After years of speculation and back-and-forth about whether Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) or Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) would succeed Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in the role of Captain America, the Marvel Cinematic Universe eventually...took the decision right down to the last minute. According to Avengers: Endgame writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, discussing the film from ComicBook.com's Twitter account as part of our two-night Quarantine Watch Party event, Marvel Studios briefly considered passing the mantle along to Bucky, but it wasn't long before they settled on Sam as the best man for the job. The reason? They thought Sam better exemplifies the idealism that Captain America is supposed to represent.
That might be a hard pill for hardcore Winter Soldier fans to swallow, but it certainly makes a kind of sense. In terms of optics, it would be difficult to argue for Captain America as a paragon of idealism if the guy in the part was a terrorist with a history of assassinations on behalf of a foreign government.
You can check out Markus and McFeely's take below.
Considered, but quickly dropped. Captain America is about the idealism, what we could be if we were better. Sam is that. Bucky is something else entirely. -CM #AvengersAssemble #QuarantineWatchParty https://t.co/3Z90XnLHva— Markus & McFeely on CB (@ComicBook) April 28, 2020
The narrative around who might replace Captain America shifted throughout the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Following the events of the Civil War crossover, Captain America was murdered while in police custody, and Bucky Barnes took over the role. During his brief time in the costume, the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off, and when rumors almost immediately popped up that Civil War would be adapted, fans wondered whether Bucky could become Cap on the big screen. It was a question that hung over every press event Sebastian Stan attended for years.
Bucky's time as Captain America was short-lived but much-loved. In 2014, though, Marvel had a line-wide rebrand that included, among other things, a comic that centered on Sam Wilson as the new Captain America. It followed a story where Steve was aged up to near his natural age and could not serve as Cap anymore, and right around that time, fans were starting to hear rumors that Marvel Studios was building toward a conclusion to its first round of superhero movies -- one that would likely include the deaths or retirements of several major characters. The two names most frequently rumored were always Captain America and Iron Man, and that led, almost inevitably, to fans wondering whether the movies might use Sam as Captain America.
In both cases, the questions were fair. The comics are the inspiration for the movies, but given the massive success of the movies and the relatively limited hardcore comics audience, Marvel hasn't been above trying to make the books more closely resemble what's happening on the big screen.
While "The Death of Captain America" (2007) and the events that followed it were a big hit at the time and remain a fan-favorite era for the title, the argument Markus and McFeely make has some weight -- and even if it doesn't, it's hard to argue that the "old Steve" from the Sam Wilson era of Captain America didn't, after a fashion, make a fine addition to the end of Endgame.
Avengers: Endgame is now available to stream on Disney+ Avengers: Infinity War will hit the platform on June 25th.