Warning! This article contains spoilers for Secret Invasion episode 6.


  • Despite Bucky Barnes' growth and development as a character, Secret Invasion continues to refer to him as the Winter Soldier, undermining his progress.
  • The MCU's insistence on calling Bucky the Winter Soldier disregards the fact that he has unlearned his Hydra programming and has worked to make amends for his past actions.
  • Bucky's upcoming appearance in Marvel's Thunderbolts movie provides an opportunity for the MCU to finally give him a new superhero name, moving away from the Winter Soldier moniker.

Even though Bucky Barnes has proved himself a hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Phase 5's Secret Invasion keeps insulting the character's development by calling him the Winter Soldier. Bucky was introduced to the MCU in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger as the childhood best friend of Steve Rogers. Though Bucky died in that movie, he would return in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the titular Hydra assassin. After Steve freed Bucky from Hydra, Bucky went on the run, being framed for the death of Wakanda's King T'Chaka in Captain America: Civil War.

Following the events of the third Captain America movie, Bucky stayed in Wakanda and worked on deprogramming himself from the brainwashing done by Hydra. By Avengers: Infinity War, he joined the battle to save Earth from Thanos, and continued the fight in Avengers: Endgame after he was restored from being blipped away by the Mad Titan's snap. In Phase 4's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Bucky's healing journey was showed in greater depth as he worked to make amends for his history as the Hydra assassin. But it seems that work was all for naught because the MCU still thinks of him as nothing more than the Winter Soldier.

Related: Every Secret Invasion Episode 6 MCU Easter Egg & Reference

Secret Invasion Still Calls Bucky The Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier DNA Screen in Secret Invasion

During Secret Invasion episode 6, when Gravik uses the Harvest - a collection of Avengers' DNA samples collected by Nick Fury from the Endgame battle - to become a Super Skrull, a list of superheroes appears showing whose DNA was harvested. Included on the list are heroes like Captain America, Captain Marvel, Valkyrie, Black Panther and Hulk among others. There are also a number of villains, like Proxima Midnight, Abomination, Ghost and the Winter Soldier.

This continues a trend for the MCU where Bucky is still called the Winter Soldier despite him having unlearned his Hydra programming and making amends for what he did while brainwashed by the evil organization. At the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the title changed to Captain America and the Winter Soldier, indicating only Sam Wilson was adopting a new mantle in the MCU, even though the series was about both Sam and Bucky. It's an insult to Bucky's character development in the show that continues in Secret Invasion.

Why The MCU Is Still Insulting Bucky's Story 9 Years Later

bucky barnes played by sebastian stan in mcu secret invasion

It's unclear why Bucky's superhero title hasn't changed even though his character has developed far beyond the Winter Soldier introduced in 2014. During the Black Panther post-credits scene, it was revealed that Bucky was given the name of White Wolf while he was in Wakanda, and that title was referenced again in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Even with a replacement title established in the MCU, though, Marvel continues to call Bucky the Winter Soldier. The most likely explanation is to maintain continuity, but the lack of title change minimizes all the development of Bucky's character over the last nine years and keeps him pigeonholed as nothing more than a villain or sidekick to the current Captain America.

Thankfully, Bucky's story isn't over yet in the MCU as the character is set to appear in Marvel's Thunderbolts movie, leading a team of villains-turned-anti-heroes under the supervision of Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. It's another insult to have Bucky team-up with the likes of John Walker since Bucky has already fought alongside the Avengers, but it provides the MCU an opportunity to finally give Bucky a new superhero name. Whether that's White Wolf or something else, it's time for the MCU to move on from the Winter Soldier moniker.

Secret Invasion calling Bucky the Winter Soldier is only the latest disservice to his character development, and it may not be the last. With Captain America: Brave New World releasing before Thunderbolts, Marvel may continue to call Bucky the Winter Soldier - though Bucky isn't confirmed to appear in the movie, despite his friendship with Sam. Still, Captain America 4 may reference Bucky in some way and call him the Winter Soldier in the process. Hopefully, the MCU moves on from the Winter Soldier and gives Bucky a title that matches the character he's evolved into.

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