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.

Pages: 1 2

After all that talk of inclusivity, Star Trek Beyond falls into the Hollywood trap of implied sexuality.

Mild spoilers for Star Trek Beyond.

Star Trek Beyond, already a wildly anticipated movie, made headlines ahead of its release because of the franchise’s decision to introduce the first openly LGBT character: Mr Sulu, played by John Cho.

While this decision was certainly met with excitement, there was disappointment, too. The original Mr Sulu, George Takei, openly voiced his opinion that they should have introduced a new LGBT character rather than expand on original canon (as they have been the whole trilogy), while Simon Pegg beautifully argued that there was power in using an established character who wouldn’t be defined by his sexuality.

Then came the movie itself, and while the introduction of gay Sulu is still a great thing, we’re left sorely disappointed by Beyond‘s decision to depict the LGBT relationship — or rather, hardly depict it at all.

As reported by our friends at The Mary Sue, the scene featuring Sulu and his husband Ben depicts a “lukewarm” relationship, although Sulu is very affectionate with the pair’s daughter.

This is, unfortunately, a common problem in Hollywood when an LGBT couple — almost impossibly — makes it into a big franchise film. They’re allowed to be there, but having any kind of physical interaction even remotely resembling what a heterosexual couple might have still seems to be off-limits.

Related: Hollywood is failing the LGBT community: GLAAD slams Disney, Paramount and Warner Bros.

And, according to John Cho, there was actually a kiss filmed. “There was a kiss that I think is not there anymore,” he told Collider. “It wasn’t like a make-out session. We’re at the airport with our daughter. It was a welcome-home kiss. I’m actually proud of that scene, because it was pretty tough.”

Cho points out that Ben was played by a non-actor, writer Doug Jung, and says, “Obviously, I just met the kid, and then Doug is not an actor. I just wanted that to look convincingly intimate. We’re two straight guys and had to get to a very loving, intimate place. It was hard to do on the fly. We had to open up. It came off well, in my view.”

And we wish we could have seen it. Introducing a major LGBT character in the Star Trek franchise is a fantastic first step, and depicting two POC actors raising a child together is a great statement — but, unfortunately, the decision to cut out their kiss (which was already chaste, by the sounds of it) is emblematic of Hollywood’s continuous phobia of depicting LGBT relationships and intimacy on the big screen.

As Screen Crush also points out, this exact same scenario played out in Independence Day: Resurgence, too. In Finding Dory, the lesbian couple are only implied, in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sequence.

LGBT representation (when present at all) is always so subtle, evidently in fear of offending straight audiences while not totally erasing non-straight sexualities. And, sadly, even that is considered a big step forward — but maybe it’s time we start depicting humanity as it is, and not what society wished it was 100 years ago.

Here’s looking at you, Star Wars.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reviews from theater critics are glowing, so when the hell can Americans get a chance to see the play in New York?

With just days to go until The Cursed Child script book is released around the world, The New York Post’s theater reporter has spoken to sources who say the play will be coming to Broadway sooner rather than later. Producers are currently holding discussions to bring the play to NY as early as 2017.

They haven’t yet announced a Broadway engagement for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” but New York theater people say it’s only a matter of time. Word is that Friedman and Callender are in negotiations for a Shubert theater possibly for next season. They may hit Toronto first, however.

The idea of The Cursed Child hitting Broadway so soon (“next season” could mean around May 2017) will come as a relief to American Harry Potter fans who would rather not travel overseas to see “the eighth story” (though it’s a little more affordable to do so right now thanks to #Brexit). It also speaks to this important fact: It’s important to see The Cursed Child rather than reading it.

If the show does go to Toronto first as The New York Post suggests it might, a trip to Canada would also be easier for Americans. Sorry, people who don’t live in North America.

This writer saw the play in June and absolutely loved the characters and magic happening on stage. But the story is… not the best. I’m very eager to see what fans, myself included, think of the story after reading the script book this weekend.

For her part, Rowling has promised that fans around the world will get to see the play. Only time will tell if she’s hinting at a movie or a world tour:

If ‘Cursed Child’ comes to Broadway next year, will you try to see it ASAP?

The West End production currently has dates running into May 2017, but additional dates are expected to go on sale in early August.

Present day Han Solo may’ve left the main Star Wars series after the events of The Force Awakens, but the character’s time in movie theaters is far from over.

The new Han Solo film from Lucasfilm — scheduled to hit theaters in May 2018 — might turn into a trilogy for the reluctant hero, according to the New York Daily News.

The paper reports that star Alden Ehrenreich has signed a three-picture deal, suggesting that the studio intends to expand the Han Solo spinoff into a trilogy. “They feel that his character has the right potential to become a central figure in several movies,” a source told NY Daily News. “They’re keeping things under wraps at the moment, but the deal is that he has signed for at least three movies.”

This makes a lot of sense given the popularity of the character coupled with his absence in Episode 8 and beyond. We also know that Lucasfilm and Disney have many, many grand plans for Star Wars in the years ahead: The very first Star Wars theatrical spinoff, Rogue One, opens later this year. Episode 8 then hits theaters a year later (2017), followed by Han Solo’s own movie (2018). Next comes Episode 9 in 2019, followed by yet another spinoff reportedly focused on Boba Fett in 2020.

As for 2021 and beyond? Only time will tell, but we expect more movies set in the worlds of The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and now Han Solo.

The Han Solo spinoff will be directed by LEGO Movie helmers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. They’re currently deep into pre-production, as this tweet from Lord this morning shows:

“This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with,” the directors said last July. “We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”