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Captain America with broken shield in Avengers: Endgame

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Captain America’s vibranium shield is incredibly durable, but it isn’t indestructible. This was most recently proven in Avengers: Endgame when Thanos cracked the shield in half with his sword. However, in an earlier version of Endgame, the Mad Titan would have dealt even more damage to Steve Rogers’ trademark weapon, making it completely unusable.

Take a look at the below concept art showing Thanos shattering Captain America’s shield with his fist.

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Unused shield breaking idea from Avengers: Endgame!

A post shared by Ryan Meinerding (@ryan_meinerding_art) on

At least when Thanos used his sword to hack at Captain America’s shield in the final version of Avengers: Endgame, half of it was still usable. In this version of the Captain America vs. Thanos fight, the latter would have obliterated the shield as he socked the Star Spangled Avenger in the jaw.

Ryan Meinerding, Marvel Studios’ Head of Visual Development, also shared a different image of Thanos breaking Captain America’s shield with his bare hands, as well as provided an explanation for why the shield would have shattered in this scenario.

Even without the Infinity Stones, Thanos is one of the strongest beings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We saw him lay the beatdown on Hulk at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War, so it is plausible that with enough strikes, Thanos would eventually weaken the shield. Vibranium is able to absorb vibrations and deflect kinetic energy, but it still has its limits, which we’d previously seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Black Panther and Infinity War.

In any case, Avengers: Endgame marked the final appearance of Captain America’s original vibranium shield, with its destruction being foreshadowed during Tony Stark’s vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, after traveling to the past to drop off the Infinity Stones and live with Peggy Carter in the late 1940s onwards, he obtained a different version of the shield and bequeathed it to Sam Wilson in the present day.

That was just one of the many ways Avengers: Endgame marked the end of an era. Along with Captain America now being well into his 100s and being long retired from the superhero business, Black Widow and Iron Man both sacrificed their lives for the greater good. The former threw herself off a cliff on Vormir so Hawkeye could retrieve the Soul Stone, and the latter channeled the power of the Infinity Stones to turn Thanos and his army to dust.

With the Infinity Saga now over, the MCU now begins a new chapter with Phase 4, which was supposed to kick off in May with Black Widow. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney decided to take Natasha Romanoff’s standalone movie off the calendar. Not only has Black Widow not been given a new release date yet, but we have yet to see if/how its delay will affect the rest of the MCU’s upcoming film slate.

As for the vibranium shield-wielding Sam Wilson, you can see him in action alongside Bucky Barnes when The Falcon and the Winter Solider drops on Disney+ this summer (you can sign up for a free 7-day trial now). For now, there’s no word about that show being pushed back as a consequence of the coronavirus craziness, but if that changes, we’ll let you know.

Keep track of what MCU movies are on the horizon with our comprehensive guide.

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