The ending of Avengers: Endgame has proven controversial to many fans, with no topic more hotly debated than Captain America’s final scene. The moment, in which an elderly Steve Rogers reveals he went back in time to live the life he always dreamed, had to serve as both the resolution to the film as well as the character’s arc over multiple movies, starting with 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger.
So after so many movies, it must be asked, why did Steve decide to pass his mantle onto the Sam Wilson, instead of his childhood friend and partner Bucky Barnes? Weeks after the film’s release, his decision has become a point of contention among many Captain America fans, more so than the time travel plot or even central characters’ deaths. Some feel that it was just another moment of fan service, as the Falcon became the new Captain America for a short yet popular comic book run a few years ago, and wasn’t actually true to Steve Rogers’ character in the films.
However, in a recent interview with ComicBook.com, Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo stood by Captain America’s choice, explaining:
“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.”
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As Captain America: Civil War proved, Bucky may be on his way to redemption, but that doesn’t mean he’s fully recovered from decades of brainwashing. The character is responsible for some of the most cold-blooded killings in the MCU, even if he wasn’t fully mentally aware. While Steve Rogers has spent most of his time post-Avengers trying to track down his best friend, it doesn’t mean the former Winter Soldier was ready (or even wanted) to take on the role as the next Captain America. Russo goes on to reveal that in Cap’s eyes, the Falcon is fully deserving of his shield, and Bucky’s just fine with that:
“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 deserves it.”
Both Bucky and the Falcon are set to soon appear together in their own Disney Plus streaming series, which will surely deal with the ramifications of Steve’s decision. The two characters have had a great dynamic over the course of the past two phases of the MCU, so it’ll be fun to see how their relationship grows.
Tell us, though, do you agree with Steve’s decision to pass on his title to Sam in Avengers: Endgame, or do you actually believe Bucky deserved the shield? Let us know in the comments section below.