WARNING: The following contains potential spoilers for upcoming MCU Movies.
It would be hard to argue that the concept of the ‘cinematic universe’ has done anything less than revolutionize the way we regard movies in modern times. The concept of intertwined worlds where characters are all connected and impacted by events in every movie is a fascinating and complex idea. There is, however, an undisputed creative throne upon which Marvel sits highly; they’ve earned it. Perhaps their greatest achievement is their ability to draw fans in with subtle hints, clues and nods to their overarching world. These clues are referred to as ‘Easter Eggs,’ and Marvel Studies does them better than anyone else.
From hiding Captain America’s shield in Iron Man 2, to Thanos’ appearance in the post-credit scene of Marvel’s Avengers, Marvel Studios has given us clues of events to come since the very beginning. Fans flood into theaters with every release to try to find them and with each new movie, there are plenty that are missed. Captain America: Civil War was no exception, until now. With that, I’d like to present The Winter Soldier Theory.
Bucky Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier, has been in the background for most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chronologically speaking, he made his first appearance in the MCU timeline long before most of the beloved characters with whom we’ve become familiar. After decades of brainwashing, he escaped the captivity of the villainous HYDRA and fell back into the hands of his longtime best friend Captain America. Of course, 70+ years of slavery via mind control would leave anyone with some moderate PTSD. This was conveyed through a host of ‘trigger words’ that, when spoken in a concise order, and in Russian (for some reason), re-activate The Winter Soldier’s mission-ready state of mind. In case you missed it, it goes (in English):
“Longing, Rusted, Seventeen, Daybreak, Furnace, Nine, Benign, Homecoming, One, Freight Car”
This is a swarm of Easter Eggs to other pieces of the MCU. For example, “Homecoming” represents the title of the new Spiderman movie as a nod for Spiderman having been in this film. “Freight Car” is likely a nod to The Winter Soldier’s ‘death’ in Captain America: The First Avenger. These have been discovered and analyzed to death. However, I firmly believe that three of these words are more significant than the others, and a clear indicator of the next evolution of the Bucky Barnes character.
- “One” – This trigger word represents the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity: Captain America: The First Avenger. In the MCU timeline, this is the movie where the first events took place. It was the birth of Captain America and, more relevantly, the introduction to Bucky Barnes.
- “Nine” – Captain America: The Winter Soldier was Bucky Barnes’ second appearance and the unveiling of The Winter Soldier character. This is the second of two trigger words that set up the real Easter Egg:
- “Seventeen” – Disregarding Spiderman: Homecoming, which is a creation in partnership with Sony and not an exclusive Marvel Studios production (even though the events will take place within the MCU), the seventeenth movie to be released in the MCU canon: Black Panther. This will be the next big role that The Winter Soldier plays. Mark my words, he will impact the story of Black Panther in a big way. Suddenly, the realization that he was frozen in the country of Wakanda seems to make a lot more sense, eh?
Marvel Studios is the long-running champs of dropping Easter Eggs into their films. As their universe continues to evolve, we will, no doubt, continue to see these hints and clues of foreshadowing and it is on us, the fans, to find them and speculate them to death. Look forward to seeing me proven right when Black Panther hits theaters on February 16, 2018.