The Falcon and the Winter Soldier fuelled a lot of theories with one seemingly innocent line in its series premiere. While on a date, Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes discussed how he doesn’t understand Tinder, mentioning his confusion over the trend for users to post tiger photos. Seeing as this trend is predominantly male-led, fans inferred that Bucky must be swiping right on men’s profiles, which seemed to be a subtle indicator that he’s bisexual.
As Marvel lovers continue to campaign for more LGBTQ representation in the MCU, there’ve long been hopes that Bucky’s sexuality would be deeper explored and this tiny moment in Falcon‘s opening episode seemed to suggest this could be about to happen. Obviously, though, now that we’ve seen the whole show, we know that this wasn’t the case.
In an interview with Variety looking back at the series, director Kari Skogland has addressed the thinking behind the “tiger photos” line. Skogland clarified that the intention was simply to highlight Bucky’s confusion for the world of 2020, given that he’s over 100 years old, and wasn’t meant to be a shrouded comment on his sexuality.
“I think we just thought of it as an oddity of the times, because he’s so confused by it,” she says. “Because don’t forget, he’s 106 years old. So he’s just confused by the whole thing.”
Variety notes that Skogland laughed when discussing all the interest in this particular piece of dialogue, indicating that she’s very familiar with what’s being said online. She went on to say that she and Stan didn’t ever talk about the potential bisexual reading of the line, though, and it’s just about how it showcases Bucky’s nature as an outsider of the community.
“What we were really more trying to display was his complete lack of technical skills, as well as being part of any kind of community,” she says. “He doesn’t fit. So that was I think more our intention there that try to point to any one particular affinity.”
In this same interview, however, Skogland did admit that she views Sam and Bucky as having a lot of “love” and “affection” for each other by the end of the six episodes. “They love each other,” she stated, but stressed that she doesn’t think there’s a “defined sexuality” to the nature of their relationship. That said, the director remains “completely fluid” about where their partnership could be taken in the future.
The next time we will see the pair is likely Captain America 4. In the meantime, don’t miss the new episode of Marvel Studios: Assembled, which goes behind the scenes of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, on Disney Plus now.