Mel’s Favourite Movies→ Iron Man 2 (2010) “Well, you can forget it. I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one. To turn over the Iron Man suit would be to turn over myself, which is tantamount to indentured servitude or prostitution, depending on what state you’re in. You can’t have it.”
Okay, here’s some ideas and some questions you can ask when you put together your own MCU!BuckyNat headcanon. These are sick days ramblings, so do with them what you will.
Starting point in their timeline:
Bucky: From some time after WWII to, well, just the last couple years, we know Bucky was in a state of arrested personal growth. We know he had forced amnesia. But we have very carefully *not* been shown the full extent of his interpersonal capabilities as the Soldier. We know he *must* have had a lengthy conversation with Zemo, for example - the infamous mission report he sought - but we didn’t witness it. Additionally, we never see the Soldier interact interpersonally with a cohort; we only see exchanges between him and either bosses or victims. So we really haven’t seen the Soldier’s capacity for relationship. (This factor alone makes me wonder if we’ll see a flashback to demonstrate what this looks like, perhaps in an end credit scene.) But we can surmise he is capable of a relationship that is important enough to shape both of them. And we can surmise in this fantastical setting that as long as Nat is also of age, the age difference is kind of irrelevant.
Natasha: For this writing, I’m going on the assumption that MCU!Nat really was born in 1984, instead of the comics birth year of 1920-something. I’m not entirely convinced one way or the other, except for the fact that it’s the MCU, and even their Captain Marvel casting choice - a character who in the books is a colonel in the Air Force - could only recently legally drink. So having a 90 year old female lead, even if she looks like Johansson, is unlikely. So, earliest year for a reasonable relationship would be Nat at age 19 or 20, so circa 2003/2004 at the earliest. (If she’s older, this whole thing is expanded and complicated!)
Obviously in the comics, he helped train her as an adult. This is a potential starting point for them in the movies but really, if their handlers have any sense at all, they’ll quickly realize they make a fantastic team. That partnership would be a huge boon to anyone who controlled them. And surely their handlers are also arrogant enough to believe that they could control their private lives as well, at least for a while.
Depending on how many interactions you want, they could weave in and out of each others’ lives for several years. We only know for certain that she’s working for SHIELD in Iron Man 2, circa 2010. That’s up to seven years’ time for interactions, coinciding with her making her mark as the assassin Black Widow.
With the time frame being just a few years, and not decades, there’s probably only one real instance of the relationship being discovered by their superiors. We don’t have time for more if she’s born in 1984.
I’m quite confident that whatever else happened, their punishment for their behavior included his memory being wiped, and her memories very definitely being kept intact. I don’t know whether or not she realized the extent of his mind control; but since she endured her own, at some point in time it’s likely to register that he was forcibly wiped of memories of her. She would certainly have realized by the time Steve meets him and recognizes him.
One theory going around is that their separation and punishment was the catalyst for a big relocation for him, from his long-standing connection with Russian HYDRA to being controlled by American HYDRA instead, as in CATWS.
In contrast to that option, I believe that Bucky is still with Russian HYDRA in CATWS and is only on loan. His Russian crew, his Soviet weapons, and the temporary feel of the bank vault storage all suggests this to me. Instead of him transferring to the US, I think a “quieter” punishment happened for them both. I think he was shuffled off to Siberia, then eventually sold - potentially as “damaged goods” - to a different handler in Russia or in another former Soviet country. I think she was probably sent on several unsavory missions and from then on was kept under stricter supervision, and never worked again with a partner.
Being used against each other:
In the comics they first meet again, memories intact, as they’re working at cross purposes. It’s a compelling tension, but I’m suspicious that we’ll not have time for such an arc in the movies.
To my knowledge, there’s not an Odessa-event in the comics. This is unique to the movies, one of them being used against the other before their reunion. This adds a compelling layer of guilt on his part, and complicates her feelings over the years, I expect. This can be the complicating factor of their reunion in the films, since they’re likely to be working together on the same goal when they meet again.
Some folks also add an element of Odessa being a test - Bucky’s handlers sending him after her, wanting to know if he would kill her.
Introducing a loving chapter of their past after audience members first watched them fight each other in a viscerally dangerous situation makes for a fantastic contrast. It’s a unique reveal for the writers to get to play with.
