The Falcon and the Winter Soldier director Kari Skogland has admitted that she thinks Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes love each other by the end of the six-episode Disney Plus series, although she’s downplayed all the talk of there being sexual tension between them. With the show focusing on the strengthening partnership of the duo, many fans have interpreted their dynamic as being potentially romantic. Skogland doesn’t see it that way, but she does think there’s a lot of affection there.
For one, there was that moment in the series premiere in which Bucky comments on seeing tiger photos on Tinder, which some saw as a hint that he’s bisexual. Skogland was asked about this in an interview with Variety and she explained that that wasn’t the intention behind the scene, saying:
“I think we just thought of it as an oddity of the times, because he’s so confused by it. Because don’t forget, he’s 106 years old. So he’s just confused by the whole thing.”
Skogland went on to clarify that this joke was meant to address the more general concept of how Bucky “doesn’t fit” in our modern world and not indicate anything more specific than that.
“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. He doesn’t fit. So that was I think more our intention there that try to point to any one particular affinity.”
Though it seems fans read more into this particular moment than was intended, Skogland concluded by explaining that she definitely feels you can describe Sam and Bucky’s relationship as one based on love. The director remains “fluid” when it comes to however this is expressed in the future, but for now she believes there’s no “defined sexuality” to the nature of the pair’s dynamic.
“It’s really love, right? They love each other — at the end. They don’t love each other at the beginning, but they come to a friendship place where they love each other. So I’m not really sensitive to masculinity as any kind of barrier between that love, or how it should manifest. I’m completely fluid when it comes to any of that. So there’s no defined sexuality to any of it. So it’s, really, I think, just affection.”
Fans have been hoping for Bucky to come out as bi for years now, following his close bond with Steve Rogers, but it continues to be a desire that doesn’t seem to be shared by those working at Marvel Studios. It’s possible they’ll get the message at some point, though, and go down this path. From what we can gather, we’ll next see Sebastian Stan reprise his role alongside Anthony Mackie in the just-announced Captain America 4 from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier showrunner Malcolm Spellman.