Note: this article contains spoilers from Avengers: Endgame.
The mantle was instead given to Sam Wilson, though Bucky star Sebastian Stan has now argued that it was an understandable decision.
"I'm happy with [the ending of Endgame]," the actor told Digital Spy and other press at MCM Comic Con in London.
"I think it makes a lot of sense. It's very different than the comic book. I really love the enthusiasm that some people felt in terms of propagating why didn't he get the shield. But it just doesn't make sense for him to get the shield.
"In a way for me, Steve not giving him the shield is his way of setting him free. And setting himself free, both of these guys are forever in a way tied to this duty and carrying this mantle that they both are free to some extent now."
Stan continued: "And Sam is a must more trustworthy character. I don't know how much we've really seen of Bucky’s mental evolution so far to really trust him with that responsibility. So I think for me it made a lot of sense.
"It's different in the comic books because Steve Rogers dies and that really motivated the Bucky Barnes character to really make sure to carry that on. The way he felt closest to him. But we're in a different kind of world here."
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Asked what he would choose if he had to pick between Captain America's Shield or Thor's Hammer, the star jokingly said: "The shield because I probably couldn't pick up the hammer."
Meanwhile, it sounds like there's a chance Endgame may not topple Avatar's record for highest-grossing movie of all time, despite being near the pinnacle.
Avengers: Endgame is out now.
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