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Did Sebastian Stan Get Shady About Bucky's Avengers: Endgame Ending?

It's been almost a year since Avengers: Endgame released, but some still have something to say about how it ended, including star Sebastian Stan. 

The actor, who portrays Bucky Barnes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and leads the upcoming Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldierrecently responded to the continued fan criticism of his character's endgame with a critique of his own. 

To his Instagram Story (via We Got This Covered), Stan posted a flushed face emoji on top of a screenshot a fan's searing tweet roasting how Bucky and Steve Rogers' (Chris Evans) relationship arc was tied up in Avengers: Endgame. At the end of the film, Steve travels back in time to return the Infinity Stones to their proper locations, then lives out a life with his love Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). He comes back to the present as an old man, handing his Captain America shield to Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) instead of Bucky. 

"[T]ogether until the end of the line. Or until bad, inconsistent, out-of-character writing turns Steve Rogers into his own anti-thesis. Shouldn't it be 'together until the end of the lie" now?' user @TheNenya wrote on Twitter, which Stan then screenshotted and shared on his social media account. The emoji Stan accompanied it with can mean any number of things — embarrassment, shame, shyness, surprise, disbelief, or timid agreement. While it wasn't entirely clear from Stan's story what he meant when using it, some fans claimed the emoji in conjunction with the outraged tweet was a sign the actor supported the statement.

Fan anger over Endgame's treatment of Bucky Barnes is tied to his relationship with Steve Rogers

The connection between Steve Rogers and his friend-turned-foe-turned-friend-again Bucky Barnes was at the root of Captain America's standalone trilogy, and was the heart of Bucky's own character development. It stretched from The First Avenger and the kind of man Steve wanted to be after becoming a super-soldier (like his hero, Bucky) to The Winter Soldier, which saw the near-destruction of Captain America in the name of saving a friend he thought had died but instead had been brainwashed by Hydra.

Bucky and Steve's relationship even tore the Avengers apart during Civil War, giving fans the epic knock-down-drag-out fight that pitted Captain America and The Winter Soldier against Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). In many ways, Bucky served as Steve's narrative throughline — from how he navigated leaving his old world for the new one he had to defend.

Some Bucky fans felt that because Avengers: Endgame gave Falcon the Captain America shield that went first to Bucky in the comics, in addition to Steve leaving Bucky behind in the future to go back in time and be with Peggy Carter, it undermined the connection the MCU built between the men. It also left Bucky pretty aimless after much of his arc had been built around his best friend.

However, during an appearance at the MCM Comic Con in London back in May 2019, Stan actually said he approved of what happened to his character in Avengers: Endgame, even if fans didn't fully understand it.

Sebastian Stan has publicly supported Bucky's Endgame storyline

The three-day comic convention took place nearly a month after Endgame's release, and saw Stan address questions about arguably the most significant decision regarding his character: Rogers passing the shield to Anthony Mackie's Falcon. In the comics, Bucky gets the Captain America shield for a period before Sam Wilson, and it helps guide his personal arc post-The First Avenger. According to Metro UK, Stan told the press at MCM Comic-Con London that he was "happy with the ending."

"I really love the enthusiasm that some people felt in terms of propagating why didn't he get the shield," he said. "But it just doesn't make sense for him to get the shield."

Following Avengers: Endgame's release, fans heavily speculated about why Bucky didn't get the shield. Some suggested the character wouldn't have wanted it, especially after decades of Hydra conditioning that may still be lingering in his subconscious. Others pointed to his lack of interaction with other Avengers, saying some heroes could be wary of him having all that power. There's also the fact that Falcon proved himself worthy of wielding Cap's shield.

Stan essentially agreed with those arguments, noting that Bucky might not yet be in the best mental shape after being controlled by an evil umbrella organization for years. Plus, after fighting for someone else's wars, "Steve not giving him the shield is his way of setting him free," Stan pointed out.

Of course, there's also the simple issue of adaptation. Because Endgame's ending was different than the comic storyline, Bucky had different motivations after Steve's departure. As Stan said, "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. But we're in a different kind of world here."

Sebastian Stan's Instagram post could allude to the Disney+ series

After Stan posted the tweet to his Instagram story, Star Wars actor John Boyega took to social media and delivered his own tweet featuring a GIF of Emporer Palpatine cackling. "Welcome Mr Stan ! Welcome," the Finn actor tweeted

Following the release of the saga-ending Rise of SkywalkerBoyega has been openly critical the Star Wars sequel trilogy, causing many to see his comment as confirmation that Stan was throwing similar shade at Bucky's Avengers: Endgame ending. But because Stan never responded to Boyega or addressed the wave of attention his story received, his intent can't be determined. Stan may have been shading Endgame, but his Instagram story could have also merely been an acknowledgment of a funny-for-some and awkward-for-others fan opinion.

However, it's worth noting the timing of the actor's Instagram post: it came just two days before the sneak peek for the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier released during the 2020 Super Bowl. The fan's tweet also calls out an issue that could be a plot point on the show.

We already know that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes place immediately after the events of Endgame, and will see Sam and Bucky trying to figure out their lives in Steve's absence. In the process, the two will team up for a worldwide adventure that puts their abilities and patience to the test. Sam, more specifically, will grapple with a country unwilling to hand the mantle over to a black man, as series writer Derek Kolstad said in a since-deleted tweet (via Heroic Hollywood). 

With the two both being so close to Steve, it seems unlikely that the series won't address the decision to pass the shield to Sam in some form — whether that's comically or seriously. So it's possible that Stan, who has undoubtedly already seen similar fan criticism, could have been alluding to what his character's future holds. Or, again, he could just be teasing fans for the fun of it. Either way, it definitely got their attention.