Who Exactly Is The WINTER SOLDIER?

The following could potentially contain spoilers.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is in full swing now with production going on in Cleveland, Ohio. We’re getting loads of photos and videos each day, even thought Marvel is not fond of the sneaky photographers. You should know that the film primarily is about Captain America’s fight against a new enemy, the Winter Soldier. More than that, this nemesis is one of Steve Rogers’s oldest friends.

But who is the Winter Soldier, exactly? Let’s flashback all the way to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger. After receiving the super soldier serum and rescuing the soldiers from the prison they are being held in by Red Skull, Steve Rogers goes about doing actual army missions and such instead of dancing and punching Hitler in the face. His sidekick was James Buchanan Barnes, also known as Bucky Barnes. He was Steve’s best friend.

After knocking down countless Hydra bases one by one and gaining the attention of Red Skull and his companion, Arnim Zola, Steve, Bucky, and Gabe Jones are informed that Arnim Zola is in the high Alps on his personal train. Their objective is to bring him back alive. After raiding each of the train cars one by one with little effort, they become heavily cornered by Hydra soldiers, in which Steve and Bucky are forced to fight their way out of this life threatening situation. During the fight, Captain drops his shield, which Bucky picks up at one point to deflect a gunshot much like Steve does. Unfortunately, Bucky is nowhere near as strong as Steve, so he is launched out of the train. He desperately tries to hold on to the broken door of the train as Steve tries to reach for him, but he eventually falls to his doom. Falling so far down, it seems obvious that Bucky is dead. But no! Not so fast!

If you’ve seen the list of the cast for the sequel, you’ll know something is up. Sebastian Stan, who also played Bucky Barnes, is playing the Winter Soldier? So that means Bucky Barnes is the Winter Soldier and he didn’t actually die? Yes sir, you are on to something there. Although one could say it downgrades the impact of the first film, much like how Coulson not actually dying in The Avengers does, another could say it’s just preparation for some more badass moments.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is obviously based on the Marvel Comics main universe, while giving a different take or angle on certain events. In the comics though, Bucky did not die the way he did in the film. Steve and Bucky were trying to stop Baron Zemo from destroying an experimental drone plane when Zemo launched the plane with a bomb. The two catch up to the plane and as Bucky attempts to diffuse the bomb, it blows up in his face, throwing Steve out of the plane and into the ice.  Bucky was presumed dead from the bomb. That also is not the case though.

General Vasily Karpov and his Russian crew find Bucky in suspended animation in the ice and he is taken to Moscow. He is revived and given a bionic arm since his left arm was lost in the explosion. He received brain damage resulting in amnesia due to the explosion, so he was programmed as a Soviet assassion under the codename, Winter Soldier.

What he does in the comics could not be done in the new film mainly because he can’t kill Red Skull since he already died in The First Avenger, he can’t charge the Cosmic Cube, also known as the Tesseract, since Thor took it with him to Asgard. So obviously, we’re going to see things pan out differently in the upcoming film.

Even so, Winter Soldier does eventually regain his memory back as Steve confronts him saying “Remember who you are.” He regains his memory but is drowned in his own guilt and runs away. Even so, after Steve Rogers is assassinated (sniped), Bucky Barnes then takes on the mantle of Captain America when Tony Stark suggests it after reading a note from Steve before his death asking that he watch over Bucky and that Captain America should continue. It is highly unlikely we will see the above happen in the films, since I do not imagine them ever really killing any of the Avengers, let alone sniping Captain America in the head. That’s just too much and Marvel Studios films are not about that.

Of course, we’re just going to have to wait and see how exactly the Winter Soldier is portrayed in the film. Let’s hope for the best!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ is currently in production, but is set to hit theaters in US on April 4, 2014.