So, we know that in Avengers: Endgame

Steve decided to stay in the past to grow old with Peggy, thus making the choice to bypass his time stamp and, as a result, grow old.

In the few moments before he

Went back in time to return the Stones,

Bucky tells Cap:

"I'll miss you buddy," and Steve replies: "Try not to do anything stupid while I'm gone." At that moment Sam asks "How long will this take?" and Bruce replies (something like): "For us, 5 seconds. For him, as long as he needs to return the Stones."

I'm assuming here that Bucky didn't know that, until Bruce explicitly said so, that it would take only 5 seconds for Steve to get back. I'll miss you buddy would make a lot of sense if Bucky thought Steve would take days/weeks to get back (he has to return the Soul Stone to Vormir [somehow]). His look of surprise at seeing old Steve at first also made me wonder. (Though, who wouldn't be at least a little bit surprised seeing your best friend age 30 years in a matter of seconds?)

So my question is:

Do we actually know if Bucky already knew what Steve was going to do at the end, as (seemingly) implied by the narrative?

  • I’m going to guess that returning the Power Stone to Vormir is pretty simple when you’ve got the Space Stone and the Sorceror Supreme on your side... – nick012000 Apr 28 at 12:42
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    Soul Stone, you mean. The Power Stone is found on Morag. You have a point, though, on the Space Stone's convenience, assuming he went back to the 1970s last. – Mat Cauthon Apr 28 at 13:01
  • Voted to close it as it is basically opinion based. – Lefteris008 Apr 28 at 13:23
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    Thirty years? Cap went back at least 70. – Azor Ahai Apr 30 at 17:17
  • I'm sure he knew. "I'm gonna miss you" means Bucky knew Steve will come back after a long time. Either he will never come back again or he will forever retired. Bucky just represent us – jerinho May 10 at 15:16

My old answer is below, however, it has been confirmed by the Russo brothers that Bucky knew.

Also, they confirm — Bucky knew. When Cap was preparing to for the trip, which is only supposed to last a few seconds in the main timeline, his old friend from Brooklyn gives him a surprisingly heavy farewell.

Somehow, he was aware that Cap was going to live in the past, and it’s probably more than just intuition. “Especially when he says goodbye,” Joe explained. “He says, ‘I’ll miss you.’ Clearly he knows something.”

But how? Has Winter Soldier already met with Old Cap at some previous point? It seems the answer is yes.

On the other hand, Joe adds, “Sam doesn’t know something.” Falcon has no idea about Old Cap, which is why The Winter Soldier urges him to go up and talk to the now-elderly Steve Rogers. Bucky already has the answer to the questions Sam is going to ask.

Entertainment Weekly, Avengers: Endgame directors answer Captain America mystery

I haven’t found anything online to confirm whether he knew or not so the below is my speculation.

I got the impression that Bucky did not know what Steve was going to do but when he turned around and saw the old man on the bench he realised it was Steve. He realised what Steve had done and knowing him understood and respected that decision.

  • I searched this question up before posting it here, so a +1 for having a different speculation other than the ones I found. – Mat Cauthon Apr 28 at 13:05
  • @TheLethalCarrot I just watched Endgame again and Bucky also says, just before Cap leaves, "I'm going to miss you." This doesn't comport with Hulk's statement in the very same scene that Cap would be back "in seconds." Bucky's reaction to the event, and his immediate recognition of the old man (as well as his face; although this is more speculative, I thought Sebastian Stan played the scene as if he knew all along), suggest to me that he did have at least an inkling. – Rob Apr 28 at 19:45
  • @Rob potentially but do we know if Bucky knew how the time travel stuff works? We never saw him see it on screen before that right? – TheLethalCarrot Apr 28 at 19:47
  • @TheLethalCarrot True. Neither Bucky nor Sam had yet been exposed to it. However, I interpreted Sam asking "how long will this take?" as an Exposition Cut (with deepest regrets: tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ExpositionCut): it seemed that everyone knew the general process by the time Cap had suited up, the equipment set up, etc. I readily admit though that mine is only one potentially valid interpretation. – Rob Apr 28 at 20:58
  • Been waiting for this Word of God. :) Accepted. – Mat Cauthon May 1 at 2:16

Based on my review of the scene, Bucky knew that Cap won't return right away or may be won't ever return, let me explain : just after Bruce sent him to the past, Sam and Bruce are scared, Sam shout at Bruce and tell him get him back, in that moment Bucky turns around and smiles before seeing Old Cap, and when he sees him, he is surprised and immediatly after smiles for the second time and call Sam and tells sam to go, so I think that he knew, either Cap told him his plan or he knew Cap enough to tell that he won't be back, and that's why he told him that he'll miss him.

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    Turns out you were correct and Bucky knew, see my updated answer – TheLethalCarrot Apr 30 at 15:39

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