Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) returned to post-war 1940s America to reconcile with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) after traveling back in time to restore the Infinity Stones to their appropriate eras. But, because the Marvel Universe can’t go without a Captain America, an aged Steve Rogers (who appears only minutes after his final trip back in time in Avengers: Endgame) bestows the mantle and title of Captain America on his friend, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). While Steve said that the mantle was destined for Sam, there are theories that claim Sam wasn’t Steve’s first choice.

Sam Wilson is given the Shield by Steve Rogers - Sam Was Cap's Second Choice
Sam Wilson is given the Shield by Steve Rogers

What does the Theory say about Steve’s Choice?

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier very well portrays how Steve chooses Sam to be the next Captain America and Bucky (Sebastian Stan) happily supports the notion. However, according to several theories especially Reddit’s, Sam wasn’t Steve’s first choice Bucky was. The theory explains how Steve and Bucky already had a talk regarding Bucky taking up the role. Though the private conversation between Bucky and Steve isn’t depicted or spoken of, it is likely that both chose Sam to be the one to have the mantle even though Bucky was a legitimate candidate.

Sam Wilson - Sam Was Cap's Second Choice
Sam Wilson

As per the theory, Cap offered the role to Bucky first before going back to the stones. The discussion might have been done offscreen leaving most of the viewers with the question “Why didn’t Cap give it to Bucky, his closest friend and buddy?” The reason might have been Bucky respectfully denying to take up the position after Cap discussed with him his retirement plan and offered Bucky the mantle. There are incidents that very well prove that the theory stands true.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Bucky Barnes - Sam Was Cap's Second Choice
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Bucky Barnes

First of all, when Banner couldn’t get Cap back, Sam furiously kept on telling Banner to “get him back”, however, Bucky on the other hand stood there calm and still. Also when Bucky and Sam saw the aged Cap, Bucky instantly orders Sam to reach out to him and the fact is Bucky didn’t even move a slight bit to accompany Sam. These very incidents explain and put in front the idea that Bucky was very well aware of what was going to happen. It also ideates that Bucky himself gave up the role and suggested to Cap that Sam would be the best fit for the shield.

Sam Somehow Deserved the Mantle

The pivotal dialogue between Mackie’s Sam Wilson and Daniel Brühl’s Baron Zemo in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 4 provides the finest explanation for why Sam is the best fit for the role. During their discussion, Zemo asks Sam if he would have accepted the super-soldier serum if it had been provided to him, and Sam responds emphatically that he’d never. When Zemo tries to convince Sam to kill Karli Morgenthau and the superpowered Flag-Smashers because “super-soldiers cannot be allowed to exist,” Sam simply responds, “What about Bucky?” Blood isn’t always the solution.” This pretty much explains how Sam will always prioritize compassion and not power.

Steve Rogers with Bucky Barnes - Sam Was Cap's Second Choice
Steve Rogers with Bucky Barnes

Whereas, if we talk about Bucky, he acted as an assassin loyal to Hydra for a considerable period of his life, despite possessing the Super Soldier Serum in his veins. And he killed a lot of people during that period, including Howard and Maria Stark, which would be terrible for the next Captain America.

Even if we consider all the theories vain, Sam is still the best-suited being. In addition to not having a complicated and dark history as a covert assassin working for a hidden Nazi organization, Sam has all of the attributes that would make him the ideal successor to Steve. And, contrary to common belief, Sam’s refusal to take the serum demonstrates his wisdom, as he sees the dangers of wielding too much power. With all of these attributes, it’s easy to see why Steve opted to pass the mantle to Sam.

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