With this reality in the relationship, we also have the potential for Bucky to finally get directly emotional on-screen about a specific past mission of his, to show a specific guilt and grief. He went after Steve, but it goes without saying that Steve forgives him. Sam is another victim, but Bucky didn’t know him at the time, and they’ve slipped into a quietly friendly antagonism. Tony’s loss was just too large to make about Bucky. This regret - that he went after Nat - Bucky can feel keenly and personally.
And we only know about Nat’s self-reported exchange at Odessa, and DC of course. There could be more times when he was sent after her.
Her search (“Going after him is a dead end. I know. I’ve tried”):
The big question here is, when did she look? After Odessa? Before Odessa/right after separation? Both? How did she feel in Odessa if she has a failed search for him behind her?
How did her search interact with her decision to defect? Or did it at all? (See my headcanon below for more on this)
The meaning in the bond:
Was it “only” a single important interlude? That lasted, what, a few weeks? It could have been his first interactions as a human for decades. He could have been her first love. That’s the shortest version, but it’s enough.
Was it a longer series of interactions. Perhaps of multiple training periods? Or partnering up repeatedly?
The biggest sized positive influence is that one changed the other’s life in more concrete way. Maybe they got away together, the Soldier being free for some length of time, before he or they were recaptured. Perhaps he sacrificed himself to get her free of the people who raised her. Perhaps she simply cracked his programming in a way that never fully recovered… which probably made for a brutal few years, but ultimately prepped him for Steve’s presence getting all the way through to him.
My current headcanon:
They trained together, starting a relationship without being discovered. It was quickly realized that they were unstoppable together, and over some period of time, they were used together to complete several missions. On the last one, whatever it was, they were discovered. His mind was wiped and he was stored in Siberia. All of her memories were kept intact as she was used more brutally than before. But she started looking for him. It was no easy feat under the new level of surveillance but she looked. It became an obsession for a certain period of her life. This overwhelmingly obsessive time is what makes her worry about Steve later, when she tells him that he might not want to pull on this thread.
It was during this same time of more brutal missions that she got on SHIELD’s radar. Maybe a year or two after being separated from Bucky - as she *still* actively looks for him - Clint was sent for her. I don’t know how much Clint knew of her reasoning, as he offered her whatever deal he offered. But she knew that choosing her own freedom meant giving up any slim chance there still was that she would find him. She would have even less access to information and leads outside of the country and intelligence structure she knew. She had to decide between her freedom and continuing her search. And we know which one she chose.
Eventually she met him again in Odessa. He looked right at her and didn’t even know her. And he injured her badly, but didn’t kill her. At that point, she would have some confidences she shares with Fury, Barton or both. Even if it’s just allowing a look on her face that she wouldn’t allow with others. I don’t know how many details they knew. But they at least understood through watching her difficult recuperation experience that the Winter Soldier had been involved, and that they had some past connection. This makes her actions in Fury’s bunker in CATWS even more poignant, especially the deleted scene where she confronts him about allowing her to think the Soldier had killed him.
It’s only once Steve has recognized him, and given her his birth name, that she’s able to find one of his files, where a friend works. Only a combination of him being free of handlers and Zemo flushing him out finally gets either Steve or Nat anywhere close to him. And Steve now has both more drive to help him and more “legitimate” history with him, so she lets Steve take care of him, for the most part.
And then eventually their paths as Avengers will cross again.
I don’t think you guys can comprehend the amount of time I’ve been waiting in frustration for them to finish Samurai Jack already. From 2008-2009 I watched as the live action JJ Abrams project fell through. 2009 I told myself as soon as Genndy was done with Symbiotic Titan he would finish Samurai Jack. In 2010 I told myself as soon as Genndy was done storyboarding Iron Man 2 he would finish Samurai Jack. 2010-2012 I told myself as soon as he finished Hotel Transylvania he would put aside the Adam Sandler shenanigans and finish Samurai Jack. Then Popeye got cancelled and that was a shame but hey! More time for Genndy to go finish Samurai Jack! Then they announced a sequel to the Adam Sandler shenanigans m. So I had to wait until 2015 for that to be done. Finally. FINALLY in 2015 they announced Samurai Jack would return in 2016 with Genndy working on it.
Then I had to wait another year when that didn’t happen. I have developed bags under my eyes and numerous ulcers going through every form of public education as well as my entire college career spanning 3 different schools waiting for Jack to stab Aku and get back to the fuckin past.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. has been added to my personal ranking of Marvel Cinematic Universe films. While it did not surpass the first Guardians film for me, or get as high in my ranking as I would have anticipated, it did still make my Top 10! I do love it.