While the mid-credits of Black Panther featured Chadwick Boseman's King T'Challa revealing the true Wakanda to the world, the post-credits dealt with the return of a familiar face: Bucky Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier. The scene showed a one-armed and rehabilitated Bucky (Sebastian Stan) meeting Shuri (Letitia Wright) before they set off for an unknown mission. However, according to Executive Producer Nate Moore, this scene was initially planned with a slight twist.
Moore indicated that while they wanted to depict Bucky no longer brainwashed, they were contemplating how whole they should show him again, especially after Iron Man took out his bionic arm in Civil War and T'Challa took him in. "We also wanted to hint at, 'OK he's fixed?' What does that mean going forward?" More said in an interview with Empire Online. "We do have this little film called Avengers: Infinity War coming up. We wanted to have Bucky back and up and around, because he will have a role to play in that film."
From the Infinity War trailer, it seems he gets a vibranium replacement from the Wakandans, but for Black Panther Moore felt showing this too early was out of place since they wanted to focus on the human aspect of the character. "We did discuss [giving him a new arm]. There was a version when it was in, there was a version where it was out. The truth was, he felt more human when he wasn't whole in Winter Soldier."
Bucky will be lining up with T'Challa's army, as well as Captain America's rogue Avengers in Infinity War, so Moore also didn't want to highlight him ready for war right after Shuri helped restore his humanity by breaking his mind control. "He could just be Bucky and that's why I think it was important for him as a character to go, 'not Sergeant Barnes, my name's Bucky. I am a person, I am no longer a soldier.'"
In theaters now, director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan as N’Jadaka/Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Winston Duke as M’Baku, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Forest Whitaker as Zuri and Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue.