Steve Rogers retired from superheroism at the end of Avengers: Endgame and passed on the mantle of Captain America – in the form of his shield – to one of his best friends. Surprisingly, though, it wasn’t Bucky Barnes but rather, Sam Wilson. Fans had been fully expecting the Winter Soldier to be the next Cap, with Sebastian Stan having to field questions about the possibility for years beforehand. So why was the decision made for Steve to pick Sam over Sergeant Barnes?
Well, in a video for WIRED, directors the Russo brothers offered “tech support” for fans – essentially, answering Twitter questions. One person asked about this particular mystery and Anthony clarified that it’s Bucky’s “damaged mind” which makes him the less perfect choice to replace Steve.
“The thing we’ve loved exploring about Bucky is [that] he’s got a very complicated history. He has a damaged mind. You don’t want to hand a very powerful weapon to somebody who is vulnerable like that.”
As for Sam, Joe Russo pressed that the Falcon is the ideal second Captain America.
“Falcon is an amazing character who is certainly very deserving of the shield.”
As with several elements of Endgame, the way this ended up has caused some controversy. Due to their life-long friendship, Bucky’s redemptive arc and the fact that he has a similar heightened durability to Steve, many thought it made more sense for him to get the shield over Sam. However, it’s clear the Russos feel strongly that the new Cap needs to be someone purer like Falcon and that perhaps Barnes isn’t yet fully healed enough to do the job.
We’ll see how both Bucky and Sam deal with life after Steve in the upcoming Disney Plus series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which will see them teaming up with Sharon Carter and facing off against Zemo once again. We’d expect that to dig deeper into the reasoning behind Falcon’s promotion in Avengers: Endgame, and you can expect it in early 2021.