Joe Russo's recent Q&A has sparked a new theory...
Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame below
The co-director of Avengers: Endgame has spoken about why Captain America passed his shield down to Sam Wilson. In turn, a new theory about the film’s most vital conversation has been mooted.
Joe Russo, who helmed the Marvel superhero epic with his brother Anthony, was speaking at a live Q&A hosted by comicbook.com in LA when he explained why the honour was passed to Wilson and not Bucky Barnes.
Russo said part of the reason was because Bucky is still dealing with his mind having been corrupted while Sam embodies much of the traits of Captain America himself.
“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,” Russo said. “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.”
A talking point piece published on Digital Spy suggests that the most important conversation in the record-smashing movie happened off screen: that is, Captain America telling Bucky in advance that he would hand the mantle to Sam.
“One of the most significant events in Avengers: Endgame came in the film’s closing moments, when Steve Rogers passed the mantle of Captain America to his friend Sam Wilson,” wrote Digital Spy’s Sam Ashurst. “It was a moving moment, with Rogers choosing the very best person to wield the shield.
“As much as we loved it, there was something slightly weird about the scene, mostly because of Bucky’s reaction.
“When Captain America doesn’t come back from his time jump, Sam panics – yet Bucky stays extremely calm, too calm for someone who just gave his friend a massive farewell, telling him how much he was going to miss him (even though Cap was only supposed to be gone for, like, five seconds).
“Then, when Cap reappears on a bench, Bucky doesn’t greet him, encouraging Sam to go while Bucky hangs back and observes. The moment suggested that Bucky knew exactly what was going to go down. But here’s the thing: how?”
Ashurst goes on to reference Russo, who said: “When Bucky says goodbye, he says, ‘I’ll miss you.’ Clearly, he knows something. Sam doesn’t know something.”
“So, basically,” Ashurst continues, “Steve told Bucky offscreen that he was going to offer Sam the shield. He also told him he was going to stay in the past (we guess?) even though that’s played off like a last-minute decision. That’s why Bucky told Steve he’d miss him, because he knew he’d never see this version of his friend again.
He added: “Now, don’t tell Sam, but there’s actually a good explanation for why Steve told Bucky about his decision to hand over the shield. That’s because he probably offered it to him first.”
Certainly, the idea that a key conversation between Captain America and Bucky happened behind cameras adds another interesting dimension to the overall drama.