwashing in his brain in Civil War, gets framed for the UN bombing that gets him hunted by the authorities and his fellow superheroes and even after having the brainwashing removed and restored to his former self, he's still haunted by memories of his unwilling crimes of assassination of good people and Innocent Bystanders (not to mentioned the implications that he may have also was a Sex Slave during his then-brainwashed state whenever not doing missions for HYDRA) resulting in him suffering of post-traumatic stress disorder, which acts as a catalyst for him to be motivated as The Atoner.
- Tragic Villain: The Winter Soldier doesn't do what he does necessarily because he wants to. Decades of brainwashing and torture has fried his brain so much that despite being one of most dangerous men on the planet, he is a complete and utter Extreme Doormat who is subservient to HYDRA and Alexander Pierce in particular. He doesn't know how to be anything but a weapon, meant to complete the missions assigned to him by any means necessary. Since he has no memories of his previous life, he doesn't bother to resist. It also "helps" that they make him comply via a Russian Trigger Phrase code. Steve indicating that he was more than a weapon nearly spiraled him into a mental breakdown. It get much worse when is revealed that during his then-mind controlled servitude to HYDRA, it was implied he was also a Sex Slave for them whenever he's not given assassination missions.
- Tranquil Fury:
- During the attack on the highway in Winter Soldier, he is outsmarted by Black Widow and shot in the eye. His bulletproof goggles save him, but the Soldier actually pauses for a while, seemingly in alarm at how close to death he just came. He quietly takes off his cracked goggles ... then unloads a full clip of gunfire right in Black Widow's direction.
- In the second episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Bucky is seen watching his TV with nothing but utter contempt for John Walker, the man the U.S government hand-picked to replace Steve Rogers.
- Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: In First Avenger this happened to him and Steve has to go in and save him.
- Trigger Phrase: As it turns out in Civil War, he was programmed with one to ensure his obedience: "Longing. Rusted. Seventeen. Daybreak. Furnace. Nine. Benign. Homecoming. One. Freight Car... Soldier." This becomes a plot point during the movie. Doubles as a Continuity Nod, since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. showed HYDRA's use of trigger phrases before. As of Black Panther it's implied that Shuri has removed this, given that Bucky has been brought out of cryostasis and is trusted enough to be surrounded by children, something confirmed in a flashback in Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
- Troubled, but Cute: His residual trauma from being the Winter Soldier has left him severely emotionally troubled, jaded, and awkward at romantic relationships, but he's still a good guy underneath, and multiple women have expressed their attraction to him in-universe in spite of his awkwardness.
- Tsundere: Can be cold and abrasive towards Sam at times due to his own issues which he projects onto him, but he does indeed care about Sam and feels bad when he inadvertently hurts Sam's feelings. He's positively beaming when Sam finally takes to his role as the new Captain America, although Bucky attempts to hide his joy in front of Sam by pretending he was on his phone the whole time.
- Undying Loyalty:
- To Steve. He chooses to follow his best friend and the Howling Commandos into battle, and after he's been turned into the Winter Soldier, it's Steve's declaration of their mutual loyalty to each other that finally rekindles his memories of his true self. Even after Steve is gone he's still extremely protective of Steve's legacy out of unshaking loyalty to the man himself.
- Though it takes him a while to get there, Bucky eventually comes to see Sam Wilson as a worthy successor of Captain America who he is willing to defend and fight alongside with in battle.
- Unkempt Beauty: Goes from being well-groomed in The First Avenger to sporting Perma-Stubble and an unruly mop of long hair after becoming the Winter Soldier. The disheveled look turned him into a Long-Haired Pretty Boy. He has also got a Shirtless Scene (albeit one that is Fan Disservice in context).
- Unskilled, but Strong: His Mechanical Arm, while superhumanly strong and durable, is nowhere near as dexterous as a his right arm. During the fight, he uses his "normal" right arm to aim firearms, knives, and to make quick jabs and blocks, while using his mechanical one to one-hand larger weapons and grappling or power blows in close quarters.
- Unwitting Pawn: In Civil War, Zemo uses him to break the Avengers apart.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: We first see Bucky as a snarky, likable guy defending his best friend from a bully — which he'd apparently done since they were kids. Things... don't go so well for him after that.
- Villainous Breakdown: In the climax of Winter Soldier, he loses it when Steve keeps calling him "Bucky". He's only ever had a mission to worry about, and Steve has shattered his entire world, just by saying that he is more than the weapon HYDRA made him into, and he can't handle it. The only thing he can do is try to complete the final mission HYDRA gave him, and that's kill Steve. When Steve refuses to fight him and drops his shield into the Potomac below on the basis of a friendship that the Soldier doesn't even remember, it confuses him so much he starts mentally breaking down, unable to comprehend Steve's sincerity and the emotions he recalls because of it.
