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The Black Panther Callback You May Have Missed In The Falcon And The Winter Soldier

Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) has had an interesting journey through the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far. After falling from the train in Captain America: The First Avenger and being transformed into a cybernetically enhanced assassin for The Winter Soldier, he's got decades of trauma to unpack. Thankfully, he already started on the road to recovery after he went on the run with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) at the end of Civil War, which led him to a very special place in the MCU: Wakanda.

The latest episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier briefly called back to his time hanging out in the secretive African nation with T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Shuri (Letitia Wright) as he pieced himself back together after Hydra messed with his mind. During Bucky and Sam Wilson's (Anthony Mackie) mission to an abandoned location outside of Munich, the former assassin starts stealthily looking for the Flag Smashers. It leads to a brilliant line from Wilson, who jokes that "a little time in Wakanda, and you come out White Panther".

Sure, it's a good joke, but Barnes quickly corrects him and retorts, "it's actually White Wolf." Of course it is, Bucky.

Bucky did a semester abroad in Wakanda, and now he's the expert

In the comics, White Wolf was a white man named Hunter who was the sole survivor of a plane crash that took the lives of his parents. He was adopted by King T'Chaka and raised in Wakanda. Even though the country's citizens were wary of Hunter, he still loved Wakanda and dedicated himself to training as hard as he could to one day take up the mantle of Black Panther.

Obviously that didn't quite go as planned, since T'Challa rightfully donned the high-tech suit as King after T'Chaka's death. However, Hunter's dedication impressed T'Challa so much that he appointed him the leader of the Wakandan secret police, the Hatut Zeraze, and named him the White Wolf.

Because the Marvel Cinematic Universe often puts its own spin on some of the source material, giving Bucky the White Wolf mantle makes sense. After all, thematically it works; he is a lost orphan who needs looking after. T'Challa also called him the White Wolf before the Battle of Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War, which brings up the question of whether Bucky carried out any secret missions for Black Panther during his stay in the country. Although if he did, we doubt he wore a bright white version of the sleek suit worn by the King.

However, it could just be a simple nickname used by T'Challa — maybe just riffing on the obvious fact that he's a lone wolf. Either way, it was a nice callback to another moment of Bucky's history in the MCU.