One of the big talking points of Avengers: Endgame is naturally how it wraps up Captain America’s story. At the end of the movie, Cap is tasked with traveling back in time to redistribute the Infinity Stones to their proper places across the timestream. It’s soon revealed that he elected to stay behind in the past though and live out a long and happy life with Peggy Carter. The truth comes out when an elderly Steve Rogers is discovered to be sitting by a nearby lake.
Old Man Steve then proceeds to give Sam Wilson his shield and invites him to become the next Captain America. While Falcon is clearly dumbstruck by this whole turn of events, Bucky Barnes is standing by, apparently grasping the whole situation very well.
According to the Russo brothers, that’s because Bucky knew what Steve was going to do before he disappeared into the Quantum Realm. The filmmakers didn’t explain how he knew, but they confirmed that he does by pointing to the importance of his emotional farewell beforehand. “Especially when he says goodbye,” Joe Russo explained to EW. “He says, ‘I’ll miss you.’ Clearly he knows something.”
The question for fans to debate now is how did Bucky know? Is it just a deep knowledge of how his old pal thinks? Or has Steve already confided in him what he’s about to do? These are both feasible possibilities, but it has to be noted that the Russos also teased that there could more of Old Cap’s story to tell, pointing out that there’s still the question of how elderly Steve returns from his alternate timeline to the prime universe.
Could that be tied into how Bucky knows? Could he have already encountered Old Cap before this moment? At the very least, it seems the pair have already talked about who should take over from Steve as Cap. After all, Rogers shows no hesitation in offering the shield to Sam and Bucky wastes no time in encouraging him to take it.
It looks like we’ll have to keep waiting to find out what the full story is behind Avengers: Endgame‘s emotional final scene, but maybe some light will be shed on it in Disney Plus’ Falcon and Winter Soldier show?