Marvel’s Epic ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Scenes Exposes a Major Continuity Error Involving Captain America

Want to knock down the iconography of a superhero? Just show his or her key insignia or weapon and break it. That’s how you know they’re in real trouble. 

That’s been the method of comic artists over many decades. Want to show that Superman may die? Show his S on a tattered flag. Want to indicate that Spider-Man is backed into a corner? Rip his mask up. Want to hint that it’s curtains for Captain America? Show that his shield is busted. Avengers: Endgame, however, forgot to do some breaking in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

What’s the history of Captain America’s shield? 

Chris Evans
Chris Evans attends the UK Film Premiere of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Anthony | Harvey/Getty Images

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Cap’s shield is practically a character in and of itself – so much so that the movie version of it gets its own entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki. In Captain America: The First Avenger, after drinking the serum, Steve Rogers gets the shield from Howard Stark, Tony’s father. Stark reveals its made of vibranium, the strongest and rarest metal in the world. We didn’t know it at the time, but Wakanda made a back-door entrance in the MCU. 

Captain America hung on to that shield, with its cover saving his life several times. The first time he got frustrated with it was when he refused to fight his old friend Bucky, who had been brainwashed as the Winter Soldier. He let the shield fall into the water at the end of his second movie, but it was recovered and returned to him.

The shield faced an even greater test in Captain America: Civil War. First, it was damaged by Black Panther, whose claws are also made of vibranium. Second, it takes a beating during the final Cap/Iron Man fight when Tony protests that Steve didn’t deserve the shield and that Tony’s father made it. Steve pierced Tony’s crucial arc reactor with the shield and left it behind. And here’s where it gets tricky. 

What did ‘Endgame’ not do with the shield? 

Tony had repaired the scratch on the shield and returned it to Steve, who used it during the final battle against the ultimate villain, Thanos. Thanos managed to break the shield with brute force. Time travel saved the day, allowing Steve to obtain a new shield. But at one point, the shield is shown intact when it should be broken. 

One fan on Reddit cleverly responded: “It’s not an error, it just chose not to obey the laws of physics for that frame in the movie.” This is probably a reference to Civil War, when Spider-Man says of the shield: “That thing does not obey the laws of physics at all!” That among many other things in the MCU. 

All that was left, then, was for Steve to hand over the shield when his time was done, or about to be. Controversially, he handed the shield to Sam instead of his old friend Bucky, probably thinking Sam had a better mental capacity to handle it.

What’s the status of ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?’ 

The upcoming Disney+ show, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,  will continue that story. Sam discovers that becoming Captain America involves more than Rogers’ say-so. The government puts up another contender, US Agent, played by Wyatt Russell.

Question is, when will we get to see the series? Before the pandemic turned the world upside down, it was supposed to be the first of Marvel’s series on Disney+, with a debut this fall. However, production on the show was shut down. Reports indicated the show was close to finishing, but not quite. Disney has not provided an updated release timeline for any of the Marvel shows, so the fate of the shield is unclear for now.