Disney’s Rogers: The Musical had to cut Bucky Barnes’ role due to time constraints, highlighting Marvel’s ongoing trend of downplaying his importance in the MCU. The musical showcased Steve Rogers’ legacy as Captain America and was originally intended to be part of the Disney+ show Hawkeye but was turned into a one-act musical performed at the Disneyland Resort in California. While other characters like Peggy Carter have major roles in the musical, Bucky Barnes only appears briefly at the beginning and in the final musical number, minimizing his significance to Steve’s story.
Composer and conductor Christopher Lennertz admitted that Bucky’s role was reduced to ensure the musical stayed within its designated time limit. This decision resulted in frustration among fans, especially regarding Peggy Carter saying a line that was originally spoken by Bucky. This reduction in Bucky’s role continues the trend of sidelining his character, despite his integral role in Steve’s story and the larger MCU.
Since Bucky’s introduction in Captain America: The First Avenger, his story has been closely intertwined with Steve Rogers’. Bucky’s rescue from Hydra is what propels Steve to become a superhero, and Bucky’s return as the Winter Soldier leads to the revelation and dismantling of Hydra’s influence. However, their close relationship was largely ignored in Avengers: Endgame when Steve chooses to live out his life with Peggy, leaving Bucky behind. Even in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Bucky remains a supporting character to Sam Wilson, further illustrating the trend of sidelining his character.
The reduced role of Bucky in Rogers: The Musical, where he is essentially replaced by Peggy, rewrites Steve’s story in the MCU. This is a deliberate attempt by Marvel to diminish Bucky’s importance to Captain America and the larger MCU. Despite Bucky’s future appearance in the Thunderbolts movie, where he leads a team of reformed villains, it is still a team-up film, meaning he may not get as much screen time as he deserves. Additionally, portraying Bucky as an anti-hero despite his character development and redemption is insulting and shows a lack of respect for his journey.
In the upcoming Thunderbolts movie, Marvel should give Bucky the respect he deserves by exploring his complex legacy, including his disability and his trauma as a brainwashed Hydra assassin. While Bucky may never become the MCU’s Captain America as he did in the comics, his character is still intriguing and warrants a more comprehensive exploration on screen. Instead of cutting his story short, Marvel should prioritize giving Bucky a significant role and a story of his own.
Overall, the trend of sidelining Bucky Barnes in the MCU is disheartening considering his importance to Steve’s story and his compelling character development. Bucky deserves more respect, recognition, and opportunities to shine in the Marvel Universe.