How Did Thanos Break Captain America’s Shield in Avengers: Endgame?

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BY September 4, 2019

Now that Avengers: Endgame debuted on digital on-demand and Blu Ray, fans eager to learn about every detail of the biggest movie of all-time get all the answers they are looking for. One of the biggest questions audiences asked was how did Thanos break Captain America’s shield in the film? For anyone who’s not seen the film (LOL), during a one-on-one battle Thanos shatters Captain America’s shield with blow after blow from his weapon. While Marvel’s mad titan does seem to have a nearly limitless powerset, Captain America’ shield is made from vibranium. The metal, found only Black Panther’s kingdom of Wakanda, is the strongest metal on Earth. And therein lies the key to the answer, at least according to the filmmaker commentary for Avengers: Endgame.

Thanos Breaks Captain America’s Shield With More Than Just Strength

How Did Thanos Break Captain America's Shield in Avengers Endgame Image via Marvel Studios

In Avengers: Endgame and Infinity War, we see Thanos utterly defeat the Hulk and a ship full of Asgardians. He’s able to wield all of the Infinity Stones, and the only thing that hurt him was when he destroyed them. He survived a direct hit from Stormbreaker, and was able to push back against Thor, so the weapon cut the thunder god. He’s strong. But his muscles alone aren’t why Thanos breaks Captain America’s shield during their battle. It’s his weapon, the stunning double-headed blade that the earlier version of Thanos uses during his conquests.

In the Avengers: Endgame commentary, writer Stephen McFeely confirms that the blade is how Thanos breaks Captain America’s shield in that moment. He points out that vibranium is the strongest metal on Earth. Yet, Thanos is “a thousand-year-old…Ghengis Khan,” one of the Russo brothers said. He then pointed out that Thanos knows about Nidavellir, the star forge that makes Asgard’s greatest weapons. It forged Mjolnir, Stormbreaker, the Infinity Gauntlet, and, possibly, the double-edged blade Thanos uses to break Cap’s shield. Still, the shield took a full blast from Mjolnir without a dent in the original Avengers. Whatever is going on with that weapon is something that should make Earth’s mightiest heroes nervous about the next time.

Avengers: Endgame Doesn’t Really Answer This Question

How Did Thanos Break Captain America's Shield in Avengers Endgame Image by Pikawil via Wikimedia Commons

The Russo Brothers love Star Wars. One of the things about the film fans loved came from the untold stories in the series. Luke Skywalker referenced “The Clone Wars,” and it was up to the fans to make up the answer to what that was. (At least, until the prequel trilogy.) So, this film is chock full of elements that encourage fan debate. Things like how time-travel works or whether Steve Rogers was always Peggy Carter’s husband keep the movie alive in fans’ minds. It’s partly why we’re still writing about Avengers: Endgame three months after its release. A question as simple as how Thanos breaks Captain America’s shield can spark an entire evening’s worth of debate, theorizing, and freestyle fanfiction. But, most importantly, it helps you talk about these stories with your friends.

People sometimes feel uncomfortable when someone is passionate about stories or art. It seems like a frivolous thing to get so worked up about. But, like Star Wars, Avengers: Endgame and much of the MCU are a part of the collective human unconscious now. Humanity’s greatest myths exist on this plane, at least according to Joseph Campbell, because all people are looking for something only stories like these can offer. They entertain, but they also give you hope. Myths are always about the potential for people to do good, no matter what magic or powers help the protagonists along. So, debating these finite details or speculating about gaps in time in the films is a way to talk about these stories we love.

Featured image via screengrab

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Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.

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