Captain America Chart Showing The History Of His Shield Raises A Big MCU Mystery
Never thought of this.
A character in its own right, Captain America’s signature shield has been around since the earliest days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and has embarked on a journey that few other characters can claim. Starting back in 1943, when it was created by Howard Stark, the shield has passed hands and been involved in several significant MCU battles. But a cool new graphic charred to Instagram brings up a major MCU question about the shield that I never really considered before today: Where did Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) get the shield that he handed over to Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) at the end of Avengers: Endgame?
Here’s a screenshot of the section of the Captain America shield timeline that got me thinking about this open-ended mystery. This is part of a tapestry that was shared on Instagram:
As you can see, the timeline takes off after Thanos (Josh Brolin) destroys Cap’s shield in Avengers: Endgame. The next time that we see the shield, it’s intact, but being held by a Steve Rogers who went back in time to restore all of the Infinity Stones… then decided to stay in the past and live his happiest life alongside the love of his life, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). It’s the life Steve deserved, and the happy ending MCU fans were hoping for. And the transition of the shield was momentous… until Sam gave it back to the government in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, feeling he wasn’t worthy of carrying it.
Personally, I got so wrapped up in the fate of the shield in that Disney+ series that I never once stopped to ask: Where did Steve get that shield from? There have been some very cool rumors that Chris Evans could one day return to the MCU to head up a Disney+ series that showed Captain America returning the different Infinity Stones to the locations from which they were retrieved. I want to see that happen, if only for the chance to reunite Cap with Red Skull, who was guarding the Soul Stone on Vormir. You have to assume that any effort to return the stone to its place of origin, preventing the timeline schisms predicted by The Ancient One, would have to place Cap in Red Skull’s path, and I really want to see that play out.
But the repercussions of Captain America ending up with a fully intact shield suggest a couple of outcomes that have yet to be explored in the MCU. First, did he take it up at some point in the past and continue fighting evil? Did he pluck the fully intact shield from a different place in the MCU timeline, thereby creating an alternate existence, or as Hulk calls them, “A bunch of nasty alternative realities?” And why doesn’t Sam realize how strange it is that Steve left in Bruce Banner’s time machine with only Mjolnir and the stones, but returned with a fully intact shield? His first question should have been, “Hey, where’d this come from?”
Maybe part of the answer lies in Sam’s reply when asked how it feels. “Like it’s someone else’s.” We assumed he meant Steve. But you can also translate that to explain who the shield that Sam is holding belongs to. Down the rabbit hole, we go.
This is far too open-ended of a mystery for Marvel Studios to ignore. There’s a sizable gap in the history of the shield, and while Sam Wilson holds it now as the current Captain America, the movie that Marvel is planning might dig deeper into the origin of the current MCU prop. In the meantime, speculation is in order, and always fun.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.
By Megan Behnke