Bucky Barnes is curiously missing from the Captain America: New World Order cast, but this might be the best move for the future of Sam Wilson’s Cap.
Leaving Bucky Barnes out of Captain America: New World Order could be the best choice for the upcoming film. Revealed to be in production after the positive reception to Sam Wilson’s Captain America in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the fourth Captain America film will be the big-screen debut for Anthony Mackie as the star-spangled (and winged) man with a plan. More information was revealed about New World Order at September 2022’s D23 Expo, including Joaquin Torres’ promotion to the Falcon and Samuel Sterns’, a.k.a. the Leader’s, return to the MCU after last being seen in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, but there’s one obvious omission in New World Order’s cast.
Sebastian Stan’s James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes was established as Steve Rogers’ best friend in Captain America: The First Avenger before being introduced in the modern day as HYDRA’s Winter Soldier. After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Bucky started on the road to redemption, with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier delving deeper into this storyline while developing his buddy-cop relationship with Sam Wilson. Bucky’s next appearance in the MCU is set to come in the upcoming Thunderbolts film, but curiously not in the earlier Captain America: New World Order despite the close friendship he formed with Sam in Disney+’s Falcon and Winter Soldier.
While Sam and Bucky’s chemistry creates a brilliant viewing experience, omitting the Winter Soldier from Captain America: New World Order is the right move. After Chris Evans’ departure from the MCU as Steve Rogers, Bucky is free from his duties as Captain America’s right-hand man. He largely developed a friendship with Sam out of his desire to get the shield back from John Walker, a.k.a. US Agent (Wyatt Russell), which they were able to accomplish. Bucky’s talents as the Winter Soldier are better suited for the Thunderbolts lineup. Leaving him out of New World Order will allow both him and Sam to grow as individual heroes, neither in the shadow of the other.
Sam Wilson’s Captain America Will Finally Get The Spotlight He Deserves
Sam Wilson was introduced to the MCU in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a side-character to Rogers, and while his role as one of the MCU’s new Avengers team members was necessary, his greater impact in the wider MCU hadn’t really been felt until The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Even then, Sam was forced to share main character privileges with Bucky as the pair fought together to retrieve the shield from Walker and take down the Flag Smashers. With the release of Captain America: New World Order in the MCU Phase 5, Sam will finally have an opportunity to take the spotlight, stepping up as the lead in his own film and becoming a true leader. It also helps that he’ll be facing up against such a formidable villain as the Leader from The Incredible Hulk, played by Tim Blake Nelson, who will surely push Sam to realize exactly what kind of hero he is now he’s out of the shadows of both Steve and Bucky.
As long as Bucky and Sam are working together, the former will be a constant reminder that Sam was a secondary character featured mostly alongside Steve Rogers’ Captain America. Splitting the pair up will benefit both heroes in their own right since Sam is set to fully inhabit his identity as Captain America and Bucky is rumored to be leading the Thunderbolts team in their respective upcoming projects. Captain America: New World Order will be guiding audiences into the final chapters of the MCU Phase 5 with a May 3, 2024 release date. With Sam Wilson in the driver’s seat, it’s certain to be an explosive addition to the legacy of Steve Rogers and Captain America.