There are a lot of actors who are today some the biggest stars in Hollywood thanks to the long-term roles, the kind of roles that main MCU actors have. And although the biggest stars we can think of are Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Scarlett Johansson, one of them is also the Romanian-American actor Sebastian Stan, who’s been part of the MCU as James Bucky Barnes aka the Winter Soldier since 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger.
Stan initially auditioned for the role of Steve Rogers (just like Tom Hiddleston initially auditioned for the role of Thor), but we know who got that role in the end. Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan both debuted in the first Captain America movie, and Evans played the role until 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, which said farewell to the first Captain America. Last year, Disney+ The Falcon and the Winter Soldier established Anthony Mackie as the new Captain America, and Stan also reprised the role of Bucky Barnes.
But, although he’s still part of the MCU 11 years after he debuted as Bucky Barnes, Stan never knew that he’ll play the role beyond Captain America: The First Avenger. He opened up about his whole MCU path for Vanity Fair.
“I certainly did not know that I would be playing the role for ten years. I remember going in for the Steve Rogers role, not getting that, and then getting a call about this role and being told about it and where it could go, but it didn’t seem that there was any commitment really and the MCU was still very young at the time. There was always a humble sort of, kind of attitude from Kevin and everybody there, which was like, ‘Look, we have plans and we want to make these movies and we want to keep building this universe, but we don’t know, it could work, it might not work.’ […] But I knew at the end of the story, I was going to fall off this train, and then I was going to be given this green sleeve, which would indicate that I would be losing this arm and then I could go into the Winter Soldier storyline. And so that was the only sort of indication I had that potentially I could be coming back, but no one had said anything to me. And then basically on the day when we were shooting that scene, they were like, ‘Yeah, we’re not going to do the green sleeve.’ And I just thought ‘Oh, like, that’s it like, I’m just going to die on that train, there’s no coming back,’ but they just didn’t know what arm they were going to use or something and [it] kept going from there.” — Sebastian Stan for Vanity Fair
It’s unknown what’s next for Stan’s Bucky in the future of the MCU. What is known is that Captain America 4 is in development, and Anthony Mackie is set to reprise the role of Sam Wilson, who became the new Captain America last year. The return of Stan as Bucky is definitely expected, but it still wasn’t officially confirmed.