In case you didn’t notice from the the movie’s title, the Winter Soldier is a really important player in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Therefore, we thought you should know as much about him as possible. Beware of spoilers.

Bucky Barnes’ transformation into the Winter Soldier is a long and interesting story, in the comics as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In both versions of his story, Bucky is a loyal friend-turned brainwashed enemy who embarks on a journey to reclaim his identity. It’s also the tale of a sidekick that’s elevated from his subordinate position and forced into the role of the anti-hero.

By studying the events and circumstances surrounding the Winter Soldier in the comics, we can try to predict where his story could go and how it could develop in future installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Without further ado, here’s a brief version of everything you need to know about Captain America‘s Winter Soldier.

Bucky’s origins

In Marvel comics

Young Bucky

Bucky Barnes, born James Buchanan Barnes (after the 15th President of the United States), made his debut in Captain America Comics #1 in 1941. He was the son of a soldier killed in training at U.S. Army Camp Lehigh in Virginia. As a kid, he became a sort of mascot for the camp and quickly befriended the awkward pre-injection Steve Rogers.

Bucky developed a deep admiration for Captain America and was floored when he caught his close friend Steve Rogers changing into his star-spangled uniform. Bucky underwent extensive physical training and was accepted as Captain America’s partner. The boy was used as a rallying agent for America’s youth.

Bucky went into the trenches with Captain America, fighting everyone from Nazis to the Red Skull. He also joined a group of sidekicks called the Young Allies and was retconned as the organizer of the World War II supergroup, the Liberty Legion.

The story of Bucky Barnes, Captain America’s sidekick, seemingly came to an end when the two of them squared off against Baron Zemo. The villain had intended to destroy an experimental drone by launching it with an armed explosive on board. Bucky and Captain America reached the drone as it was taking off, but Bucky was unsuccessful in disarming it. The bomb exploded in mid-air, seemingly killing Bucky instantaneously and propelling Captain America into the North Atlantic where he was frozen for decades before being found by The Avengers.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Bucky Captain America: The First Avenger
James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes is just another kid from Brooklyn. When he was young, he met Steve Rogers, the boy who would soon become his best friend, after saving the boy from getting beaten up by bullies. Bucky stayed by Rogers’ side through thick and thin (including the death of Rogers’ parents), vowing “I’m with you ’til the end of the line.”

After the attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entrance into World War II, Bucky enlisted in the army and was given the title Sergeant Barnes. A year after enlisting, Bucky’s unit went up against HYDRA. Of the 200 that entered battle, only 50 were able to escape. A few days later, Steve (in his first outing as Captain America) infiltrated HYDRA’s base and freed the survivors of the unit, bringing them back to their U.S. camp.

Later, when on a mission with Captain America and the rest of their commando unit (called the Howling Commandos), Bucky and Captain America are caught in the crossfire on a train speeding through mountains. Bucky blocks Rogers from HYDRA operatives with Rogers’ shield but is blasted out of the train on impact. Rogers tries to save Bucky but fails and Bucky fell into a freezing cold river below.

How Bucky became the Winter Soldier

In Marvel comics

Winter Soldier comic

Soon after the drone’s explosion, Russian General Vasily Karpov found a one-armed, frozen Bucky. The boy was revived in Moscow but suffered greatly from amnesia as a result of the explosion. General Karpov took advantage of Bucky’s amnesia, reprogramming him to become a Soviet assassin called the “Winter Soldier.” Karpov replaced his missing arm with a metal bionic arm that’s constantly updated with the newest technology.

Over the years, the Winter Soldier has ruthlessly committed political assassinations that greatly impacted the Cold War. According to Marvel’s profile on the Winter Soldier, he’s an Olympic-level athlete and talented acrobat. He’s also highly skilled at hand-to-hand combat, whether he’s armed or not, and is an incredible marksman. In addition to these physical talents and abilities, he’s also proficient in Russian and German.

Karpov’s exploitation of Bucky’s amnesia was not without its complications. The amnesia makes him mentally unstable, so he is kept in a cryogenic stasis in between missions (which also explains why he looks like he hasn’t aged much since the 1940’s).

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Winter Soldier electric chair

Bucky survived the icy plummet off of the speeding HYDRA train. How? Well, when Rogers found him during that first extraction mission, Bucky was strapped to a table in some sort of lab. Considering that the Red Skull was hell-bent on reproducing Dr. Erskine’s formula, it’s easy to infer that the experiments that Bucky was subjected to somehow helped him survive the fall from the train.

HYDRA operatives found Bucky frozen in the river and revived him before bringing him back to one of their bases. As shown in one of the Winter Soldier’s memories in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, HYDRA scientists and Arnim Zola (presumably after Zola was granted clemency by SHIELD) amputated what was left of Bucky’s left arm and attached a bionic one in its place. HYDRA completely brainwashed and reprogrammed Bucky to make him into the Winter Soldier, a highly-trained and dangerous assassin who would work on their behalf. As in the comics, the Winter Soldier was cryogenically frozen in between missions, which accounts for his youthful appearance.

