With the official line-up of the seven members set to feature in Thunderbolts having been announced at the D23 Expo, fans were quite intrigued with the addition of Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes into the mix. The film, which is set to be the ultimate conclusion to Marvel’s much-awaited Phase 5, will be directed by Jake Schreier. Yelena Belova, played by Florence Pugh, is set to lead the anti-hero ensemble. While most details are under wraps, fans can look forward to a fruitful premise.
When it comes to fandom culture, we all know shipping is an integral part of it. There has not been any form of mainstream media that did not thrive on the art of shipping. Thunderbolts is no such exception to such a facet of fandom endeavors, with many advocating for Yelena Belova and Bucky Barnes as the newest MCU couple, paralleling a Tony and Pepper-esque dynamic.
Yelena And Bucky: The Next Power Couple Of MCU?
Fans of MCU, upon seeing Yelena and Bucky paired up next to each other, were quick to jump the shipping bandwagon. Many are now convinced that the two will develop a budding romance while working alongside in the anti-hero team-up film. However, while some proclaim their love for the potential pairing, others have expressed disdain.
When it comes to Florence Pugh‘s Yelena Belova, the character, as confirmed by writer Devin Grayson in an interview, is “more likely to identify as asexual”. While Yelena’s asexuality has not been explored within the range of her MCU appearances, some fans believe that shipping Bucky with her is not a great idea.
Others have also argued that Yelena might also be aromantic, having little to no romantic attraction for anyone. However, the only canonical confirmation we have as of yet points towards her confirmed asexuality.
Several shippers who enjoyed the comic-book relationship of Natasha Romanoff and Bucky Barnes have also voiced opposition against the potential pairing of Yelena and Bucky, believing that their grouping would never stand a chance against the chemistry shared by the former couple. Interestingly enough, the Marvel Cinematic Universe never truly explored the comic-book dynamic shared between the Winter Soldier and Black Widow.
Fans’ Reaction To The Potential Thunderbolts Pair
It is clear that the entire fandom is split over the pairing. While there’s no confirmation that Thunderbolts will feature a blossoming romance between the two, most are hoping for it. Others, on the other hand, are strongly opposed to the idea. Amidst such a scenario, it would be interesting to see the approach taken by Marvel.
While people may have differences in their opinions toward the pairing, what most can agree on is the two would make a superb team, irrespective of whether it’s platonic or romantic.
Take a look:
Called it a few tweets ago 🤞🏼 pic.twitter.com/1RsWzgpS4u
— zero 👾 (@zerocantmiss) September 10, 2022
— alias (@itsjustanx) September 10, 2022
Same. I don’t know if I’d ship it lol, but there are countless people who will, guaranteed
— Jay (@Jay_Zech) September 10, 2022
DO NOT FUCKING START SHIPPING YELENA AND BUCKY I SWEAR TO GOD
— k⚜️ (@flossiepughs) September 10, 2022
if i see a single person ship yelena and bucky… pic.twitter.com/TNJA0z0rTl
— jennah (@quakebelova) September 10, 2022
not to be that person, but if they pair bucky with yelena is going to be the weirdest shit ever for so many reasons ⚰️
— winx (@brooklyndogtags) September 10, 2022
Whether Marvel Studios chooses to bring the comic book canon of Yelena’s sexuality and explore it further within the MCU or it decides to actively push for a romantic angle shared between the new mantel bearer of Black Widow and the Winter Soldier will be revealed in the near future. As for now, putting the shipping discourse aside, most fans have other elements to worry about, such as the absence of Baron Zemo as the front-running member of the much-awaited team-up.
To say the directional course and the casting choices taken by the studio have blindsided the fans would be an understatement. Only time can tell how the premise would live up to fans’ expectations.
Thunderbolts, featuring Florence Pugh and Sebastian Stan, among others, will see its theatrical release on 26 July 2024.