WARNING: This article contains potential SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War
Captain America's new shield is getting an upgrade for Infinity War, and will have Black Panther to thank for it. It's a theory we've been building since Steve Rogers showed up with a beard, darker suit, and grimmer demeanor than usual in The Avengers: Infinity War's first trailer. To some, the fact that Cap is without his signature shield may be a strong thematic layering, representing his heightened vulnerability now that he has only a handful of Avengers allies left. Or, perhaps a sign that Thanos has weakened Earth's superheroes before his coming assault. While others.... just really want Cap to get his shield back.
Going by the trailers, that's not going to happen. In that aforementioned Infinity War trailer, the final hero shot of Cap, Black Panther, Black Widow, and even a rebooted Bucky Barnes running beside him into combat, Steve Rogers is without his shield. Or is he? Digging into the history of Marvel Comics, the new technology Black Panther brings to the MCU, and now tie-in Infinity War toys, we're confident that Captain America WILL get a new shield in the next Avengers.
Just... not the one that fans will expect. And with some help from T'Challa.
Goodbye Captain America, Goodbye Shield
For those who may not remember, Steve Rogers didn't technically "lose" his shield, despite the past visions of seeing it shattered (and him along with it). Instead, it was surrendered. After deciding that Earth's heroes should follow their own orders, and not be made subject to the greed, politics, or inaction of world governments, he became a fugitive. It led to some headaches in Captain America: Civil War, but the film's climax actually had little to do with that ideology. Once his battle with Tony Stark became entirely personal, and Steve defended his brainwashed best friend, Tony decided to put his armored foot down.
If Steve Rogers was going to stand up for the brainwashed assassin who was commanded to kill Tony's parents, then he didn't deserve the Captain America shield (since Howard Stark had made it in the first place). Steve dropped the shield then and there, following Bucky into the shadows of the world, seemingly relying on allies to survive until his next MCU appearance. After breaking out the rest of his rebel Avengers, of course - and spending his time since growing a beard, when not infiltrating ISIS with Falcon and Widow.
Yet the Infinity War trailer shows that Steve will be forced to come out of the shadows (literally) when Earth is attacked by the Children of Thanos. So, will he take a new shield to go with his new de-Captained hero identity? It's highly likely, if you know his comic book history of replacement shields. Not to mention what it can add to his character's overall story.
The New Steve Rogers Needs a New Shield - Right?
Beyond the beard being sported by Chris Evans in the Infinity War trailer and promotional artwork, its clear this version of Steve Rogers isn't the one fans knew as Captain America. Or perhaps more accurately, this is still Steve Rogers - it's just the rest of the world that he's now redefining without the weight of the stars and stripes on his back (and chest, and stomach). That, too, is a character twist that Marvel Comics fans will know already. Because the comic book Cap grew just as disillusioned with the American government during the 1970s, leaving behind his suit and name to become a new kind of hero. His name was Nomad, which Captain America cast members are teasing for his Infinity War future and beyond.
When Steve Rogers took on a mission years later in Mark Waid's "Man Without Country" arc, he claimed a shield of pure light that could be concealed in a single gauntlet. And if you ask us, giving this clandestine Steve working from the shadows a shield just as deceptive, appearing as if from nowhere is thematic gold.
The good news? The strongest evidence is already in the Infinity War trailer. And the Wakanda technology that will be powering Black Panther's new movie armor, of course.
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018