The Real Reason Bucky Wasn't Given Captain America's Shield
So Captain America gives up his shield at the end of Avengers: Endgame. But why didn't he give it to Bucky Barnes? After all, The Winter Soldier is the perfect candidate for taking up the mantle of Captain America. There are plenty of reasons why Steve Rogers chose someone else instead. Major spoilers ahead, so consider yourself warned!
At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Captain America returns the Infinity Stones to their timelines to give himself the life he was denied when he sacrificed himself for the good of the world in Captain America: The First Avenger. He finds his way back to Peggy Carter and then the Hulk sends him back in time.Then we see Steve Rogers as an older man with a wedding ring. At his side is his iconic red-white-and-blue shield, which he passes on to his partner Sam Wilson, who humbly accepts it.
Of course, this raises an important question: Why did Captain America pass the shield to Sam Wilson and not Bucky? Sure, Sam Wilson was Captain America for a time in the comic books, but not until years after the resurrected Bucky had his own time with the shield.
When Bucky returns as a brainwashed killer in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we rarely hear the character speak. But the recovering veteran had plenty to say two years later in Captain America: Civil War.
If we can say nothing else definitive about Bucky, we know he's got no illusions about who he is or what he's done. If anything, he's harder on himself than his old friend is. While he fights for his freedom against any and all challengers, he doesn't shy away from his responsibilities, and he doesn't hide behind Hydra's brainwashing.
Considering all this, it feels highly unlikely that Bucky would accept the responsibility of being Captain America or even take his old friend's shield.
Bucky wants a chance at redemption, but so far we haven't seen him forgive himself. Bucky probably feels like wielding Captain America's shield would be a bit too much - even with his turn to good
While we've seen Bucky a couple of times since Captain America: Civil War, we never learn a lot of information about him. In the Civil War mid-credits scene, he tells Steve he wants to be frozen until he can be freed from Hydra's mental conditioning. Otherwise, another ambitious criminal might transform him into an unstoppable assassin. Keep watching to find out The real reason Bucky wasn't given Captain America's shield.
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The story so far | 0:18
Bucky wouldn't accept it | 0:57
His Hydra conditioning: Still active? | 2:11
Trust must be earned | 3:10
He'd be too powerful | 3:58