The Falcon and The Winter Soldier was a vehicle to introduce Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson as the new Captain America. But as fans know, Sam was reluctant to take on the mantle for the entire limited series. That reluctance was established by one line in Avengers: Endgame.
Why did Sam Wilson get the shield and not Bucky Barnes?
In The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Sam doesn’t think he should become Captain America like Steve Rogers wanted. The role was passed on to John Walker, played by Wyatt Russell. Walker was a respected military man who looked like a good fit to replace Steve in the eyes of the government. They were wrong.
Walker had a lot of emotional trauma from his military service that went untreated. When his best friend and partner, Lemar Hoskins, was killed fighting Karli Morgenthau and the Flag Smashers, he snapped and murdered a man in public with Captain America’s shield.
Walker tried to get Sam and Bucky to work with him previously in the show, but they weren’t interested. Sam didn’t think the government had better insight than Steve when it came to choosing a successor.
And after seeing what happened when the shield was in the wrong hands—as well as grappling with the tragic story of Isaiah Bradley, a Black super soldier who was imprisoned and kept secret from the world—Sam decided he had to take on the role himself.
This is what Steve wanted all along. He knew giving Sam the shield at the end of Avengers: Endgame was the right move. Bucky still had a lot of trauma to unpack on his own—the pressure of being Captain America might have been too much for him.
Does Sam Wilson become Captain America?
Fans saw Sam’s Captain America suit for the first time in the series finale of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. The Wakandans made it for him and included a new set of wings, paying homage to his original persona, The Falcon.
Executive producer Nate Moore told Variety the one scene in Avengers: Endgame that served as the starting point for Sam’s motivations. It’s one of the last scenes in the movie, when Steve comes back in time decades older. As a final goodbye to Sam, he gives him the shield.
“How does it feel?” he asks Sam in the emotional scene.
“Like it’s someone else’s,” Sam responds.
According to executive producer Zoie Nagelhout, that line was the “backbone of Sam’s arc.”
As writer Malcom Spellman said:
“I felt like we would be dishonest to the fans and dishonest to, just on a human level, if we had this Black man just accept this symbol without having real ambivalence about it. And we knew that that was going to be crucial to Sam’s burden.”
Will there be a ‘Captain America 4’?
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and WandaVision were the first new projects for the new phase of Marvel to come out. Moving forward, Mackie will be the franchise’s Captain America. Marvel added a nice title card change to show’s final episode, changing to Captain American and The Winter Soldier. We see what you did there.
But will there be more Captain America movies starring Mackie? It looks like it! On April 23, The Hollywood Reporter announced Captain America 4 was in the works at Marvel. The film was not part of the collection of titles and release dates Marvel announced on May 3. While casting for the movie hasn’t been revealed yet, it’s more than likely this will be Mackie’s first solo Captain America film.
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