At the end of Avengers: Endgame, an elderly Steve Rogers bequeathed the Captain America mantle to his friend and partner Sam Wilson, aka Falcon.
The passing of the red, white and blue came as a surprise to some fans, who expected Bucky Barnes to become the Marvel Cinematic Universe's next Captain America. After all, in the comic books, it was Bucky who took up the mantle after Steve, years before Sam ever would.
On the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Endgame co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo explained why Steve chose to pass the shield to Sam instead of Bucky. "It made sense that it was Sam," they explained. "I don’t think that there were significant debates at all. Bucky is portrayed in the films as very damaged, and not necessarily the guy you’d want to trust with another weapon, because he can always be corrupted."
"And, you know, Sam -- if anyone matches Cap’s integrity over the course of the last few films -- it’s Sam. From the time that they met on the Mall in D.C. through the end of this film, he just seemed like the logical choice in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We don’t have all the context that the comics have. We can only bring completion to the stories that we’ve been telling, and that seemed to make the most sense."
In the comics, Bucky Barnes became the new Captain America following Steve Rogers' death at the end of the Civil War event. Although Steve eventually came back to life, Sam Wilson later took on the Captain America mantle as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel era.
The adventures of Sam and Bucky will continue in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the live-action television series set to premiere on the Disney+ streaming service sometime next year.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Avengers: Endgame stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Danai Gurira as Okoye and Bradley Cooper as Rocket, with Gwyneth Paltrow Pepper Potts, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Benedict Wong as Wong, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Josh Brolin as Thanos.