- Vitriolic Best Buds:
- One of their earliest scenes in First Avenger, immediately before Steve tries to sign up for the army for the millionth time.Bucky: Don't do anything stupid until I get back.
Steve: How can I? You're taking all the stupid with you.
[Bucky gives Steve one last hug before leaving]
Bucky: You're a punk.
- In The Winter Soldier, a flashback reveals that he offered Steve a place to stay after his mother died, with one of his comments being "You'd just have to shine my shoes...".
- In Civil War, he is on his way to becoming this with Sam Wilson. They constantly bicker, unless it comes to cheering on Steve when he's finally managed a Big Damn Kiss with Sharon, or snarking at Spider-Man's spandex costume — meaning that Sam is the only person aside from Steve who gets a normal reaction out of Bucky. After Spider-Man has webbed both of them to the floor and Sam's drone Redwing has dragged Peter out of the window:Bucky: You couldn't have done that earlier?
Sam: I hate you.
- By the time The Falcon and the Winter Soldier rolls around, this relationship has escalated to the point of Headbutting Heroes.
- One of their earliest scenes in First Avenger, immediately before Steve tries to sign up for the army for the millionth time.
- Walking Armory: Has three sidearms, a submachine gun and at least two combat knives for backup, with him alternating for a primary between an assault rifle with underslung grenade launcher, two separate grenade launchers and a Soviet sniper rifle that (while not seen) is his trademark weapon in the intelligence community.
- Walking the Earth: At the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he runs away, looking to find anything that will help him regain his damaged memories.
- Weapon of Choice:
- He switches between an M4 Carbine with a M203 Grenade Launcher, a Sig Sauer P226 and a Skorpion. He likes the Skorpion, as it's seen again when he attacks the Quinjets and he uses it to destroy a security camera after the assassination of Tony's parents. He is also shown to have used a Soviet sniper rifle several times and a Barrett M82A1 in the past.
- In Civil War and Infinity War, he wields an M249 Paratrooper SAW with an nearly-horizontal casket magazine and optic on top. While Steve and T'Challa fight the Outriders hand-to-hand, Bucky holds onto the gun for the entire battle (despite a talking raccoon offering to buy it).
- He's also a Knife Nut, and they're some of his go-to weapons.
- Weapon Twirling: He twirls his knives as he draws them in a bit of showmanship that is incongruous with his tendency towards brutal efficiency. Played for Laughs in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, where this habit extends to innocent situations as he twirls around a construction tool while working on Sam's boat.
- When He Smiles: Even after he has his triggers removed, Bucky still tends to be shy and reserved, very unlike his past self who tended to crack jokes around Steve and was a ladies' man. However, on the rare occasion that something does manage to make him smile (e.g. Steve and company arriving in Wakanda in Infnity War), his entire face lights up and we are afforded a glimpse of the charming, carefree young man he used to be.
- White Wolves Are Special: Nicknamed "White Wolf" by the Wakandans due to being the Token White among them, and also displays the associated traits of being heroic and a good person despite his fearsome past.
- Who Shot JFK?: Implied to have been one of the assassinations he performed while under HYDRA's control.
- Willfully Weak: As the Winter Soldier he's a nigh-unstoppable killing machine who even some of the strongest fighters have trouble standing up against. When he has control of his mind, while still incredibly formidable, he isn't quite as deadly as he used to be, due to deliberately holding back his full power and not pulling all the skills he has on his sleeve in order to avoid dealing too much damage, even while dealing with superhuman villains, despite using more of his power.
- The Worf Effect:
- In The Winter Soldier, he inflicts this on everyone but Steve to demonstrate just how dangerous he is. Even Natasha, who put up the best fight after Steve, is quickly overwhelmed when she runs out of tricks to distract him. The Falcon, in his wing suit, suffers a very brief Curb-Stomp Battle. This is to build the drama and suspense of the film as while Steve is the only person who can physically beat him, he's also the person least capable with emotionally dealing with him because of the Winter Soldier's true identity as Bucky Barnes, his long thought-dead best friend.
- In Civil War, Bucky and Cap beat up a dozen or so heavily-armed cops loaded for bear. Immediately afterwards, he struggles to hold his own against the newly introduced Black Panther to show how capable of a fighter the latter is. Later on in a flashback, one of the Stark-series Winter Soldiers beats him fairly quickly during a spar, just to show how much more dangerous they are.
- He's the first to go down in the first battle against the Flag Smashers in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier even though he was the only one on his side that had comparable abilities to them. This demonstrates that they have comparable abilities to him, surprising both him and the audience and establishing that the Flag Smashers will not be easily defeated.
