‘Avengers’ and ‘Captain America’ Writers Explain Origin of the Bucky and Sam Rivalry

Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Infinity War screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely say the friendly rivalry between Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) came about as a way of further humanizing their superhero cast.

“It really came out of just being, like, ‘Steve now has two best friends.’ You know, it’s like, literally, just a juvenile impulse on our part, like, ‘He has two best friends,’” Markus revealed during a live Q&A hosted by Fatman on Batman’s Kevin Smith and Marc Bernardin.

“And you can put in this ridiculous rivalry in the middle of these very serious moments. The ‘move your seat up’ is possibly my favorite thing in all of the movies, because it’s just so petty. It also reminds you, those little things remind you that they’re people,” Markus added.

“The Marvel movies are about people, they’re not about superheroes. They happen to have these superhero responsibilities, but they’re people who don’t have enough legroom, you know? And I think that can be where, sometimes, some movies fall apart, is they take the superhero before they take the person. And having little bits like a rivalry between your best friends or whatever else, reminds you that they’re just like you.”

Lifelong best friends Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Bucky both found themselves frozen in time and awakened in modern day, first at odds in 2014’s The Winter Soldier before the remnants of Bucky’s HYDRA brainwashing started to fade away in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, which famously set up the metal-armed soldier and the high-flying Falcon as uneasy allies.

Mackie previously opined about the potential in a Bucky/Sam spinoff, saying a team-up “would be great.”

“[But] it would be like Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours, that would be our spinoff,” Mackie said. “It would end up with us beating the crap out of each other three or four times, I know it.”

The screenwriters also pit Bucky and Sam against a then just-arrived Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who they say entered the movie fairly last minute: in early versions of Civil War, it was Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) — not Spider-Man — who was recruited by Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) in the fight against Captain America and his faction of likeminded Avengers, who openly rebelled against the Sokovia Accords.

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Markus and McFeely also opened up about how other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies affected their latest work, Avengers: Infinity War, and commented publicly for the first time on the superhero crossover achieving the rare feat of grossing more than $2 billion worldwide.

The still unnamed Avengers 4, again scripted by the duo, opens May 3, 2019.