Captain America's Shield was a primary defensive and offensive weapon used by Steve Rogers. The shield that Rogers carried into battle was made of indestructible steel and was shaped like a traditional heater shield. Later, Rogers adopted his more well-known, disc-shaped shield which was made out of vibranium. During the Battle of Earth in 2023, the indestructible vibranium shield was destroyed by Thanos. After traveling to an alternate timeline, Steve Rogers procured the vibranium shield and brought it to the original timeline, where he bestowed it to Sam Wilson.
World War II
- "No, no, that's just a prototype."
"What's it made of?"
"Vibranium. It's stronger than steel and a third of the weight. It's completely vibration absorbent."
"How come it's not standard issue?"
"That's the rarest metal on Earth. What you're holding there, that's all we've got."
- ―Howard Stark and Steve Rogers[src]
The second shield used by Captain America was a prototype made from the only supply of vibranium that the United States Army had available. Howard Stark presented the shield to Rogers to use as a tool to protect himself from gunfire. It was then integrated into the patriotic motif of Rogers' uniform, adding a white star to the center and making the three concentric outer circles into red and white stripes.
Rogers carried the shield during all of his raids on HYDRA facilities and other missions during the war. As Rogers chased the Red Skull, the shield took a direct hit from the HYDRA energy-based weapon, saving Rogers from disintegration. Rogers carried the shield with him on his final mission, when he was forced to crash the Valkyrie into the icy waters of the North Atlantic, leaving both Rogers and the shield encased in ice. Almost seventy years later, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents stumbled across the crash site of the Valkyrie. Captain America was found alive, and he and the shield were taken to New York City.
The revived Captain America was asked to join the Avengers, where he again relied on his shield as his primary weapon. On a mission in Germany to capture Loki, he saved an elderly civilian by blocking a shot fired from Loki's Scepter. The shield also saved Rogers' life when it protected him from an attack from a confused Thor, whose attack was deflected, destroying a large area of the surrounding forest. Rogers relied on his shield once again during the Chitauri attack on New York City.
Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
In the two years after the Avengers parted ways, Steve Rogers became a full-time S.H.I.E.L.D. operative, receiving advanced combat training and field experience that allowed him to learn to more effectively use his shield as an offensive weapon in combat. While performing a number of stealth missions alongside the subdivision STRIKE, the shield was repainted, replacing the red stripes with light blue stripes to make it less conspicuous. During the nighttime mission aboard the Lemurian Star, the shield's colors were muted.
To escape the Triskelion, where he was attacked by STRIKE in an elevator, Steve Rogers made a leap of over twenty stories to escape, landing on his shield, to break his fall. In the events leading up to the HYDRA Uprising, Rogers had several run-ins with the assassin known as the Winter Soldier, who, unlike others, was able to block Rogers' shield by catching it using his bionic arm.
During one fight with the Winter Soldier, Rogers learned of his true identity as Bucky Barnes, Rogers' best friend that he believed had died during World War II. Because of this, Rogers later refused to continue fighting Bucky after completing his mission to disable the three HYDRA controlled Helicarriers, instead allowing his shield to fall from the Helicarrier. Later, the shield was recovered and left next to Captain America's bedside in the hospital.
Tony Stark created for the Avengers many new gadgets to fight HYDRA. One of them was Captain America's new uniform, that possessed strong, electromagnetic panels on each of the glove that allowed Rogers to retrieve his shield more easily.
During the Avengers' Attack on the HYDRA Research Base, Rogers and Thor noticed that the HYDRA soldiers were in a particular formation approaching them. Rogers held up his shield and allowed Thor to hit it with Mjølnir; the resulting shockwave caused the operatives to be rendered unconscious.
During Rogers' fight with Ultron in the Battle of Seoul, the shield got stuck in Ultron's body and Rogers lost the shield in the street. Black Widow, pursuing the combatants on her motorcycle, noticed the shield on the ground, scooped it up, and returned it to Rogers. The shield saved Rogers from flying debris that came through the windshield of the train as he ordered Scarlet Witch to use her powers to stop its movement.
Rogers and Thor used the shield and hammer in tandem during their fights against Ultron Sentries. Rogers would toss the shield into the air and allow Thor to hit it with his hammer to increase its speed as a projectile weapon.
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The shield was removed from Rogers' grip by Spider-Man when he made an appearance in Germany, siding with Iron Man, surprising Rogers and his allies. Hawkeye fired an arrow which carried Ant-Man, placing him on the shield. Lang then grew to normal size, and returned the shield to Rogers. During the ensuing battle at Leipzig-Halle Airport, Black Panther was able to scratch the shield with his vibranium claws.
Both Rogers and Barnes used the shield interchangeably during their fight with Stark, with Rogers using it to break off Stark's mask and then to pierce his Arc Reactor, shutting down Stark's suit. As Rogers began to walk away with Barnes, Stark angrily told him that he did not deserve to have the shield, as Howard Stark, his father, made the shield. Rogers then paused to drop the shield and walked away.
As Tony Stark was moving Avengers inventory from Avengers Tower to the New Avengers Facility, Happy Hogan mentioned that a new prototype shield intended for Captain America was one of the precious items on the Stark Cargo Plane.
