Central to the story in Captain America: Civil War will be the government’s insistence on superhero regulation but a secondary plot, and possibly more important to the larger MCU, will be the relationship between Steve Rogers and his longtime friend Bucky Barnes.
It’s clear from the trailers that Marvel really wants to emphasize the history between these two characters and continue to grow their relationship into something deeper—even if that means Captain America puts his life on the line. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo actually discussed the bond between these two, describing it as a “love story.”
“What’s fascinating about the Cap-Bucky story as well is it’s a love story,” Joe Russo explained. “These are two guys who grew up together, and so they have that same emotional connection to each other as brothers would, and even more so because Bucky was all Steve had growing up.”
In The First Avenger, Bucky supported Steve and had his back through thick and thin; in The Winter Soldier, however, we came to find out that Bucky, who was thought to be dead, had been brainwashed into a super assassin. This will complicate matters going into Civil War, which will find a rehabilitated Bucky try and absolve himself from the crimes he committed while under Hydra’s influence.
“Is he good or is he bad?” Joe Russo asked. “Steve has to answer that question for himself, and there are other characters in the movie who hold the opposite point of view. It becomes very explosive. It incites a lot of conflict.”
Their brotherly love will be in stark contrast to the growing dissension between Captain America and Iron Man, who are on opposing sides of the Sokovia Accords debate. Ultimately, we’ll see how Rogers’ loyalty to Barnes affects the group dynamic, and what kind of long-term repercussions there are.