SPOILERS for the final moments of Marvel's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier from the outset, so if you have yet to see the Disney+ series then please, look away now. Throughout the show, Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes is working hard to make amends for his assassin past, leading many fans to believe that the character would leave behind the moniker of The Winter Soldier. While there is nothing as noticeably symbolic as Sam Wilson's transition into the new Captain America, according to the show's creator and head writer Malcolm Spellman, Bucky is indeed The Winter Soldier no more.
"I think Bucky enters this thing truly believing he is kind of the Winter Soldier no matter what anyone says. By the end, he has the moment with the old man, but more importantly, nobody has caught this... I've been saying it all day. In the scene with the Flag-Smashers in Episode 6, when one of those people gets out of that van and thanks Bucky, that's his first time being a hero. So by the end of this series, Bucky is emerging as having shed the burden of the Winter Soldier. He has found a new family, ironically, it's a Black family in Louisiana, you know what I'm saying? And he has tasted being a hero for the first time. And I think he's now free to become something amazing."
One of the last things the show does is assert that Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson is now Captain America, and it does this by changing the end title card from the familiar "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" to instead read "Captain America and The Winter Soldier". Many had seen this coming, expecting the final title card to read "Captain America and The White Wolf", or even "Captain America and Bucky Barnes". Well, Spellman wants audiences to look past this.
"I hope people will forget that end title card as being an indicator of a commitment from Marvel. I think he has slayed that dragon, personally, and I don't think I'll be in trouble for that. So when Bucky enters the series, he's never ever shaken what he believes, which is, 'I remember everyone, murders, which means that part of me was there, which means a part of the Winter Soldier is me.' And if even a fraction of Winter Soldier is you, you are an awful person. You know what I'm saying?"
Interestingly, Spellman has now revealed in a separate interview with THR that he had planned for the title card to read something different come the series' end. "I got to see that moniker [White Wolf] in watching one of the cuts, and man, it really affected me emotionally," Spellman shared. "I believe they wanted the impact of Captain America and the Winter Soldier to land. And I do think that had they done Captain America and the White Wolf, it might not have been as emotional of a landing because it's too much math and too much evolution. But I don't know for sure what it was. I got blindsided by that while watching the cut - but I loved it."
Do you think the final moments of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier would have been more effective had it hammered home Bucky's shedding of The Winter Soldier persona? The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is now available to stream in its entirety on Disney+. This comes to us courtesy of Comicbook.com.