[Note: Per some commenter backlash, this article contains spoilers regarding the Winter Soldier's back story. I assumed it was common knowledge. If you don't know, and want to keep it that way, then skip the first paragraph.]
I think we all know that in Captain America 2: The Winter Solider Cap’s best mate, Bucky Barnes is the film’s titular villain. Only a none comic book fan would say “spoiler much?!” Now, comic lore dictates Bucky survives a plane crash sans arm and has amnesia. The Russians pick him up, give him a bionic arm, brain wash him a bit and send him on covert assassin missions. When not in use, they keep him in cryogenic stasis, which extended his life throughout the decades. As we’ve seen, the Marvel movie universe doesn’t exactly follow comic cannon. In Captain America, Bucky doesn’t bite the bullet via a plane crash – he takes a swan dive out of a moving high tracked train. So, right there, his story is already different. We’re left to wonder how he survives to become “The Winter Solider”. Bucky Barnes actor Sebastian Stan is here to give us a clue…
Stan says that if you freeze the rescue scene in Captain America: The First Avenger there is a set piece that gives you a hint to how he survives the fall from the train. He says in an interview with Empire that the clues in the set pieces are very subtle, but they are responsible for his return. The rescue scene in question is when Captain America rushes in and rescues Bucky who is being experimented on by Arnim Zola.
You can watch the scene below:
You’ll notice, or rather not notice, there’s nothing too special. Just a dim light warehouse-y room with some scientific knick-knacks strewn about. One device in particular… some sort of dish-looking-gun thing pointing at Bucky on the table. Maybe Zola was exposing him to some of the cube’s properties without vaporizing him? Or, maybe Zola and the Red Skull were trying to replicate the super solider serum. Who knows!? It’s anyone’s guess. That dish device, though, most definitely has something to do with it.
You got a better guess? Sound off in the comments below!