There Are 2 Versions of Captain America’s Shield — and Not Just for Selling New Merchandise

Captain America is one of the most recognizable superheroes in history, partially because he’s been around for a long time, and partially because he represents America.

Because he is the physical embodiment of America though, he’s also easily recognizable since his costume is full of red, white, and blue. With that being said, costumes change over time and Cap’s costume has certainly evolved and grown with the years.

However, one aspect of his design that has also changed has been his famous shield, and it changed for good reason. Here’s a look at why there are actually two versions of Captain America’s shield

Why Captain America needs a shield in the first place

Even though Steve Rogers became Captain America after he was injected with the Super Soldier serum, he was still, at the end of the day, flesh and bone. As such, even though the military used him as a propaganda tool during World War Two, whenever he went on actual combat missions, he needed a real weapon.

That weapon came in the form of his famous shield, which is made out of vibranium, a super strong fictional metal. Most of the time, Cap will use his shield to block blows from his foes, and other times, he’ll throw it around like a boomerang in order to do some damage to his enemies.

That works well enough in most fights, but sometimes, Cap needs to be more stealthy than not. 

Captain America’s stealthy shield

Like Marvel fans on Reddit talked about, when Cap needs to be stealthy, he repaints his shield so that it’s not so bright. Usually, his shield is painted with red, white, and blue, but the red makes the shield really pop out. That’s why Cap paints over the red with blue, and as a result, the second, stealthy version of Cap’s shield has a blue and grey color scheme.

Cap used this stealthy shield on one mission during the opening of The Winter Soldier, and since that mission took place at night, the blue and grey colors probably helped keep him stealthy. That said, that may not be the only reason why Cap technically has two versions of his shield.

Like one Marvel fan wrote, there are two reasons why Cap has a stealthy shield, “The in-universe reason: to camouflage it better in a nighttime stealth operation. The out-of-universe reason: to sell a new version of the Captain America action figure.”

Disney is a toy factory, after all

A replica of a shield used by  Captain America
A replica of a shield used by Captain America | Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

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While it’s very plausible that Cap had to give his shield a new paint job for that stealth mission, it’s also very plausible that Disney just wanted to make a new toy featuring a slightly different Captain America. After all, even though many Disney movies are profitable, the toys that Disney can make afterwards are also extremely profitable. 

For example, Hollywood Reporter said that Disney made almost $55 billion in merch sales from around the world in 2018. While Disney is by far the most profitable movie studio when it comes to merch sales, other studios also made a lot of money from selling toys and similar products. For example, Hollywood Reporter said that Warner Brothers’ merchandising arm made $11 billion in the same year, and Viacom made $5.5 billion. 

As such, while it is a cynical idea that Marvel made a stealthy shield just so that it could make a brand-new toy for Captain America, it makes a lot of sense why Marvel and Disney would do that. The movies, due to how popular they are, act as a giant commercial for the toys and other products that Disney is selling.

As a result, Disney can make money from ticket sales as well as toy sales, and that’s just good for business.