The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is just over a year old, meaning Sam Wilson has been Captain America for nearly one whole spin around the sun. The patriotic spin-off saw Anthony Mackie's Wilson and Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes come to terms with the loss of Steve Rogers and, in turn, the loss of the MCU's first Captain America.
And with this loss of one of Marvel Studio's biggest heroes, came the emergence of another. After receiving Cap's shield in the final moments of Avengers: Endgame, Sam Wilson had to deal with what it means to carry a mantle as storied as Captain America.
But eagle-eyed fans would notice this was not the same shield that Chris Evans' man in blue had used throughout his time in the MCU up to that point. Not to say it wasn't HIS shield, but the sidearm seen in Endgame had seemingly had some work done to it after being destroyed at the hands of Thanos during the final battle.
And the man behind those upgrades has finally explained what the thinking was going into the changes.
An Upgraded Shield for an Upgraded Cap
In an interview with Phase Zero, Marvel Studios prop master Russell Bobbitt revealed why Captain America's shield design was altered at the end of Avengers: Endgame and throughout The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in order to add five detailed points engraved on the star and on the gray outer rim.
Bobbitt said that the small upgrades were decided by Marvel as a sign of "handing off the torch," with Chris Evans' Steve Rogers saying to Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson "It’s your shield, it’s not mine:"
"My attitude was and the way I saw it, and the way I interpreted it was, 'I’m handing off the torch. I’m passing the torch. I’ve made some improvements. I want you to run with this. It’s your shield, it’s not mine.' Now, that’s one guy’s interpretation. Hopefully, alot of other people saw it the same way. But that’s kind of in a nutshell where [Marvel] went with it.”
The MCU vet mentioned that once "Kevin [Feige] was on board" it became an obvious move to make a slight change "Knowing that there would be more to come as we saw in Falcon and the Winter Soldier:"
“That motivation just came from the director. He said lets change it up. Kevin [Feige] was on board obviously when old Captain America hands off the shield, that’s when we introduced it. Knowing that there would be more to come as we saw in Falcon and the Winter Soldier."
It's All in the Details
Some could have just written off small differences like this as simple change for change's sake. But it is fascinating to hear the thinking that actually goes into making little upgrades like this.
Marvel Studios has been no stranger to giving their heroes a new look as they move from project to project, usually having some sort of direct plot-related reasoning. But this case seems to be much more nuanced. It is Marvel ushering in a new era of an iconic hero, without bringing direct attention to it.
Sure, the passing of the torch is happening on screen, but these small changes are a direct nod from Kevin Feige, and the people who make the MCU magic happen, that they too are passing the torch.
And it's not as if they have completely changed the look of the shield and dyed it lime green or anything. No, it is something a little more subdued.
While Evans' Cap was the quintessential classic hero and his shield reflected that "classic" look, Mackie's will be one for the modern-day and should have a sidearm to match.
Surely, this will not be the last upgrade the shield gets, but for now, the new Captain America will wield it with pride as he ushers fans into the next generation of the hero.