The Falcon and the Winter Soldier writer has addressed the fan theory that Bucky Barnes might be bisexual in the new Marvel series.
Eagle-eyed Marvel fans spotted a hint that Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier, might be queer in the first episode of the new Disney Plus show. In the episode, Bucky goes on a date with a waitress who asks him about his dating life, and he responds by discussing how he tried the “whole online dating thing”.
But he admitted that it’s “pretty crazy” because there were a lot of “weird photos”, specifically highlighting how he had seen “tiger photos” while looking through dating profiles. Tiger photos were notorious on dating apps, and they were especially prevalent on men’s profiles.
So LGBT+ fans were excited to see that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier writers could be hinting that Bucky Barnes is canonically bisexual considering he was viewing dating profiles for both men and women.
Malcolm Spellman, the showrunner and lead writer of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, addressed the fan theory in an interview with NME. He was asked if Bucky’s sexuality would be revealed in the upcoming episodes, especially after the bombshell dropped during the opening of the series.
Watch: The Falcon And The Winter Soldier trailer
“I’m not diving down rabbit holes, but just keep watching,” Spellman replied.
Bucky has never self-identified as queer in the Marvel universe, but fans have labelled the brainwashed assassin turned hero as part of the LGBT+ community. Many cited the especially close relationship with Bucky’s best friend and Captain America, Steve Rogers.
Just two episodes into the new series, and it’s hard to also ignore the gay subtext between Bucky and his new crime-fighting partner, Sam Wilson/The Falcon. There’s been a scene where the pair roll around together face-to-face in the grass, and the pair were also forced into ‘couples therapy’ together. Bucky’s therapist insists the pair complete an exercise designed to help lovers “figure out what kind of life they’re trying to build together”.
This is then followed by a “soul-gazing” exercise which ends up with Sam and Bucky gazing into each other’s eyes and getting so close that their thighs are interlinked.
While some fans are still waiting on bated breath for more, others have accused Marvel of queerbaiting fans eager for more LGBT+ representation. David Opie, deputy TV editor for Digital Spy, argued in a recent article that Marvel “toys with audiences by suggesting LGBTQ+ romances without ever validating the queerness of these relationships in any tangible sense”.
“That way, Marvel gets to have its cake and eat it too by drawing in queer fans while not offending the homophobic demographic of their audience,” Opie said. “Bisexual Bucky™, as he will be known from henceforth, has always been at the forefront of this queer-baiting in the MCU, even before Falcon and the Winter Soldier arrived.”
He added that, by revealing Bucky Barnes to actually be bisexual, Marvel could “make a world of difference to all the queer fans out there who don’t see themselves reflected in the heroes they love”.
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