Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier, is a crucial member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He has a long drawn friendship with Steve Rogers. He was brainwashed into working for HYDRA. As a result, we had to watch these two best friends go against each other. Eventually, Bucky was saved by Steve and he was dropped off to Wakanda. In The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, we saw a crucial flashback of Bucky’s life. It showed us his time in Wakanda after Captain America: Civil War.
In the post-credit scene of Captain America: Civil War, Steve drops off Bucky in Wakanda. In recent years, Wakanda has become an important place for all the avengers. The place was first shown in Black Panther. The decision was made that Shuri (Letitia Wright) would fix Bucky and push the programming out of his head by the advanced technology she had at her disposal. So, he decided to go back into cryogenic sleep while Shuri does her work.
The next time we saw Bucky was is in Black Panther’s post-credit scenes. He is seen living in a simple hut, doing his chores. This shows the connection he has with the place and idea of Wakanda. Marvel has marvelously connected the past and future events. Just like WandaVision, we see the same in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Wakanda has been steadily revealed to play an important part in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier by showing audiences that Bucky has a stronger connection to Wakanda than was previously revealed.
In the very opening episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, we see Bucky revealing something really important to his psychiatrist. He reveals that living in Wakanda was the only time that he had felt peace in over 90 years. It is later revealed that Bucky is absolutely fluent in speaking their language as well. This only shows how important Wakanda is to him, and how well-versed he is with the culture of Wakanda.
This suggests that Bucky was in Wakanda for a considerable time, and awake outside of cryogenesis. It turns out that Bucky was in Wakanda for over two years. Let’s take a look at the timeline. Captain America: Civil War took place in 2016, which is also when Bucky went to Wakanda. Steve and Bucky reunited in Avengers: Infinity War which took place around May 2018. Bucky was one of the unlucky ones who were dusted by Thanos’ Snap, and as a result, he was gone for about five and a half years. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier takes place six months after Bucky and half of the population returned in the Blip. So that places the show around April 2024.
But the timeline is never clearly established. So it will be safe to assume that Bucky was in Wakanda from 2016 to 2018. But he only got to enjoy his peaceful days for about a month. Bucky had spent decades brainwashed as the Winter Soldier. He was only told to “live” when there was a mission. He was severely programmed to work as an assassin for HYDRA. So Bucky never really lived. He just went from one fight to another. Episode 4 of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, “The Whole World is Watching,” showed a flashback in which Ayo of the Dora Milaje worked with Bucky to test how successful the deprogramming efforts were.
After successfully carrying out the procedure, Bucky finally had his own mind back when he was in Wakanda. He was free. This scene took exactly 6 years before The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. This means he was awakened around April 2018 and only lived peacefully for about a month before T’Challla asked him to fight. As soon as he regained consciousness, he instantly started to connect with the land and culture of Wakanda. He embraced this new life and was overwhelmed by the efforts of people in Wakanda. Let’s just say that Wakanda was home to Bucky. But it was not only Bucky on this back and forth chain of favors and compliments. Bucky was given the nickname of White Wolf, proving that he became an honorary Wakandan in his time there. Being fluent in Wakandan only proves that he soaked himself in the culture of Wakanda for the little time he was there. Bucky would have subconsciously thanked Steve for this huge favor as well.
His love for Wakanda only shows how difficult the decision to betray Wakanda by breaking Zemo out of prison must have been for him. But he had to make a decision and that is the reason why he chose to seek help from Zemo. Zemo literally thrives on the concept of a world with no superheroes whatsoever. It will be interesting to see how The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will shape Bucky’s relationship with Wakanda, and if he will ever go back to the place after sabotaging his relationship with the Wakandans.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is currently streaming on Disney+. Episode 5 arrives this Friday.