Bucky Barnes is best known as Captain America’s sidekick, and as the “Winter Soldier”. But he is also sometimes called the “White Wolf” in the MCU. In fact, Bucky referred to himself as the “White Wolf” during the events of the second episode of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”. Confused about how and why Bucky got this other name? How he can be both the Winter Soldier and the White Wolf at the same time? Here’s what you need to know.
Bucky Barnes Was First Called ‘White Wolf’ in Wakanda
MCU super fans who have never missed a single film, streaming TV series episode, or hidden after credits scene may recall Bucky was referred to as “the white wolf” during a post-credits scene of “Black Panther“. In that scene, Shuri greets him as “Sergeant Barnes” and he immediately corrects her to “Bucky”. Just prior to their conversation, children are seen looking at Barnes and calling him the “white wolf”.
Later in the MCU timeline, during “Avengers: Infinity War“, T’Challa says “the White Wolf has rested long enough” in reference to Bucky’s convalescence in Wakanda. While Bucky appeared in a cameo speaking role during “Black Panther”, his character arrived in Wakanda much earlier. Barnes was sent to Wakanda after the events of “Captain America: Civil War”. It was Captain America’s hope that the scientists of Wakanda could cure Bucky’s HYDRA brainwashing, a hope that was ultimately fulfilled as Bucky now no longer snaps into his “Winter Soldier” persona when triggered.
Who Is the White Wolf in the Comics That Inspired the MCU?
While Bucky Barnes is undoubtedly the “White Wolf” in the MCU, that wasn’t the case in the original source material. In the Marvel comics that inspired the MCU films, Bucky Barnes is not the White Wolf. Instead, the White Wolf is the alter ego of an orphan named Hunter.
According to the official Marvel Comics character database for White Wolf, Hunter’s parents had a plane that crashed in Wakanda. King T’Chaka adopted the infant Hunter as his own. Later, the White Wolf became the leader of the Wakandan Secret Police, also known as the Hatut Zeraze.
There has been some speculation among fans since “The Falcon and the Winter Solider” started airing that Bucky Barnes might formally take on the hero mantle of White Wolf in the MCU. However, as ScreenRant observes, there are logistical reasons tied to the next “Black Panther” film that might make tying Barnes more firmly to Wakanda a bit tricky. The future of planned “Black Panther” films came into question after the death of star Chadwick Boseman.
What Is Bucky’s Real Name in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? What Are His Other Names?
According to the official Marvel bio for the on-screen version of the character, Bucky’s proper name is James Buchanan Barnes, with the “Bucky” nickname being short for his middle name, “Buchanan”. In the MCU, Bucky is best known as the Winter Soldier. In the Marvel comics, Barnes was also the Winter Soldier, as well as even wearing the Captain America mantle himself, for a time.
A running joke in the MCU films is Tony Stark’s tendency to give other characters amusing nicknames, such as when he referred to Thor as “Point Break”, presumably due to the similarity between Thor’s flaxen locks and the look of Patrick Swayze’s character in the film of the same name. In the case of Bucky Barnes, Tony’s nickname of choice was “Manchurian Candidate“, yet another classic film reference.
The actor who plays Bucky, Sebastian Stan, has an unusual nickname himself. According to Nerdist, fans of the Marvel films in China have come up with an unusual nickname for Stan, based on his appearance: “Chubby Dumpling”.