Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes have been friends longer than some people have been alive. Bucky was Captain America’s partner during World War II. When Steve first thought Bucky had died, he was distraught. When Bucky came back, it was a moving story.
When Steve was killed following the events of the super-hero Civil War, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that Bucky ended up taking up the mantle of Captain America. Here’s a list of ten times that Steve and Bucky were best friends and demonstrated that to everyone that wished that they had a friend like that.
10 There’s the Way Bucky Looked As Captain America
This one is a little obvious, but Bucky spent time as Captain America. While Sam Wilson made the costume his own, Bucky’s was so reminiscent of Steve’s that he sometimes looked like the same Cap. One giveaway, of course, was the pistol on Bucky’s hip.
Bucky’s costume choices different enough to hide the fact that he’s not quite built like Steve Rogers. The black camouflages slimmer arms and masks the fact that one arm is artificial. While it alters enough to look different, it retains the torso motif of the classic Captain America costume with the red and white stripes on the abdomen.
9 Bucky Kept Cap’s Secret From The Beginning
Originally, Bucky was a kid mascot for an army unit that walked into Steve Rogers’ tent one night as he was changing into Captain America. Since Steve was operating in secret, Bucky had an instant choice. Thankfully, he chose to keep the secret and in turn, became Steve’s partner and closest friend.
Ed Brubaker retconned Bucky as a sixteen-year-old operative, capable of doing the things that Captain America wouldn’t, like assassinations. This helps him keep Steve’s secret from any foes that may learn it, as well as protect Captain America’s reputation.
8 Steve Let Bucky Remain Captain America
After the events of Siege, Steve Rogers had returned. Bucky didn’t want to keep the shield, but Steve Rogers had been tapped to take over Norman Osborne‘s position. Steve asks Bucky to continue as Captain America, showing that the former sidekick was finally seen as a peer.
This is also an important moment because it’s the first time that the shield and mantle were voluntarily handed to someone else. Many men had taken the identity of Captain America, but none had been chosen by their predecessor. Steve’s confidence in Bucky shows how deep their friendship goes.
7 Bucky Never Gave Up
When Baron Zemo‘s drone bomber took off, Captain America and Bucky were supposed to be strapped to it. They broke loose, though, but failed to stop the takeoff. They chased after it and lept for the plane. Only Bucky grabbed hold, and Steve fell away, begging Bucky to let go. Then the bomb exploded.
Bucky learned from Captain America to never give up. As the man on the plane, he had the duty to try to stop it. In triggering the bomb, that’s exactly what he did, apparently at the cost of his own life. Steve, to his credit, was trying to save his friend’s life.
6 Bucky Watched Over Steve’s Stuff, Specifically the Shield
The fact that Bucky took up the shield in the Steve was dead is almost a given. However, it marked the culmination of a search for the next Captain America. For Bucky to accept it, it marked how important it was that next Captain America be someone close to the previous one.
As mentioned, once Steve had returned, Bucky offered to return it. As a friend would, Steve saw the gesture Bucky had made and repaid it.
5 Ultimates: Steve Didn’t Get In The Way Of Bucky’s Marriage
It really takes a friend to acknowledge when things are over. In Ultimates, Steve leaves behind a girlfriend, Gail, and Bucky survives the mission that sent Steve into suspended animation. Somehow, their shared grief over the loss of Steve brings them closer together. Bucky and Gail marry, which initially presents some drama.
However, the next time Bucky and Gail show up at the New York memorial, she and Steve come to terms with how time has determined their relationship. They are pleasant and Steve never makes mention of Gail again. He even starts a relationship with the Wasp, moving on instead of dwelling on the past.
4 “Don’t Do Anything Stupid Until I Get Back”
It starts off in Captain America: The First Avenger as the kind of joking insult that guys share. It doesn’t get repeated until Avengers: Endgame. It becomes part of the shorthand that the pair use to convey their feelings for each other. While the other characters in the scene didn’t recognize it, fans certainly did.
The response, of course, is, “How can I? You’re taking all the stupid with you.” The final exchange holds all of the things that the two want to say. “Thank you for not giving up on me.” “Thanks for being there when I needed you.” “I’m going to miss you.” Most of all, it contains an unspoken, “I love you.”
3 With You Till The End Of The Line
This line from Captain America: The Winter Soldier is first spoken by Bucky to Steve after his mother’s funeral. When Steve needs to reach Bucky underneath the brainwashing Hydra had used to create the Winter Soldier, he repeated it back. It’s important and shows the bond between these two men.
In the MCU, the relationship between Steve and Bucky are as friends first and as partners later. This friendship gets only stronger and the pair share their own shorthand to express their feelings. It’s not as macho as a nod or inside joke. It’s a phrase that instant vocalizes everything in their hearts.
2 Steve Didn’t Give Up On Bucky
Steve Rogers held onto hope that Bucky might have survived for many years in the comics. A trip through time convinced him that his partner had died. Even afterward, Steve was protective of Bucky’s legacy, not taking on another partner with that identity. When Jack Monroe surfaced, he was hesitant to bring him on as Bucky.
When Bucky did surface as the Winter Soldier, Steve was determined to save him. He tried to have Sharon Carter removed from any missions for fear she might kill him. When the opportunity presents itself to restore his memory, Steve takes it without question.
1 Bucky Didn’t Give Up On Steve
In Captain America: Reborn, Steve Rogers’ resurrection is a plot by the Red Skull, who inhabits Steve’s body. Bucky is out to stop the Red Skull after he’s taken Steve’s body. Unknown to him, inside his mind, Steve is fighting the Skull, but willing to die again if that’s what it takes. Overpowered, Bucky pulls out his gun and levels it at the face of his friend.
Bucky mutters for Steve to show him a sign. Unfortunately, despite no apparent sign, Bucky can’t fire. Inside, Steve sees this and it gives him the advantage he needs to force the Red Skull out and regain control. Bucky never gave up on his friend regaining control and showing it at that moment, it bolsters his friend’s resolve.
Steve and Bucky have the best relationship in the Marvel world. Here are 10 times Captain America and the Winter Soldier were friendship goals!