Upcoming MCU Show Has Perfect Opportunity To Resolve A 6-Year-Old Bucky Mystery

Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier with King T'Chaka in What If...?

Marvel Animation’s upcoming Eyes of Wakanda series has the perfect opportunity to explain more about a six-year-old MCU mystery concerning Bucky Barnes’ Winter Soldier. Created in collaboration with Ryan Coogler’s Proximity Media, Marvel Animation confirmed the development of Eyes of Wakanda in December 2023, set to expand the world of the MCU’s Black Panther franchise. Todd Harris, who served as a storyboard artist for Marvel Studios, is the series’ creator and director, and while no premiere date has been scheduled, Eyes of Wakanda is expected to release on Disney+ in 2024, perhaps before the live-action Agatha All Along in September.

While little is still known about Eyes of Wakanda, a brief synopsis for the series released during a Marvel press release in December 2023 revealed that the show will delve deeper into Wakanda’s history in the MCU. Eyes of Wakanda will explore the “brave warriors” who have traveled around the world throughout history to retrieve “dangerous vibranium artifacts” in an effort to protect Wakanda and its secrets. As well as revealing more about the history of Wakanda, Eyes of Wakanda may also present the perfect opportunity for a six-year-old mystery concerning Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes to be addressed.

Throughout Wakandan history, brave warriors have been tasked to travel the world retrieving dangerous vibranium artifacts. This is their story.

The MCU Still Hasn’t Explained Bucky Barnes’ White Wolf Persona

Bucky Barnes as the White Wolf at the end of Black Panther

Following the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Bucky Barnes sought refuge in Wakanda to recover from his HYDRA conditioning. He was revealed to still be residing in the hidden African nation at the end of 2018’s Black Panther, where he was also gifted his new moniker, White Wolf. Prior to this, Bucky Barnes was known as the Winter Soldier, HYDRA’s elite operative who carried out heinous acts for the organization, and while Bucky has dealt with the impact of his actions as the Winter Soldier in the years since, his new identity of the White Wolf deserves exploration.

Sebastian Stan returned as Bucky Barnes in 2021’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+, where he grappled with his past as the Winter Soldier. The series saw him name himself the White Wolf, but even though this mystery began six years ago, Bucky hasn’t actually suited up as the White Wolf or fully embraced this new identity. There is speculation that Bucky Barnes could finally become the White Wolf in Marvel Studios’ upcoming Thunderbolts*, but Marvel Animation’s Eyes of Wakanda may explore the history of this identity even further prior to the 2025 movie.

Marvel’s Eyes of Wakanda Show Can Reveal A Deeper Meaning To The White Wolf

King T'Chaka fighting Peter Quill in What If...? season 2

In May 2024, Marvel Studios’ Head of Streaming Brad Winderbaum spoke to Comicbook.com to reveal more about two upcoming Marvel Animation shows: Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and Eyes of Wakanda. While discussing the latter, Winderbaum revealed that the series would be told from the perspective of the War Dogs, the secret intelligence service of Wakanda, of which Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia was formerly a member. The War Dogs are an underdeveloped piece of Wakanda’s culture in the live-action MCU, so the animated Eyes of Wakanda series has the perfect chance to explore the skilled Wakandan spies.

Eyes of Wakanda is an MCU show. This is the history of Wakanda as told through the War Dogs, and it is some of the best animation we’ve ever done. Todd Harris is the creator of that one. That’s just such a cool show.

Exploring the history of Wakanda and the War Dogs means that Eyes of Wakanda could also expand on the mythos of the White Wolf in the MCU. The White Wolf, similarly to the Black Panther, is presumably a mantle passed from one warrior to another, suggesting it may reach back several decades into Wakanda’s history, with Bucky Barnes only being the latest hero in a long line to assume the moniker. The White Wolf’s connection to the War Dogs in Marvel Comics also solidifies the idea that the mantle will be explored further in Eyes of Wakanda.

War Dogs & The White Wolf: Marvel Comics History Explained

White Wolf as a villain in Marvel Comics

The MCU’s War Dogs are adapted from the Dogs of War in Marvel Comics, also known as the Hatut Zeraze. This elite tribe of Wakanda’s secret police made its first appearance in 1998’s Black Panther (Vol. 3) #4, introduced as a group responsible for the imprisonment, torture, and extermination of Wakanda’s enemies. The Hatut Zeraze initially investigated King T’Chaka’s assassination by Ulysses Klaw, but the soldiers were banished from Wakanda when T’Challa ascended to the throne, as the new King and the latest Black Panther abhorred the Hatut Zeraze’s brutal methods of interrogation and extermination.

After their banishment from Wakanda, the Dogs of War continued to operate, unbeknownst to T’Challa, under the leadership of the King’s adopted brother, Hunter, a.k.a. the White Wolf. T’Challa and Hunter regularly came at odds because of the latter’s staunch nationalism and lack of compassion, and Hunter’s hatred for T’Challa, blaming him for their father’s demise. The White Wolf considered N’Jadaka, a.k.a. Killmonger, a good fit for the Hatut Zeraze upon his arrival in Wakanda, orchestrated the kidnapping of T’Challa’s fiancée, Monica Lynn, and later manipulated Shuri to banish T’Challa from Wakanda.

While Hunter didn’t have any superhuman abilities as the White Wolf, unlike his brother, the Black Panther, he was still an incredibly skilled hand-to-hand combatant. He also had access to advanced technology and equipment created in Wakanda, including a White Wolf habit similar to T’Challa’s suit as the Black Panther, advanced cloaking technology, and energy-dampening boots, allowing him survive falls, walk on water, and shatter or weaken objects. The White Wolf is the perfect dark mirror to the Black Panther in Marvel Comics, but this hasn’t yet been translated into the White Wolf of the live-action MCU.

How Eyes Of Wakanda Can Set Up Bucky’s Thunderbolts* Storyline

Bucky Barnes in the shadows in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

While the true nature of the White Wolf hasn’t been explored properly in the MCU yet, Marvel Studios’ upcoming Thunderbolts* could actually mark this evolution in Bucky Barnes’ storyline. Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes will be featured in the MCU’s Thunderbolts team among several other reformed villains and antiheroes, and has been speculated to be the team’s de facto leader, perhaps following in the footsteps of Steve Rogers’ Captain America among the Avengers. This presents the perfect opportunity for Bucky’s identity of the White Wolf to be developed, and Eyes of Wakanda could set the stage for this evolution brilliantly.

Thunderbolts* is scheduled for release in May 2025, while Eyes of Wakanda will premiere sometime in 2024, so the animated series can explore the history of the White Wolf before Bucky Barnes embraces the moniker in live-action. While the White Wolf’s rivalry with the Black Panther perhaps won’t be adapted for the MCU, as Bucky has no quarrel with Letitia Wright’s Shuri, it would still be fantastic to see Bucky suit up in a superhero costume of his own. Eyes of Wakanda may debut a villainous White Wolf before Bucky Barnes transforms into a bona fide hero in Phase 5.

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