Some Marvel fans have long hoped for a romantic relationship between Captain America and the Winter Soldier, but that pairing has never been written as canon in either the films or comic book series. This past week, however, Marvel comic book writer Mark Waid speculated at the possibility of some romantic tension between Captain America Steve Rogers and his longtime best friend, Bucky Barnes (alias Winter Soldier).
Waid, who has written for both Marvel Comics and DC Comics, was a writer for the Captain America comics during the 1990s. In a news blurb posted on Marvel’s official website, Waid and comic artist Chris Samnee had a quick chat about their upcoming Black Widow #9 and the possibility of Black Widow getting together in a relationship with Bucky Barnes.
While listing traits that the Winter Soldier and Black Widow have in common, Waid said, “[They would] have a lot to talk about when it comes to their days at work. [Both] have had a crush on Steve Rogers at some point in the past.”
When questioned on Twitter about his statement that Winter Soldier once had a crush on Captain America, Waid did not state that his words were intended as a joke or indicating a platonic admiration between the two. Instead, the Captain America writer declared that his words were “open to interpretation.”
Of course, Waid’s brief statement made to Marvel’s website is just that; Captain America and the Winter Soldier are not magically going to start dating in Avengers: Infinity War, and Bucky’s crush on Steve is unlikely to appear as a plot point in future comic books.
Still, to fans of the Captain America/Winter Soldier pairing, the statement is an acknowledgment that Bucky Barnes may not be heterosexual and that canon has the potential to change. Since Waid is an official Marvel writer, his statement on the subject carries a lot of weight for Captain America fans, and some responded with gratitude on social media.
Some fans, however, pointed out that the statement does not hold much weight without canonical representation in Captain America films or comics.
This is not the first time that speculation over a potential Captain America/Winter Soldier romance has made the news. Members of the Marvel creative team behind the Captain America film series have often been questioned about the possibility of Steve and Bucky getting together.
In an interview with Flickering Myth, Chris Evans (who plays Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) confessed that fan buzz over the pairing was “news to [him]” and that he had never intended for their relationship to be interpreted in a romantic way.
“It’s just never been part of my approach to the character. My subtext didn’t involve that dynamic. Maybe I just didn’t do my damn job very well. But that’s what I was going for… Maybe I was just gazing at [Winter Soldier actor] Sebastian [Stan] too much.”
Sebastian Stan has also been asked about the possibility of romantic subtext in the Captain America films. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Stan reacted to romantic Captain America fanart positively, calling it “nice” and saying that “people come to the movies with all kinds of things.”
In late May of this year, Captain America fans looking for queer representation trended the hashtag #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend on Twitter, pushing for Steve Rogers to date a man in the next installment of his films.
The hashtag started trending the same month that Captain America: Civil War hit movie theaters, and while Falcon and Iron Man were also floated as potential boyfriends, the Winter Soldier was the clear favorite. Mainstream media outlets like TIME also reported on the hashtag, with BBC Three even making a mini video about the Captain America/Winter Soldier relationship.
Whether or not Waid supports a Captain America/Winter Soldier romance, his words are certainly enough to excite fans of the pairing hopeful for representation.
[Featured Image by Walt Disney Pictures]