Bucky Barnes in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Are Sam and Bucky Going to Fight Over the Shield in Falcon and the Winter Soldier?

Let's hope not. It belongs to Sam Wilson.

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Disney+’s Falcon and the Winter Soldier is going to be the first time we see Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes as more than just Steve Rogers’ best friends in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But is it going to be them working together to get Sam Wilson the shield he rightfully deserves, or is it going to be a battle between the two to see who deserves Steve’s title more?

With merch featuring the line “Who will wield the shield?” for the show, many questions instantly pop to mind. Mainly, who the question is referring to as even a possibility? For CBR, they have a theory that it won’t be a cut and dry issue for Sam and Bucky like the end of Avengers: Endgame made it seem—meaning that they think that Sam and Bucky are going to fight over who they think deserves to carry the shield that Steve Rogers once had.

Personally, I think don’t see it going that way, and I think it is in reference to John Walker, the U.S. Agent but let’s talk about the idea of Bucky and Sam fighting over the shield.

In the comics, both Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson have taken on the mantle of Captain America. While I think that they are both worthy, I think that, right now, Sam Wilson is the smarter choice overall. Not only is he the one that Steve chose, seemingly with Bucky’s blessing, but he’s the one who actually seems to want it. Looking at the MCU version of Bucky, he doesn’t seem to want that responsibility, so if the show does take this route and put a divide between Bucky and Sam for the shield, they are going to have to do a lot of leg work (in my opinion) to make it seem like Bucky wants that responsibility in the first place.

But the tension between Sam and Bucky could be interesting to explore outside of the jealousy they had towards one another because of their friendships with Steve. That being said, I don’t know that I want there to be unnecessary angst between the two, especially when they’ve both been through so much as characters—not to mention the bad look of Bucky trying to take the role from Sam when so many, Anthony Mackie included, were excited about what that meant.

Both were taken in the Snap and had to deal with the loss of their friend when they returned. They’ve been through the ringer with life outside of just Thanos, and it’s been, pretty much, unexplored territory in the series. The last we saw them really together was when Steve and Sam were trying to protect Bucky from the government in Captain America: Civil War.

So yes, I think the “Who will wield the shield?” question is posed directly to Sam Wilson vs. John Walker, but if they did want to, eventually, give Bucky Barnes the title, there’s a lot of work this series and the content beyond needs to do to make me believe Bucky Barnes even wants it.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.