The end of Avengers: Endgame inevitably inspired lots of questions. There's a good chance the next few years will be dominated by some of them, like where Gamora is, how Cap jumped to and from his alternate reality and whether New Asgard will thrive. Other, far more important questions will also be played with. Who eats mayonnaise on a hotdog? Why a rat? Did Cap kiss his own niece, or...?
And it's Captain America's ending that has posed the most questions because it seems either to open up a huge plothole in terms of the idea of timelines or it suggests exciting things about the multiverse and how easy Cap manages to jump from the branched reality he creates with Peggy and the "main" timeline.
But there's a more important question for a lot of fans. After watching Cap and Bucky's relationship growing from The First Avenger through the Winter Soldier arc and finally to Bucky's reprogramming in Wakanda, we could all have assumed that he'd be chosen as Cap's replacement. And yet, when the time came, Cap turned to Sam and gave him the shield, the position and the name.
Sam isn't exactly unworthy of the position - and he has been Captain America in the comics - but it was the difference in the relationships that really seems to have fueled complaints. But now we have a reason for the choice.
For the Russo Brothers, choosing Sam over Bucky was logical for cap because the former better matched Cap’s values and beliefs:
“Cap and Bucky are brothers but you know what’s interesting about them is they’re very different people and I think that Bucky always has the ability to have his mind corrupted, it can always be taken over by someone else. That hasn’t been resolved for him and Sam has his free will and I think that Sam also had a similar ethic as Cap as far as service goes in the military.”
Anthony Russo suggests that the decision came easy and early on.
"Cap and Sam just share this character connection. I think the real attraction between Cap and Bucky is that their relationship — they started more as opposites, and that’s how they complemented each other. Whereas I feel like Sam and Cap are more kindred spirits.”
It does make sense. Looking back at The First Avenger, Bucky might be like Cap's brother, but he is nothing like him. Their friendship seems strangely at odds with expectations of both characters, as if they were thrown together as children. From there, they followed similar paths but for different reasons and though Bucky was a hero in his own right, he was never of the same ilk as Cap. Few are, but Sam comes pretty close.
Quite what we'll see from the new Captain America in the future remains to be seen, but it's likely to play a significant part in the Disney+ TV programme at the very least. And let's hope we get to see more of Cap in future MCU movies too.