Perhaps we’re nonetheless basking within the real love story that was WandaVision, however Disney+’s new Marvel present The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has us fascinated by heroes kissing. Once more. TFATWS comes with a spark of hope that Marvel will proceed its development of , but this time with a twist: It’s another in a long line of hints that Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier, is bisexual.
In the March 19 premiere of TFATWS, Bucky goes on a date with a woman. He hasn’t been dating much since the Blip (or since World War II), but he says he’s used dating apps. He finds them weird, and not just because Bucky grew up in a world where advanced technology was the phonograph — no, he finds dating apps weird because of the tiger pictures.
Come again, Buck?
“It’s crazy,” he tells her, before looking confused and shrugging it off with a sip of beer. It must be said that Sebastian Stan excels at this exact brand of Bucky humor, the combination of man-out-of-time, reformed mercenary, and just a young dude trying to go about his day. But in this moment, there’s something else at work. Bucky may have just revealed a personal detail that has nothing to do with his vibranium arm or history of violent crime.
Anyone who’s been on a dating app in the past decade knows that tiger pictures, which Tinder cracked down on due to the unethical situations most selfie-ready tigers dwell in, are primarily discovered on males’s profiles. They had been a part of the when each man wished to appear like a touring adventurer and took all his profile pics in a rainforest, or carrying a backpack on a mountain, or sure, hugging a closely sedated tiger. Only a few ladies have tiger selfies, so the percentages of Bucky noticing sufficient of them to touch upon it are low. Except, after all, Bucky is taking a look at males’s profiles.
TFATWS is nothing if not a present a few bunch of people that all kissed Captain America and actually miss him, okay?
And but, the truth that it’s Bucky saying he retains seeing tiger pics on relationship profiles suits in with the MCU’s 10-year historical past of writing his character with a soupçon of queer subtext. Bucky’s preliminary fascination with Captain America’s physique, his meta-role in Steve’s narrative because the broken and distressed object of want, and the truth that his relationship with Cap was robust sufficient to wake him after a long time of brainwashing (the no homo equal of real love’s kiss), are solely a number of the queer character kernels Bucky’s followers have treasured as potential fact. There are entire blogs devoted not solely to the pairing of Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes collectively, but in addition to celebrating the potential depths in Bucky’s one-sided bisexual eager for connection (and likewise that point ).
Each infrequently Marvel throws a bone at followers who wish to see extra queer illustration within the MCU, and previously these bones have often been Bucky’s. Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil Struggle director Joe Russo referring to the strain and want for reconciliation in Bucky and Cap’s relationship. A love story, Russo clarified, with “the identical emotional connection to one another as brothers would.” Positive. There have been extra feedback like these, which at all times put the onus of interpretation on the viewers, and so they had been by no means supposed to result in illustration on the time they had been made.
Additionally, bear in mind Sharon Carter? After all you don’t. She’s again for TFATWS after Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil Struggle struggled to drive her chemistry with Steve as a result of he was too busy chasing Bucky. TFATWS is nothing if not a present a few bunch of people that all kissed Captain America and actually miss him, okay?
All this to say The Falcon and the Winter Soldier might be not going to make Bucky canonically queer. Disney is notoriously insufficient on the subject of LGBTQIA illustration, at finest doling out solutions and scraps throughout its varied properties. Add within the MCU’s (are Cap and Peggy good? Or are they only all we had?) and we’ll be fortunate to see Bucky a lot as flirt with one other human for the present’s the rest.
Later this yr, Marvel’s Eternals will function the primary out homosexual superhero within the MCU pantheon with Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos. It’s a step, perhaps the one step in direction of Marvel being corporately snug with queer individuals of their franchise (Joe Russo’s cameo as a sad gay survivor in Avengers: Endgame however, as a result of that was ridiculous). Bucky’s fan-projected bisexuality could be an even bigger deal, and so all of the aforementioned historical past and potential willingness to get a little bit gayer leads us again to: the tiger photos.
The reference is just too particular to be unintentional. It’s doable that the road was written by somebody who is aware of the widespread errors males make of their relationship app profiles and forgot to reframe the joke for a straight man. Together with it in a scene in any other case supposed to inform us that Bucky is desirous about ladies looks like a helluva wink, now immortalized on display screen whether or not it was supposed to taunt or encourage. Bucky is canonically swiping on tiger pics and you may decide for your self what meaning concerning the people posing for them.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is streaming on Disney+.