Warning! Spoilers to follow for Black Panther. Come back later if you haven't seen it yet.
While there are movie fans everywhere celebrating the success of Black Panther from the outside looking in, Sebastian Stan isn't in such a position. Instead, because of his small part in the movie's second end credits scene, he is technically a part of the Wakanda family. This is obviously pretty cool, and based on the actor's social media it's something of which he is pretty proud:
Along with the caption "Dreams are never free #WakandaForever," Sebastian Stan has posted today what is technically the first non-theatrical look at Bucky Barnes a.k.a. The Winter Soldier in Black Panther. There isn't any kind of specific information available regarding where the Instagram photo came from or when it was taken, but based on the evidence provided, it looks like it was snapped at some point during production -- the shot clearly being on a monitor.
To provide a bit of context, fans first saw The Winter Soldier head to Wakanda in the end credits of Captain America: Civil War, with the idea being that the brainwashed hero could stop being a danger to himself and others if kept in hibernation. Because of this, there were many who wondered if he would have a part in Ryan Coogler's Black Panther, and it turns out they were right... kind of. In the new movie's second special stinger, Bucky is shown alive and well living in Wakanda, not only getting along with Letitia Wright's Shuri, but earning a special new nickname from the locals: The White Wolf. His cameo in the film is incredibly brief, as he doesn't do much more than wake up in a hut and walk outside, but it's still a fun moment for fans, It's not made entirely clear how long he has been awake and active, but it certainly seems like he is doing a good job with his recovery.
Of course, in many ways it's just a tease for what's next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Joe and Anthony Russo's The Avengers: Infinity War. As seen in the first trailer for the film that was released a few months ago, Wakanda seems to play a very important role in the upcoming blockbuster, so it's kind of a big deal that there are multiple heroes already hanging out there. This is a list that obviously includes both Black Panther and Winter Soldier, but there has been continuing question regarding whether or not Captain America has been living in the African nation as well (currently a fugitive because of the Sokovia Accords). The post-credits scene is a nice little table-setter that also prevents the need for the next movie to explain why Bucky is awake.
Fans can now see Bucky Barnes back up on the big screen in Black Panther, which is playing in theaters everywhere worldwide, but in a few weeks he will once again be back, with The Avengers: Infinity War arriving on May 4th.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.