Sebastian Stan takes center stage in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," and that won't be the last time we see him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The man behind James "Bucky" Barnes recently revealed that he "thinks" he has a nine-picture deal with Marvel Studios — an impressive number, one that falls in line with the agreement Nick Fury actor Samuel L. Jackson has lined up with the studio.
At this point, Stan has already appeared as Steve Rogers' best friend in the World War II era "Captain America: The First Avenger," with his second Marvel appearance taking place in just a few short weeks with "The Winter Soldier." Where might we see him next, with an illustrious seven pictures remaining? Here are some of our bets:
"Captain America 3"
Marvel looks to be preparing for a showdown with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment's "Man of Steel" sequel in May 2016, with a third "Captain America" film going up against the likes of Superman and Batman. What better way to compete than by adding an additional hero in the form of the Winter Soldier? Though perhaps we should use the term "hero" lightly.
"The Avengers: Age of Ultron"
Then again, there's no reason we can't have a Bucky sighting even sooner than a third "Captain America" movie. Supporting characters like Pepper Potts have popped up in the "Avengers" movies before. Why can't one of Cap's supporting characters, like Bucky, appear in the next "Avengers" film? It's a crowded affair already, sure, but there's always room for one more masked man when Joss Whedon is wielding the pen.
Scarlett Johansson's former KGB agent turned S.H.I.E.L.D. operative remains the most powerful and prominent female character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If Marvel won't budge on a Carol Danvers-led "Captain Marvel" solo film, perhaps they'll budge on a "Black Widow" movie. And if that's the case, the Winter Soldier could easily pop in to provide some covering fire, or even some resistance.
"The Winter Soldier"
If he's capable of handling his own comic book series, he can handle his own movie, can't he? Bucky's story goes well beyond Captain America, given the 70 years of history between his supposed death during World War II and the modern age. A solo film could focus on some of the edgier missions we that took place before the "Captain America" sequel.
Beyond "Captain America 3"
It's also worth wondering if Marvel will follow the comics to the letter, by eventually taking Steve Rogers off of the playing field and putting Bucky in the star-spangled suit. That's the way it plays out in the comics, at least for a time. Will the Marvel movies follow suit? If so, it's entirely possible that a Bucky-led "Captain America" movie series is in our distant future.
Where do you expect we'll see Bucky pop up next?