Returned to Steve Rogers
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Tony Stark eventually repaired the scratch on the shield and stored it in his garage. After he completed the time travel devices and went to the New Avengers Facility, Stark brought it along and gave it to Rogers. Steve then used it during the Theft of the Mind Stone to battle the 2012 version of himself. Despite losing the shield mid-fight, he managed to reacquire it at some point afterward. During the final confrontation with Thanos, Captain America carried this shield along with Thor's Mjølnir to fight against the villain. Unfortunately, it was broken by Thanos' brute force, leaving Steve with a fractured shield. Even so, Rogers stubbornly fastened the strap on his shield and continued to use it in the Battle of Earth.
Second Vibranium Shield
Given to Sam Wilson
After Steve Rogers used time travel to return to the 1940s and create an alternate timeline, he obtained that timeline's version of his original vibranium shield. By 2023, he returned to the original timeline, bringing the alternate shield with him and passing it down to Sam Wilson.
Captain America's original shield was a heater-shaped shield that was made of a relatively sturdy metal that allowed Captain Rogers to rely on it as a viable weapon in battle. The outer surface of the shield was painted in an American Flag motif, with an area of blue with three white stars across the top, and a series of vertical red and white stripes running down to the point. The inner surface had the appearance of a polished brass plate and had mounted leather handles that allowed it to be held. This shield was mostly used as a melee weapon to attack enemies directly and provide some protection from gunfire and debris from explosions. After its surface was punched in by the Red Skull, Captain America abandoned the shield.
After entering World War II as a fully recognized soldier, Captain America switched to a special, disc-shaped shield made of vibranium provided to him by the Strategic Scientific Reserve. This shield appeared to be composed of four concentric sections, with fittings on the inner surface for two leather straps that allow the shield to easily be held and worn on Captain Rogers' arm. The straps would later be replaced by an electromagnet that would connect to another electromagnet worn at the hand and forearm during the Attack on the HYDRA Research Base.
Captain America relied heavily on the shield as a weapon that was balanced in both defensive and offensive capabilities. Made from vibranium, it is able to absorb and reflect kinetic energy, enabling it to withstand impacts that would break a shield made of any other material. The shield's center is also highly deflective, able to redirect flying projectiles- as demonstrated when Rogers was able to ricochet a concentrated fire of high caliber bullets from a minigun back at his enemies- and also reflect the impact of Mjølnir to cause a massive shock wave. It was also discovered to be incredibly effective at deflecting or diffusing attacks from energy-based firearms such as those developed by HYDRA, Iron Man's repulsor beams, or the guns used by the Chitauri. The vibranium shield also demonstrated that it can be used to cushion falls from great heights.
As an offensive weapon, the shield’s discus shape and vibranium composition make it powerful as both a close-quarters melee weapon and a thrown weapon. In the hands of a trained fighter like Captain America, the shield is a strong melee weapon, using the flat surface and blunt outer edge of the shield to strike enemies in vital areas. In the right hands, the shield is also an exceptional ranged weapon as its vibranium composition and broad, curved shape allow it to easily move through the air when thrown while maintaining nearly constant velocity and momentum. One of the most unique attributes of the shield is its ability to ricochet after striking a solid surface when thrown, losing very little of its momentum, allowing it to strike several targets, and, if aimed properly, return to the thrower.
The shield originally had a reflective, shiny grey appearance due to its vibranium composition. However, the shield was later painted to match the appearance of Captain America's uniform, placing a white star in the center, surrounded by blue, and making the three outer rings into red and white stripes. During modern stealth missions, the red sections of the shield would temporarily be covered with a light blue color to make it appear less conspicuous.
- In the comics, Captain America's shield is made from a unique mix of vibranium and an iron alloy; attempts to duplicate this mixture led to the development of Adamantium.
- Howard Stark, being tasked with the duty of creating shield prototypes for Captain America, designed five other special shields besides the one made from vibranium. Some of these prototypes were equipped with guns and electrical relays.
- Prior to making the shield his primary weapon, Rogers showed an affinity for using shields when he fought, such as picking up a circular garbage can lid to protect himself and later ripping off a car door to protect himself from gunfire. He later remarked that he thought of them as useful tools, especially the USO shield, which he said was "handier than you might think."
- A replica/prototype of the shield can be seen in Tony Stark's workshop in Iron Man and Iron Man 2, first behind Tony when he is first seen removing his armor, and then when he is building a particle accelerator.
- In Iron Man 3, the Mandarin has a tattoo of the shield on his neck. It has been noted that in place of the star is an "A," the symbol for anarchy. Kevin Feige has said that the Mandarin uses "symbolism of various cultures and iconography that he perverts for his own end." A popular theory is that he is attempting to twist the ideals the shield represents. This fits in with the speech that he gives in the trailer.
- Captain America's Shield is considered the property of the United States government. In the comics, when the government claimed the shield, they enlisted a new soldier to take the role of Captain America - John Walker.
- The prototype shield mentioned by Happy Hogan in Spider-Man: Homecoming is likely a reference to the energy shield Sharon Carter gave to Steve to replace the vibranium shield after it was destroyed in the comics.