‘Avengers: Endgame’: Steve Not Giving Bucky the Shield Actually Made Total Sense, According to Fans

Of all the friendships in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, few are stronger than the one between Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, or Captain America and the Winter Soldier.

The two have a lot of history together and have supported each other through thick and thin. Their close-knit relationship may have led some fans to believe that Bucky would be the next Captain America after Steve’s retirement. But one fan theory says that Steve not giving Bucky the shield makes a lot of sense. Here’s more about their everlasting friendship and why Bucky not getting the shield was the right move to make. 

Steve and Bucky’s relationship in the MCU

It’s fair to say that Steve and Bucky have a complicated relationship in the Marvel films. They begin as best friends. Despite Bucky having movie-star good looks, he’s not too popular or important to remain friends with the scrawny Steve growing up in 1930s Brooklyn. When Steve eventually becomes Captain America, Bucky joins his battalion, and the two march across Europe, fighting against the Axis forces and HYDRA. Sadly, Bucky is killed in combat – or so Steve thinks. 

In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve finds out that HYDRA has revived Bucky and brainwashed him into becoming an unbeatable assassin. Steve stops Bucky on his rampage but yields before killing him, refusing to hurt his best friend. Bucky escapes and goes on the run. During the events of Captain America: Civil War, he’s framed for the murder of King T’Chaka. After it’s revealed he assassinated Tony Stark’s parents, he and Steve have to fend off an angered Stark. 

Bucky helps Steve and the other heroes battle Thanos in Wakanda before falling prey to the snap. He later returns to ultimately defeat Thanos, watching Steve go back to the past to live a full life with Peggy Carter. 

Bucky’s continuing adventures

Sebastian Stan
Sebastian Stan | Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Roadside Attractions

Though Steve is no longer a part of the MCU, Bucky’s adventures continued in the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. There, he and Sam Wilson teamed up to bring down the Flag Smashers, a terrorist organization looking to bring about the downfall of Western civilization. The series begins with Sam opting to give back Cap’s shield after Steve himself gave it to him. Bucky sees this as something of a betrayal, noting that if Steve was wrong about Sam, it’s possible he was also wrong about Bucky. 

Sam ultimately reassumes the shield with Bucky’s help, eliminating the threat while speaking truth to power. He questions the narrative of the government officials he had previously worked for. Once the series concludes, Sam has truly become Captain America, and Bucky is there the whole way to support him. 

Why it makes sense not to give Bucky the shield

In the pages of Marvel Comics, both Sam and Bucky have served as Captain America at different points. It’s understandable that many fans would think Bucky was next on deck following Steve’s departure. But a fan theory explains why it makes sense for it to not be Bucky. 

A fan took to Reddit explaining the reasoning, and they raised a good point in doing so: 

“Steve understood that Bucky had personal battles that were more important for him to fight, and didn’t saddle him with the responsibility of a mantle that would just mean doing more of the things that Bucky is traumatized and trying to recover from.”

It’s questionable whether Bucky would have even accepted the mantle had Steve offered it. But Steve not putting so much pressure on his friend when he’s still coping with his past is a very Captain America-like move to make. He knew Sam could handle it, and he wanted to give Bucky the chance to sort some other things out first. 

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