Continue on to the next page to finish our history lesson and read a few of our predictions for the Winter Soldier’s future.

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Hollywood reacts to ‘Begin Again’ director’s candid criticism of Keira Knightley’s acting skills

Should the trust between actors and directors ever be broken?

10:33 am EDT, May 30, 2016

After Begin Again director John Carney’s candid comments about Keira Knightley’s acting went viral, Hollywood has taken to Twitter to defend the British actress.

In case you’ve somehow not heard the story, here’s the sitch:

Over the weekend, The Independent released an interview with Irish director John Carney, in which he had some harsh words for former colleague Keira Knightley.

The pair worked together on the 2013 musical rom-com Begin Again, where Knightley starred opposite Mark Ruffalo as a promising young folk singer recovering from a broken heart.

Carney evidently wasn’t satisfied with Knightley’s performance, claiming she “always has an entourage that follow her everywhere so it’s very hard to get any real work done.”

Related: Exclusive: Keira Knightley, Joe Wright talk Anna Karenina and the choice to set it in the world of theater

Going on to praise both Ruffalo and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine’s performances, Carney said, “I think that that’s what you need as an actor; you need to not be afraid to find out who you really are when the camera’s rolling. Keira’s thing is to hide who you are and I don’t think you can be an actor and do that.”

“I like to work with curious, proper film actors as opposed to movie stars,” he continued. “I don’t want to rubbish Keira, but you know it’s hard being a film actor and it requires a certain level of honesty and self-analysis that I don’t think she’s ready for yet and I certainly don’t think she was ready for on that film.”

Carney concluded, “I learned that I’ll never make a film with supermodels again.”

Now, Carney clearly had a frustrating experience working with Knightley on this film, and his distinction between ‘proper film actors’ and ‘movie stars’ may be legitimate in theory. Begin Again certainly wasn’t the great critical hit that Carney’s Once had been, and at the time of the movie’s release, Keira Knightley herself admitted that she struggled with the material, not being a singer-songwriter herself and having no great appreciation for music.

“It’s terrible. I know nothing about music whatsoever,” she told The Guardian. “I was always more into reading and drama. I was such a geek. … There’s often a huge link between music and memory. And I’ve got such a bad memory.”

But the issue Hollywood professionals have with Carney’s comments seem to have less to do with Knightley’s specific performance, and more about the fact that Carney made these comments at all.

Ava DuVernay certainly makes a great point about why Carney should have stayed silent:

Both industry professionals and notable journalists have joined DuVernay in speaking out against Carney. Here are some of their reactions:

All the same, there are some that find Carney’s candidness refreshing.

What do you think? Should John Carney have held back his criticism of Keira Knightley out of professional courtesy? Or was he right to share his negative experience?

John Carney rose to international fame with Once in 2007, and this year he’s coming out with a musical drama titled Sing Street.

Spectre director Sam Mendes is officially not returning for more James Bond movies.

While we wait for (almost certain) confirmation that Daniel Craig won’t reprise his role as 007 in the next James Bond film, we can at least contend with the knowledge that Sam Mendes will not direct Bond 25.

The two-time James Bond director came on board the franchise for the wildly successful Skyfall, but his follow-up Spectre was not considered as great of a success.

Even before Spectre‘s release, Mendes was talking about quitting the all-consuming franchise, saying at the time, “I don’t think I could go down that road again. You do have to put everything else on hold.” But it was only during a Welsh literature festival that he finally confirmed his departure.

Related: Quantico’s Priyanka Chopra doesn’t want to be a Bond Girl, she wants to be Bond

“It was an incredible adventure. I loved every second of it, but I think it’s time for somebody else [to direct],” said Mendes, as quoted via The Sydney Morning Herald. “I’m a storyteller. And at the end of the day, I want to make stories with new characters.”

Bond 25 is likely to be completely new chapter of the franchise, with Daniel Craig set to follow Mendes’ lead and officially announce his departure soon. Everyone’s been expecting him to bow out ever since his controversial promotional campaign for Spectre, and it’s even more likely now that his two-time collaborator has called it quits.

On the speculation about who might replace Craig, Mendes says, “I can guarantee that whatever happens next it will not be what you expect.”

“[Bond producer] Barbara Broccoli chooses who is going to be the next Bond, end of story. And without that there would have been no Daniel Craig because public support for Daniel was zero. It was her saying: ‘That man over there, he’s going to change the whole tenor, I’m going to cast him.’ That turned the whole thing on its head,” says Mendes.

