According to two CBRBucky Barnes will be the “most stable” member of the titular antihero line-up in Marvel Studios’ upcoming Thunderbolts movie. Bucky has been through one of the most poignant redemption arcs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Steve Rogers’ childhood best friend seemingly died a hero’s death in World War II, but he was kidnapped by Hydra, brainwashed to become a cold-hearted killer, and pumped full of knock-off Super Soldier Serum to turn him into the perfect assassin.
Since his dark days as “the Winter Soldier,” Bucky has embarked on a long road to redemption, from Captain America: Civil War thaw The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
10/10 When He Let Steve Live
Steve Rogers was faced with a unique predicament Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He couldn’t just beat the villain to a pulp and call it a day. Since the titular antagonist was his brainwashed best friend, he wanted to save him.
In the final battle, Steve refused to fight Bucky and told him he’d be with him “to the end of the line.” This repeated childhood line gave Bucky enough of a glimmer of familiarity to spare Steve’s life.
9/10 When He Pieced Together His Past
After Steve offered a faint reminder of his former life in the final battle of The Winter Soldier, Bucky made a concerted effort to learn about his past. In the post-credits scene, he went to a museum exhibit about Captain America to figure out who he was before Hydra brainwashed him.
When Steve caught up with Bucky in Captain America: Civil Warhe was still living off the grid and trying to piece together his long-forgotten backstory.
8/10 When He Joined Team Cap
In Captain America: Civil War, the villainous Baron Zemo set out to tear the Avengers apart. His plan started with framing Bucky for a terrorist attack, then listing off his trigger words to bring out the Winter Soldier in his prison cell.
After Steve saved Bucky from the prison attack, he talked him out of his Winter Soldier state of mind. When Bucky was back, he joined “Team Cap” in the battle over the Sokovia Accords. This was Bucky’s first step towards becoming a normal superhero.
7/10 When He Was Rehabilitated In Wakanda
At the end of Civil War, Steve called on his new ally T’Challa to provide both himself and his best friend with political asylum. Wakanda gave Steve a place to hide from the US government and Bucky a place to get over his Hydra brainwashing.
The highly advanced scientists of Wakanda, led by T’Challa’s younger sister Shuri, started working on a cure for Bucky’s brainwashing so they could start to rehabilitate him.
6/10 When He Joined The Fight Against Thanos
In Avengers: Infinity War, when T’Challa traveled out to the Wakandan wilderness to bring in a rehabilitated Bucky, Bucky simply asked, “Where’s the fight?” T’Challa replied, “On its way,” and Bucky prepared to join Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in their most difficult fight to date.
At this point, Bucky was still a soldier jumping into action to take lives on command. But at least he was on the right side of this particular fight, battling Thanos and his armies.
5/10 When He Started Attending Government-Mandated Therapy
The pilot episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier reintroduced the Falcon and the Winter Soldier separately before bringing them together in the show’s second installment. Bucky was shown to have been pardoned by the government in exchange for attending therapy sessions.
It may have been mandated by the government, but going to these therapy sessions proved that Bucky was committed to leaving Hydra’s influence behind and taking back control of his own mind.
4/10 When He Partnered Up With Sam Wilson
In its second episode, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier became the “buddy cop” series that fans were promised. Bucky took another step closer to a regular superhero career when he teamed up with Sam Wilson to take down the Flag Smashers.
Sam and Bucky bickered a lot throughout their first adventure together, but at least they were on the same page about doing the right thing.
3/10 When Innocent Civilians Thanked Him For Saving Them
Bucky finally got the chance to feel like a real hero in the finale episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. He and Sam headed to New York for the climactic standoff against the Flag Smashers. While Sam was saving politicians, Bucky was down on the street, saving civilians.
When a couple of these civilians thanked Bucky for his heroic efforts, he gave them a bewildered look – he’s not used to being appreciated like that.
2/10 When He Came Clean To Yori
At the beginning of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s run, Bucky was shown to have befriended an elderly Japanese man named Yori. Unknown to Yori, his son’s unsolved murder was the work of the Winter Soldier.
Bucky initially thought that just being nice to Yori would be enough to alleviate his guilt, but it wasn’t. At the end of the series, inspired by Sam’s courage, Bucky came clean to Yori, finally clearing his conscience.
1/10 When He Went To Louisiana To Stay With The Wilsons
The emotional catharsis at the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier saw Bucky traveling back to Louisiana to visit Sam, his sister Sarah, and Sarah’s kids. This time, he decided to stay.
Bucky finally stopped closing himself off from the world and expecting the Winter Soldier mindset to come back. He joined Sam and his family and embraced his new “White Wolf” moniker.
NEXT: 10 Ways ‘Truth’ Is The Best Episode In The Falcon And The Winter Soldier