Thunderbolts Bombshell Death Plans Would Have Been Bucky’s Perfect Ending


  • Bucky’s MCU redemption journey isn’t complete yet despite progress in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
  • Original ending for Marvel’s Thunderbolts had team dying, possibly to tie up loose story threads.
  • Bucky’s heroic death in Marvel’s Thunderbolts could bring his MCU journey full circle, but he still has work to do for redemption.

The original ending for Marvel’s Thunderbolts was reportedly going to be pretty dark, but it would actually have worked perfectly for one of its key characters: Bucky Barnes. Bucky has had a rough go of things in the MCU so far, from nearly dying, to being brainwashed, to trying to pick up the pieces after finally being freed from HYDRA’s control. Though he has seemingly been on the path toward redemption since Captain America: Civil War, his most recent appearance in the MCU timeline proved Bucky still has a ways to go until he is fully redeemed.

Bucky’s last MCU appearance was in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and while Bucky is clearly making progress toward being a hero, he still has some work to do. His next appearance will be in Marvel’s Thunderbolts where he might lead the team of Marvel misfits. After all, Bucky has more experience than Yelena, and has a more level head than Red Guardian or John Walker, aka US Agent. Even if Bucky doesn’t end up leading the team, Marvel’s Thunderbolts could be his path to redemption, and the film’s original ending could have done that perfectly.


Thunderbolts Cast & Marvel Character Guide

Several MCU characters return for Phase 5’s Thunderbolts, a team of antiheroes and reformed villains attempting to follow in the Avengers’ footsteps.

The Thunderbolts Reportedly Ended With The Team’s Deaths

MCU Thunderbolts line-up reveal in promotional art

According to reports by The Hollywood Reporter, the original script for Marvel’s Thunderbolts would have ended with the team dying on their mission. This would sort of make sense, given the team seems somewhat under-powered to be going up against the film’s rumored villain: Sentry. This type of ending would have been a major first for the MCU, and would likely have served as a way to tie up loose story threads that Marvel didn’t want hanging around as it transitioned into Phase 6. However, this no longer seems to be the case, according to new reports.

Joanna Calo of Netflix’s The Bear has since been brought on to work on a new version of the script for Marvel’s Thunderbolts. Calo is the second major talent from the Netflix series to join the MCU recently, with star Ebon Moss-Bachrach recently being cast as Ben Grimm in Marvel’s Fantastic Four. Though what specific changes Calo will be making to Marvel’s Thunderbolts is unclear, it does seem as though Marvel may be pivoting away from killing off the team. This may be to help future MCU plans align more with Bob Iger’s plan to rely more on sequels.

Marvel Has Failed To Redeem Bucky Properly

Though Bucky Barnes is no longer the villainous Winter Soldier, that doesn’t mean he has been fully redeemed in the MCU yet. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier shows that Bucky has been trying to make amends to the families of all the people he hurt while he was under HYDRA’s control. This is a good concrete step toward Bucky getting better, but is also one that he is only truly getting started with by the end of the Disney+ series.

Bucky has also yet to have a moment since being redeemed where he was pursuing a heroic endeavor purely on his own volition. Joining the fights in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame wasn’t quite the major heroic decision that would work for this storyline, as the alternative was basically to let the entire world get destroyed.

Bucky is seemingly more motivated in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier by getting Steve Roger’s shield back to Sam Wilson than anything else. He even admits that a large reason for doing so is to prove Steve was right about Sam, and by extension right to believe in Bucky.

Why Bucky’s Death Would Have Completed His Redemption

Bucky Barnes in therapy in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Before becoming the Winter Soldier, Bucky seemingly laid down his life fighting for a noble cause in World War II. This heroic sacrifice was then somewhat ruined when he was used as a deadly assassin by the very people he was trying to stop. By allowing Bucky to make a heroic sacrifice in Marvel’s Thunderbolts, the MCU would basically have brought him full circle back to his apparent death, this time having him actually die heroically instead of being turned into a villain. This would bring Bucky’s MCU journey full-circle to a satisfying conclusion.

Though Bucky’s heroic death would have been a very thematic way to complete his MCU redemption, that doesn’t mean it’s the only option Marvel has. If Bucky is being given a second lease on life, then Marvel can show him putting in the hard work to finish making amends. This could even be more satisfying, as simply killing Bucky off might seem like letting him avoid doing the hard work necessary to make up for his past actions. Of course, Marvel’s Thunderbolts may still kill off Bucky and just spare the rest of the team in the new script.

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