**Spoilers ahead for Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame. Read at your own risk.**
I’m going to be incredibly blunt, right off the bat: Bucky Barnes would have hated inheriting Captain America’s shield at the end of Avengers: Endgame. At least, the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of that character would. I am aware that, in the comics, Bucky becomes Captain America. He’s also not from Brooklyn and started off as a child, so like … the MCU is taking liberties with the character, relax.
It’s not that hard to see. Bucky, even when he’s fighting to regain his memories, is still extremely different than many of the versions of the character in comics. This one is the man who understands what the Captain America mantle means and isn’t exactly ready for it yet.
Maybe it’s because the creative team knew they wanted him to be the White Wolf, but I just feel like the MCU Bucky was never going to have that shield. He’s too bogged down in the life he once led and the lives and blood on his hands.
At the end of Avengers: Endgame, we see Steve Rogers handing off the mantle of Captain America to Sam Wilson, another character who also takes it on in the comics. To be quite honest, that makes the most sense. Sam has been fighting alongside him all this time, taking on the task of (literally) being Steve’s proverbial “wing” man for a multitude of tasks.
Bucky Barnes wanted out. He didn’t necessarily care about saving the world; he just wanted to be able to remember. Granted, much like his best friend, Bucky never backed down from a fight, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the best fit for a new Captain America.
If anything, he’d end up resenting Steve for it. So much of his progress and work, we can connect back to Steve Rogers. Without him, Bucky may still be a pawn of Hydra, but with that progress comes the knowledge that he barely has his life back.
So for Steve to turn and hand him the shield on top of that wouldn’t seem fair to Bucky. We know now that Steve likely told Bucky about his plan to stay in the past and, eventually, give the shield to Sam. With that, we know that this version of Bucky also clearly doesn’t want it.
To be quite honest, this Bucky has enough of a responsibility (that he placed upon himself) to honor those lives he claimed as the Winter Soldier. He doesn’t need Cap’s legacy thrust upon him, as well.
(image: Marvel Entertainment)
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