- His fight with John Walker after he has been powered up by the Super Soldier Serum and wields the shield has Bucky on the losing end, although he still proves to be much more of a challenge than Sam, even though he has previously been able to take on and give Captain America a fight for his life and has also had experience with dealing with Steve's usage of the shield and able to counter and bypass it. Though this is justified, as Bucky doesn't really want to kill John and just wants to take the shield and he also lacks the same weaponry he used against Captain America, which leaves him unable to use much of the impressive shield bypassing and disarming moves he used against Rogers, preventing him from using all of his superior skills and decades of fighting experience against Walker while Walker is able to bring into bear all of his abilities with no hesitation in beating and killing him.
- Worf Had the Flu:
- His defeat at the hands of another Winter Soldier can be attributed to the fact that it was a training exercise. In a real fight, he is able to knock one down with ease. Likewise, he was only trying to escape from Black Panther while Black Panther was actively trying to kill him and in full Winter Soldier mode, he's more than a match for T'Challa (who, while still superhumanly-powered, was not wearing his Black Panther habit). Later on, when he gets to fight Black Panther in his suit, Bucky is shown to be able to put him on the ropes and only loses due to not being willing to kill him.
- He, along with Falcon, are both dominated by the newly introduced Spider-Man during the battle at the airport — though as Tony points out to Peter in Spider-Man: Homecoming, both of them were holding back to not seriously hurt anyone on the other side, and especially not an excitable teenager like him.
- He's the first to go down in the first battle against the Flag Smashers in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier even though he is the only one on his side with comparable abilities to them. Bucky and Sam both did not realize that they were dealing with super soldiers until they started fighting them, and Bucky did not consider them to be a true threat so he held back considerably. In all of the subsequent battles Bucky proves to be easily capable of handling them, showing that even though their physical abilities are equally matched, Bucky's prowess in hand to hand combat is far superior to that of the Flag Smashers.
- While he gets overpowered by John Walker when he has the shield, once he loses the shield, Bucky proves himself to be the better fighter while both of them are injured and easily beats him, letting Sam deal the finishing blow. Likewise, when he and Walker get to fight the Flag Smashers one last time with Walker having a shield made of homemade materials and not the vibranium one, he proves able to handle the Flag Smashers better than Walker and outright beats Karli when she was using an improvised weapon while Walker had more trouble against her.
- World's Best Warrior: As the Winter Soldier, he was HYDRA's deadliest fighter, and with Steve retired as Captain America and elderly, he is the most skilled and experienced warrior active in the world among humans. He is capable of taking down entire squads of trained soldiers and numerous Thanos's alien goons, easily defeats Black Widow and Falcon, puts up an incredible fight against Captain America, and while helping Steve beat Iron Man comes close to besting him by himself. He is able to handle himself against Black Panther, though he ends up losing due to holding back and being unwilling to kill him. In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he defeats other humans who took the serum: he stomps Flag Smashers and with help from Sam takes down the new Captain America, John Walker, who is one of the best fighters in the U.S. with 3 Medals of Honor.
Sergeant James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes, US Army
Voiced by: Sebastian Stan
Appearances: What If...?
In an alternate timeline where Peggy became a super soldier, Bucky was never subjected to HYDRA experimentation.
- Alternate Self: To the Bucky of the Sacred Timeline, coming from a timeline where he's saved from falling of the train and being transformed into the Winter Soldier by Captain Carter. He was rescued earlier than usual as he was found in the cells with the other Howling Commandos with no mention of being tortured and experimented on which would mean he is just a regular human. Thus, Bucky remained a significantly more quippy and happy person than his main counterpart.
- Badass Normal: Unlike his main counterpart, this Bucky wasn't injected with the serum and wasn't given a metal arm, making him firmly this trope.
- Genki Guy: Because he was rescued before Zola tortured him into depression, he remains his cheerful self and is frequently making silly jokes about the situation he's in.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When he almost falls from the HYDRA train and pulled back up by Captain Carter, he remarks that she almost pulled his arm off, referencing his Sacred Timeline counterpart losing an arm after falling from the train.
Bucky Barnes / The Winter Soldier
Species: Enhanced human
Voiced By: Sebastian Stan
Appearances: What If...?
A Variant of Bucky who fights Zombie Captain America.
- Alternate Self: To the Bucky of the Sacred Timeline, coming from a timeline where he and a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits work together to survive a Zombie Apocalypse
- Ambiguous Situation: He's last seen being hurled into the sky by the zombified Scarlet Witch, with his fate being left unknown.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He stays behind to hold back the zombified Scarlet Witch to give the remaining survivors time to escape to Wakanda with the Mind Stone.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: He takes the iconic vibranium shield from the zombified Captain America after killing him and proceeds to use it for the rest of the episode.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: After everything he's been through, Bucky practically shuts down emotionally in zombie apocalypse, going through everything with a calm detachment. He admits to Okoye that he feels nothing about seeing her bisect the zombified Falcon, even though he knows he should, and later on, he barely reacts to seeing his best friend as a flesh-eating monster.
- Staking the Loved One: He's forced to kill the zombified version of his best friend, Steve Rogers."Sorry, pal. I guess this is the end of the line."