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**SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers below for Avengers: Endgame**
As you know if you've seen the film, Cap survives the final battle with Thanos but journeys back in time to put the Infinity Stones back where they were found. He takes a detour, however, and decides to catch up on the life he never had with Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), returning to the present as an elderly man to perform one last duty by passing his shield to Sam Wilson/The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), ostensibly making him the new Captain America.
Speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo were asked if there was any debate over whether it would be Sam or Cap's lifelong friend Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), who would inherit the mantle of Captain America.
"It made sense that it was Sam," replied Joe Russo. "I don't think that there were significant debates at all. I mean, Bucky was portrayed in the film as very damaged, you know, and not necessarily the guy that you would want to trust with another weapon, because he can always be corrupted. And you know, Sam ... if anyone matches Cap's integrity over the course of the last few films, it's Sam, from the time that they met on the Mall in D.C. until the end of this film."
While both Sam and Bucky have donned the Captain America persona in the comics, Joe added, "(Sam) just seemed like the logical choice in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We don't have all the context that the comics have ... we can only bring completion to the stories that we've been telling, and that seemed to make the most sense."
As for whether the Russos think that Chris Evans could one day return as Cap — despite being the first actor to publicly state that Endgame was his last MCU movie — Anthony said, "There are no plans," while Joe elaborated, "Chris is a very emotional person ... I feel like he has to close the door on things and emotionally move on to the next thing. I think, for now, he’s emotionally moved on.”
The Russos announced last week that Monday (May 6) would mark the end of the moratorium on Endgame spoilers, perhaps because of both the arrival of the new Spider-Man: Far from Home trailer and because they have done a flurry of interviews dissecting some of the surprises in the film that they wouldn't talk about before.
One of those is the moving funeral scene for Tony Stark at the conclusion of the film, in which nearly every major MCU character shows up to pay their respects. While it would be easy to assume that the shot was composited through digital trickery, the Russos told Good Morning America that every actor was there, live, on the set for the shot.
"It was a one-er, and we got them all for about two hours," said Joe, who noted that they rehearsed the shot the day before with stand-ins.
Anthony added, "It was probably the most rehearsed shot we have ever executed ... You can imagine how hard it was to get all of those actors together. It was a really rare opportunity. It was special because they were gathering for Tony's funeral; we tried to be very secretive in executing the movie about what was going to happen. So internally, we would always refer to that scene as the wedding, not the funeral, our code word for it."
Although the preponderance of black outfits might have given away the true nature of the scene to any spies who made it onto the set, that information never leaked, and the shot plays not just as a poignant tribute to Iron Man but as a moving curtain call for an extraordinary cast of characters — including the once and future Cap.