Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers for Black Panther.
Black Panther certainly had a lot going on in it. While it was ultimately about a new king finding his own moral footing, between the large number of characters and overall moral ambiguity, there was a good deal for audiences to digest.
On one hand, there were those who thought Wakanda should keep the status quo in terms of their foreign policy, while others (like Killmonger) wanted a complete overhaul. Add in the extra stuff with Klaw and the supporting characters, and you have a veritable smorgasbord of conflict.
But what about good ol’ Bucky Barnes? Here was a character we knew was in Wakanda, but played absolutely no role until the post-credits scene. Was this how they’d originally planned it, or was it a last-minute deal? Speaking on the Empire Podcast, director Ryan Coogler said:
“That was something that was always in there. It was a Shuri thing, because you know in our world we kind of figured that Bucky Barnes would be her assignment. We kind of drop the hint at that when they bring Ross in and she’s like, ‘Oh another one.’ So, we dropped hints in there, but the idea for that, what we kind of decided, we decided was that her cracking his mental code, if Shuri’s as smart as she is, that wouldn’t really be a big problem. But Bucky would have horrible PTSD, he would need spiritual guidance.”
While it was a cool appearance, some may have been unhappy with how short it ultimately was. Did they miss an opportunity to incorporate him into the narrative?
“The last thing he would need to do is like jump into that Civil War, and so that was kind of the thought process there. And it could be potentially problematic, you know what I mean, if it’s a bunch of Africans fighting and you bring in a white dude, he comes in shootin’ people like that. We were obviously aware of that. Bucky’s not trained to like neutralize people peacefully, he’s an assassin. We were like, ‘I don’t know if we can do that.'”
He certainly has a point. While there was some action, it ultimately felt bloodless, since the two opposing factions were working to neutralize, not kill (after all, they’re all Wakandans). That’s not exactly Bucky’s M.O.
What do you think of their choice to pull back on Bucky’s involvement? Let us know your thoughts down below!