The Winter Soldier has done some pretty horrible stuff during his time in HYDRA. The evil terrorist organization used Bucky Barnes to literally reshape the course of history as they saw fit. The Winter Soldier was their greatest asset. His actions almost allowed HYDRA to take over the world in the second Captain America movie. An asset like that is hard to come by. Given the dangerous missions Bucky used to undertake for them, there’s a high possibility HYDRA kept a back up just in case the original rebelled against them or succumbed to injuries sustained in battle.
A new Marvel fan theory claims that the Black Widow villain – Taskmaster, has a strong connection to Bucky Barnes. Taskmaster, this theory claims, is a clone of the Winter Soldier. Let’s elaborate a little bit on why this sounds plausible.
The Winter Soldier Was Not Perfect & HYDRA Knew It
Bucky Barnes began his life as a soldier fighting for the allies in World War Two. He was injured while on a mission and captured by HYDRA. By that time, Arnim Zola had already injected a version of the super soldier serum into his body, giving him peak human physical conditions. When HYDRA got his hands on him, they gave him a bionic arm, mentally conditioned him, and additional training to turn him into an assassin.
For all his mental and physical enhancements, Bucky Barnes was still a broken man. He would frequently remember stuff from his past despite the intense HYDRA brainwashing. They kept him sedated and under cryogenic suspension. In the end, the Winter Soldier revolted against his captors, just as HYDRA feared he would.
HYDRA’s Super Soldier Obsession Persisted For Decades
It’s not like Hydra did not try to create a more perfect batch of Winter Soldiers that did not need as much maintenance and surveillance. HYDRA had extended the Winter Soldier program to create an elite group of assassins that were even more skilled and powerful than Bucky Barnes. The Winter Soldiers were killed by Helmut Zemo. But it showed HYDRA knew the original Winter Soldier was a flawed concept. And they have made attempts to rectify that error in subsequent initiatives.
HYDRA remained interested in the super soldier program for years. When they found out Howard Stark had created a refined version of the serum, the sent Bucky to kill the Starks and retrieve the compound. This led to HYDRA’s Winter Soldier Program in the first place.
Falcon & The Winter Soldier Revealed The ‘Government’ Was Interested In Super Soldier Blood
The show revealed the existence of a super soldier named Isaiah Bradley. Bradley was the only survivor of a secret experiment on African-American veterans conducted by the Government. He later developed peak human physical attributes, becoming their greatest asset during the Korean War era.
We know all too well HYDRA scientists and operatives slowly and steadily were making headway into the United States government after World War Two. The American administration may not be completely responsible for the experiments. HYDRA scientists could have also spearheaded such an operation. Isaiah was captured and his blood samples were used to perfect the super soldier serum that gave rise to the Flag Smashers. It was Isaiah’s blood – super soldier blood – that unlocked Erskine’s secret formula.
There’s no way HYDRA kept Bucky under captivity and did not extract his blood for further experiments. Since he was the only surviving and stable test subject from the Winter Soldier Program, HYDRA would have decided not to waste time on perfecting the serum for all humans. Rather they would just use a specimen that has miraculously managed to survive the experiment against all odds. Bucky Barnes’ blood would have the DNA that would be the genetic template to create cloned super soldiers.
Taskmaster’s Real Identity Is Kept Hidden On Purpose
Even the timeline of the movie somewhat coincides with the theory. Given the failure of the Winter Soldier Program, HYDRA would have opted for replicating Bucky Barnes and creating clones of him. That would have been a much faster way to create more super soldiers rather than perfecting an experiment that has remained unsolved for over half a century.
The Taskmaster has the ability to mimic any fighting style once observed. From copying Black Widow to the Red Guardian‘s techniques, the Taskmaster is a close combat genius. The Winter Soldier is already a formidable warrior whose close combat skills are legendary. But his greatest asset is his bionic arm. Since the Taskmaster has no mechanical augmentations, HYDRA added a few more abilities to compensate for it. Maybe the Bucky clone had genetic augmentations during the cloning process that gave the person additional ‘mimicking’ skills even the original Bucky does not possess.
Strangers things have happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If this comes true, we wouldn’t be surprised at all.