Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige Breaks Down the Decision to Give Sam Wilson Cap's Shield

In the final minutes of Avengers: Endgame, Steve Rogers returns to the lake as an old man, having lived a full life after returning the Infinity Stones. He chooses to pass down his shield, and with it the mantle of Captain America, to Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon. There was a debate amongst fans about whether or not it should have been Bucky Barnes getting the shield, having been Steve's best friend since childhood. But in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the logical choice was always Anthony Mackie's Sam.

The upcoming series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which stars Mackie and Sebastian Stan, will dive into the aftermath of Steve's decision. In an interview with Variety ahead of the show's debut, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige gave some background on the choice to give Sam the shield, and how the duo of Mackie and Stan helped dictate the emotional Endgame scene.

"The day we decided, we were in the conference room — the one that feels like we spend half of our lives in in Atlanta — cracking the story," Feige said. "The shield had gone to a few people in the comic books in the past, but four years ago, it did seem like some of the great potential of those storylines and the journey Sam and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) had gone on over the course of the films, it seemed right that he would hand it to Sam.

"When we shot it — everything about those scenes were surprisingly poignant and emotional on the day. We’d done Tony Stark’s funeral, or his 'wedding,' which was our code name for it. It was actually Mackie and Sebastian that came up with the blocking for the scene by the bench at the end of Endgame. They walk up to Steve Rogers together. As it was scripted, only Sam noticed this older gentleman sitting on a bench. They came up with this notion that they start to walk together, and then Sam steps forward. Even the notion of him holding the shield and saying, 'it feels like it belongs to somebody else.'"

It was really that conversation about the new owner of the shield, followed by a talk with Bob Iger about Disney+, that led to the inception of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

"It really was a wonderful convergence as we were creating the end of the Infinity Saga, Bob Iger told us what Disney+ would become. What had been a classic passing of the torch from one hero to another at the end of Endgame suddenly opened up our potential to tell a whole story about that," Feige continued. "What does it really mean for somebody to step into those shoes? And not just somebody, but a Black man in the present day. That’s what Mackie and our head writer Malcom Spellman and all of us didn’t want to shy away from."

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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premieres on Disney+ on March 19th.