Rumor has it that Tom Hiddleston is in talks to be the next James Bond, but until we learn more, we can speculate away as we wish! It’s also time to start making those Bond 25 director wishlists. Anyone know if Ava DuVernay is available?

How will ‘The Flash’ finale affect the ‘Arrow’-verse?

Or will it at all?

11:00 am EDT, May 29, 2016

In the final moments of the Flash‘s season 2 finale, Barry made a decision that could have major ramifications for the other Arrow-verse shows.

It looks like The Flash is headed in the direction of Flashpoint, a comic book story in which Barry saves his mother and creates an alternate future in which he never became The Flash, and the world is in chaos. I’ll do a more in-depth look at this story later in the hiatus.

On The Flash, the death of Barry’s father sent him on a downward spiral that resulted in him going back in time and stopping The Reverse Flash from killing Nora Allen. Barry watched as his season 1 counterpart faded away as the timeline changed before assuring his mother that she was safe.

It’s early, but I’ll take a shot at theorizing what this change could mean not only for The Flash but the other Arrow-verse shows as well.

The Flash season 2, episode 18 recap Barry, Caitlin, Cisco

‘The Flash’

All we know about The Flash‘s third season so far is that Tom Cavanagh will be back as a series regular, indicating there will be some version of Harrison Wells in play. I believe that is likely to be the Earth-1 version of Wells, the one who Eobard Thawne murdered and whose identity Thawne stole, since the original timeline of those events has been changed.

There is also a good chance that when Barry returns to the alternate future he’s created, he’ll no longer have his speed since there would have been no impetus for Barry to become a CSI. Without being at his lab at CCPD, he wouldn’t have been thrown into a rack of chemicals when he was struck by lightning, thus granting him powers.

It’s also likely Barry also won’t be as close with the West family, since he wouldn’t have been taken in and raised by them, which will be heartbreaking.

We also know that the original Harrison Wells’ particle accelerator wasn’t meant to go active until several years after the one Eobard Thawne-as-Wells created; he wanted to expedite the process so he could return to his own time. If that timeline remains the same, there won’t be nearly as many metahumans on the the loose since the particle accelerator created the majority of those we’ve met.

Flash and Arrow crossover


Stephen Amell doesn’t know whether the Flash finale will affect Arrow, though it will be odd if it doesn’t since time across Earth-1 has been changed. “I do know that we’ve done a lot of work on Arrow to introduce the other shows, for lack of a better term, and now that that’s all done, we’re focused on doing the things that we do well for season 5,” he tells

He adds, “Arrow is at its best when we’re dealing with problems in Star City. We’re not a time-travel show, we’re not a multi-Earth show, though obviously [we do that] with crossovers and stuff like that. We’re Arrow, we deal with Star City, and I feel like we’ll be better off focusing on that.”

Considering Barry was directly responsible for the Team Arrow’s survival in Nanda Parbat at the end of season 3 as well as when Vandal Savage attacked in the season 4 crossover, though, it seems impossible that such a major change in time wouldn’t affect the group in some way, especially if there is no longer a Flash.

One change I wouldn’t mind seeing would be Laurel’s survival, but I won’t hold my breath.

Legends of Tomorrow season 1, episode 1 recap team

‘Legends of Tomorrow’

One reveal from the Flash finale that seems especially likely to impact Legends in some way is the appearance of Jay Garrick, Henry Allen’s Earth-3 doppelganger. In the comics, Jay Garrick is one of the founding members of the Justice Society of America, which the Legends finale introduced via Rex Tyler.

John Wesley Shipp has teased that the writers are excited to explore more of the Jay Garrick character, and he speculates that will include the JSA. It will be interesting to see if he crosses over to that show at any point.

As for the time travel change, if the team does take on the role of the Time Masters, as they’d considered doing before Rex Tyler’s arrival, that seems like a major event for them to take notice of.

It’s also worth noting in the comics during Flashpoint that Leonard Snart is a hero in Central City known as Citizen Cold — I’d love to see Wentworth Miller (who will recur on both Flash and Legends next season) play that part for a bit.

Supergirl season 1, episode 18 airs tonight Kara, Barry

Bonus: ‘Supergirl’

Some are theorizing that this change may, somehow, merge Kara’s world with the Arrow-verse now that Supergirl is on the same network with the other shows. I’m not quite sure how that would work, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it since Kara and Barry are an absolute delight together — and we know a major four-series crossover is in the works.

All that being said, there is also the possibility that the Flashpoint events will remain on The Flash, such as in an alternate universe, because of the concern that too many viewers of Arrow in particular don’t also watch The Flash and don’t want to have to catch up just to understand the show. This is a complexity of having a shared universe.

While I understand that concern, however, I feel like storytelling concerns should take precedent. And if you’re going to create that shared universe, you need to embrace what comes with that, including shows having direct affects on one another.

How do you think the ‘Flash’ finale will affect the ‘Arrow’-verse?