By the closing scenes of Avengers: Endgame, it became pretty clear that Steve Rogers’ superhero days were over, but in the movie’s final minutes, we see him pass on the Captain America mantel to his buddy Sam Wilson. Though this likely put a smile on the face of those who were pushing for Falcon to inherit the title, it’s probably safe to say that at least as many were hoping that Bucky Barnes would be next to carry the shield.
If you read the comics, you’ll know that there have been multiple people to have wielded the shield in recent years, and given that both Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson have taken the gig, it could’ve gone either way for their live action counterparts in Endgame. So, why did the Russos choose Sam over Bucky then?
Well, that’s a good question, and in a recent interview, the directors explained their decision as follows:
“Cap and Bucky are brothers but you know what’s interesting about them is they’re very different people and I think that Bucky always has the ability to have his mind corrupted, it can always be taken over by someone else. That hasn’t been resolved for him and Sam has his free will and I think that Sam also had a similar ethic as Cap as far as service goes in the military.”
Continuing on, the pair said:
“Sam still retains that spirit of service to the community and he lives in that circle very clearly in the movies. Comic books and movies are very different and our interpretation of the characters if you’ve been following the movies are very different from what the books are so as it stands in these films, Bucky is still a damaged character who I think feels like he doesn’t want the shield and I think that ultimately Sam is a character with free will who is the closest in morality to what Cap was and Cap believes he deserves it.”
Fair enough, and while Avengers: Endgame finished off with Steve giving up the Captain America persona, it still left the studio with some potential avenues with which to continue the character’s story, thanks to the notion of the alternate timelines and all that. Nonetheless, the next Captain America we see on our screens will probably be the Sam Wilson version, and we’ll find out how he fares in the role when the Falcon and Winter Soldier TV show hits Disney Plus.
That is, unless it’s a prequel. If that’s the case, then we imagine it’ll be a few years yet before we see Sam take on the mantle of Captain America.