As all the outpouring of love for it on social media today – for its first anniversary – makes clear, Avengers: Endgame is a phenomenally popular entry in the MCU. Having said that, there are still a lot of fans who have problems with the way it wraps up some of the characters’ storylines. One of the biggest talking points is Steve’s decision to hand his shield, and therefore the mantle of Captain America, to Sam Wilson instead of Bucky Barnes, his oldest, dearest friend.
The filmmakers have defended this decision before, as has Bucky himself, Sebastian Stan. But in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Winter Soldier has yet again offered his thoughts on why Steve made the right call in the movie. And his latest comments may just sway a few fans over to his way of thinking.
“That’s where I felt like the character was at the end of Avengers: Endgame. It’s also what he wanted for Steve. Like anybody that ends up traumatized by a war experience, he was affected by it for the rest of his life. So, what felt like a desire there was for a restart — for him and for Steve in a way. It didn’t necessarily feel like the shield was gonna be that.
Steve going back in time and saying, ‘I’m gonna take something for me now. I’ve been here for all these guys, and I’ve done the best I could. I’m just a man, and I’m going to go back and try to live my life.’ I feel that is something that Bucky would want for his best friend, and at the same time, Steve is saying to Bucky, ‘You’re going to go and do that, too. I’m not going to put this thing on you. We’re both going to live our lives — the lives that were actually taken from us back in the ‘40s when we enlisted.’ So, that’s where I felt they were at the end of the movie.”
This is an interesting way of looking at it, and not one that many folks have considered before. Most of the critics don’t like how it feels as if Steve is sidelining Bucky and giving a great gift to Sam. Stan, however, sees the fact that Steve doesn’t burden Bucky with the mantle of Captain America as the real gift, as he’s giving him the opportunity to find a life away from the battlefield, just like he did with Peggy Carter in the past.
The only hitch to this interpretation is that it doesn’t look like Bucky’s going to retire anytime soon. He’ll return alongside Sam in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, for instance, where the pair will come up against both old enemy Baron Zemo and the government’s own choice for the new Cap, John Walker AKA U.S. Agent. Is Stan hinting that Bucky will be done with the superhero gig at the end of the show, though? Could be.
Is Sam the right choice for the next Captain America? Or was Bucky shortchanged in Avengers: Endgame? Sound off with your opinion in the comments section below.