Why Captain America Didn’t Tell Iron Man Bucky Killed His Parents

Even though the MCU’s Captain America knew that Iron Man’s parents were killed at the hands of Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. Winter Soldier, he didn’t tell his fellow Avenger before the events of Captain America: Civil War. Marvel Studios kicked off the MCU’s Phase 3 by seeing two of the franchise’s most high-profile heroes collide over differing ideals, originally focused on the controversial Sokovia Accords and the government’s pursuit of the framed Bucky Barnes. Once Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark learned the truth of Zemo’s actions, however, their feud almost ended, but Zemo had one final trick up his sleeve that would permanently divide Stark and Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers.
Intent on destroying the Avengers from the inside out, Zemo revealed footage to Iron Man and Captain America after the pair – along with Bucky Barnes – tracked him to Siberia. The footage, filmed on December 16, 1991, confirmed that the Winter Soldier had killed Howard and Maria Stark, Iron Man’s parents. While this was new information for the troubled Stark, Steve Rogers revealed that he already knew of Bucky’s actions as the Winter Soldier. This provided the final nail in the coffin for Iron Man and Captain America in Civil War, as the former felt deceived and betrayed by the latter, culminating in the epic final battle of the movie.
Steve Didn’t Explain The Starks’ Murder To Protect Tony & Bucky
The most likely explanation for Steve Rogers hiding Bucky’s involvement in the deaths of Tony Stark’s parents would be that he was trying to protect both of his friends. Bucky was Rogers’ childhood friend from a time before he was Captain America, and Rogers knew that Bucky had no control over his actions during his time as the Winter Soldier. Prior to Captain America: Civil War, Bucky had spent two years in hiding, trying to move on from the events of his past, so in hiding this revelation from Stark, Rogers was perhaps trying to spare his oldest friend from reliving that pain again.
By not telling Stark sooner, Rogers was perhaps also sparing his fellow Avenger from a great deal of pain, even though it seems as though Iron Man deserved the truth, especially when the deaths of his parents had weighed so heavily on him in earlier MCU adventures. It’s also possible that Steve was simply sparing himself – he didn’t know how Stark might have reacted when told that the Winter Soldier, Captain America’s former friend and ally, had killed his parents. Even so, it’s likely that, had Tony been told in a calmer environment and not had the truth hidden from him, he would have reacted much more thoughtfully.
How Steve Telling Tony About His Parents Would Have Changed The MCU
Captain America and Iron Man’s division in Captain America: Civil War effectively meant that the Avengers disbanded, which would come to have major implications in the later adventures of the MCU’s Phase 3. Avengers: Infinity War featured a battle that could have gone very differently had the Avengers still been unified and on good terms. If they had been able to combine forces, resources, and man-power, the Avengers would have been able to mount a much stronger defense against the Black Order invading Earth and could have even potentially thwarted Thanos’ plan altogether, rather than fighting separate battles on completely different worlds.
If Captain America had revealed the truth prior to the events of Captain America: Civil War, it’s possible that Stark and Bucky Barnes could have had a chance at reconciliation. Bucky has been one of the most troubled characters in the MCU – and continued to be in Phase 4’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – so perhaps a moment of forgiveness shared between Iron Man and the former Winter Soldier would have gone a long way to ease Bucky’s pain. Instead, by trying to spare the emotions of each of his friends in Captain America: Civil War, it seems that Steve Rogers actually made a great mistake.

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