The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) television series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier might address the fan theory regarding Sebastian Stan’s character, Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, being bisexual.

The fan theories are based on the famous MCU 'ship' involving Steve Rogers, aka Caption America, and Bucky Barnes, aka Winter Soldier, with many fans reading their close friendship as romantic. However, Bucky’s character in the comics hasn’t come out as gay or bisexual yet. 

The Lead Writer of the Show Addressed the Fan Theory

The showrunner for the action show, Malcolm Spellman, recently responded to a question about Bucky’s sexual orientation.

While talking to NME on March 26, 2021, the lead writer, Spellman, suggestively said, “I’m not diving down rabbit holes, but keep watching.”

That statement was made in reply to the question of whether The Falcon and the Winter Soldier would give a definitive answer to the theory about Bucky’s sexuality. 

In an interview with GQ in May 2016, when asked about Bucky’s potential romantic angle with Captain America, Stan said, “It’s great” that people would relate to his on-screen character in that way.

He explained movies are for the audience, and they could interpret them in the way they want. However, he revealed that he never thought of his character in that way. “But there’s no right or wrong answer,” he added. 

The First Episode of the Show Hinted at Bucky Being Bisexual

Bucky’s bisexuality was also hinted at in the first episode of the show, titled “New World Order.”

In the episode, the character goes on a date with a server identified as Leah, who inquires about his love life in a future set after the events of Avengers: Endgame. “Have you dated much since half the fish in the sea came back?” she questions. 

Bucky replies he had dated little, but he joined a dating app and came across a lot of “tiger photos.” He then elaborated: “I mean, tiger photos? Half the time, I don’t even know what I’m looking at, it’s a lot.” 

The "tiger" remark quickly gained fans’ attention because it might suggest that Bucky is canonically queer - tiger photos were common on dating apps like Tinder, and they were often associated with men’s profiles a few years ago.

However, the scene doesn’t outright confirm the theory surrounding the character’s sexuality.

According to a recent article in Digital Spy on March 26, 2021, the makers might be “queer-baiting” the audience - relucting to confirm or deny a character’s sexuality.

If Bucky Barnes isn’t a case of “queer-bating,” The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s creative team are teasing the audience at this stage, particularly because the speculation has been going on for quite some time.

Nonetheless, it’ll be interesting to see where the show takes these subtle hints and clues in the remaining episodes.

The MCU show is directed by Kari Skogland and stars Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp, Wyatt Russell, Noah Mills, Carl Lumbly, and Daniel Brühl. A new episode premieres every Friday exclusively on Disney+.