Captain America: Why He Started (and Stopped) Using Wakandan Shields

Captain America Avengers Infinity War Wakandan shield

One of the most iconic weapons in the Marvel Universe -- cinematic or otherwise -- is Captain America's vibranium shield. Wielding the nigh indestructible shield with unmatched accuracy since World War II, the superhero is rarely seen without it, regardless of whether he's operating alone or leading the Avengers on the field. However, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Steve Rogers lost his trademark buckler during Captain America: Civil War and forced to use Wakandan technology instead before regaining his shield in time for Avengers: Endgame.

Now, we're taking a closer look at  Captain America's brief time without his vibranium shield in the MCU, how he adapted without it and his triumphant reunion with his signature weapon.

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Losing the Shield

Cap vs Iron Man in Civil War

Tony Stark's father Howard gave the newly-minted Captain America his vibranium shield during World War II as he battled against Hydra and the Axis Powers across Europe. It crashed with Cap in the Arctic ice towards the end of the war, and when Steve Rogers was revived nearly 70 years later, he was quickly reunited with his shield as he acclimated to life in the 21st century.

During the events of Civil War, Captain America and Iron Man were at odds over the Sokovia Accords which put the Avengers under the direct jurisdiction of the United Nations. The confrontation culminated in a brutal brawl in a remote bunker when Tony discovered the Winter Soldier had assassinated his parents while under Hydra's mental conditioning. Beaten within an inch of his life, Tony demanded Steve leave behind the shield as it was a gift from his father Howard. Without looking back, Steve complies, leaving alone Tony in the bunker with the shield as he goes on the run with Bucky Barnes.

The Wakandan Shields

Avengers Infinity War Wakandan Shield

Two years later, during the events of Avengers: Infinity War, Steve leads a rogue faction of Avengers around the world while eluding the authorities. After learning Thanos and his forces are hunting for the Infinity Stones on Earth, Steve gathers a group of heroes with Black Panther in Wakanda to make their desperate last stand. As Thanos' Black Order and their extraterrestrial army approach Wakanda, T'Challa gives Steve a set of Wakandan gauntlets that can transform into powerful shields.

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Like Black Panther's vibranium suit, the gauntlets themselves are virtually undetectable until activated, forming large indestructible elliptical shaped shields. As with much of Wakanda's technology, the shields are made of vibranium, like Captain America's usual shield, and virtually indestructible. Given their placement, Steve uses the Wakandan shields both defensively and to strike and stab opponents with the pointed end as he employed them against Thanos' army before being pummeled by Thanos himself.

Regaining the Shield

Following the Battle of Wakanda and Thanos successfully using the fully powered Infinity Gauntlet to wipe out half of all life in the universe, Steve Rogers and the surviving heroes leave Wakanda to regroup at the Avengers headquarters in Upstate New York. After a failed mission across the cosmos to confront Thanos and recover the Infinity Stones from him, the heroes return to Earth where they attempt to pick up the pieces of their defeat over the subsequent five years.

After Tony Stark is convinced to join the heroes and develops time-travel devices fueled by Pym Particles to navigate the Quantum Realm, the first thing the Armored Avenger does upon his return to the headquarters is return Captain America's shield, as the two estranged friends finally reconcile and prepare to undo Thanos' victory. Steve would wield the shield until it's eventual destruction at Thanos' hands during the climactic final battle of Endgame. However, he later reappearing after his own time travel adventures with a mysteriously intact shield.

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