Considering the sequel's title, it should come as no surprise that Sebastian Stan is set to return as James "Bucky" Barnes in Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
The confirmation, unofficial as it may be, comes from Variety following news that The Hurt Locker co-star Anthony Mackie is in talks to play Captain America's one-time partner the Falcon in the follow-up to last year's hit. The trade paper also reiterates that, like most of the key actors in Marvel's films -- including Captain America star Chris Evans -- Stan signed a six-picture deal with the studio.
Captain America's World War II sidekick, Bucky was long been depicted in Marvel comics as dying in the same 1945 explosion that left the Sentinel of Liberty in suspended animation in a block of ice. However, at the beginning of Ed Brubaker's epic run on Captain America in 2005, it was revealed that an amnesiac Bucky actually survived the explosion and, fitted with a bionic arm, served as an assassin for the Soviet Union known as the Winter Soldier, a secret revealed in the present day only after he seemingly killed the Red Skull and launched a terrorist attack on Philadelphia. His memory restored with the help of Captain America and the Cosmic Cube, he reteams with his former partner and even assumes his mantle following the apparent assassination of Steve Rogers.
That last part seems unlikely to be depicted on screen, considering it would mean the loss of Evans for at least the bulk of one film, but the rest of storyline is prime material for the Russo brothers-directed sequel. Could that then mean we'll see the return of Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull, and even the addition of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow (who's sitting out Iron Man 3)?
Stan, who appeared earlier this year on ABC's Once Upon a Time, can currently be season on USA Network's Political Animals.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens April 4, 2014.