Although Marvel Studios is well on its way to expanding the MCU's future with Phase 4, there are still some important ties to the franchise's origins that will make an impact going forward. Arguably the most iconic of these is Captain America's shield, which has played a role in the MCU for more than a decade.
The red, white, and blue shield first came into play in Chris Evans' inaugural appearance as Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, and was seen in every Infinity Saga movie featuring Evans other than Avengers: Infinity War. Since it debuted in 2011, it's been through quite an intense journey with both Rogers and Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson wielding it, and it's traveled across the world as well as space and time.
Even considering its status as one of the MCU's most memorable weapons, its journey is long, winding, and sometimes difficult to track. Thankfully, one of Marvel's official social media accounts delivered a straightforward path for where the shield has been over the past decade of real-time.
Marvel Shows The Journey of Captain America's Shield
The official Marvel UK Instagram account shared a nine-image thread showing where the Captain America shield has been throughout its time in the MCU.
Howard Stark initially made the shield out of Wakandan vibranium before giving it to Chris Evans' Steve Rogers in 1943. Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes also wielded the weapon for just a moment before his supposed death in Captain America: The First Avenger.
After World War II, the shield and Rogers were both frozen in ice until SHIELD defrosted both of them in 2012, the same year that The Avengers released in theaters. This timeline also includes the 2012 portion of Time Heist from Avengers: Endgame, which featured two versions of Evans' hero both wielding the shield against one another.
Two years later, Evans' hero used the shield in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which also shows more of Stan's Bucky Barnes catching and using the weapon himself. Both of them dropped into Potomac River after the film's climactic final battle, although Barnes pulled Rogers and the shield out of the frigid waters.
Between Winter Soldier and 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tony Stark upgraded the shield by including electromagnetic panels for easy retrieval.
In Age of Ultron's final battle, Black Widow used the shield against Ultron's sentries as the Avengers took down the killer robot and his army.
2016's Captain America: Civil War saw Rogers lose the shield to the United Nations' Joint Terrorism Task Force after his fight against Black Panther with Barnes. Later in the same film, Emily VanCamp's Agent 13 stole the shield from the government and returned it to Rogers before the airport battle in Germany.
The shield then took quite a wild ride once the Avengers' civil war officially started.
Rogers held onto it for a few moments before Tom Holland's Spider-Man ripped it from his hands and webbed his hands together. Paul Rudd's Ant-Man then stole the shield back and returned it to Captain America, all coming before Black Panther left three big claw marks on the shield during the battle.
After the movie's final battle between Rogers, Barnes, and Stark, Captain America gave up the shield and left Siberia with Barnes in his care. This led Stark to take the weapon back to the Avengers Facility in New York.
Seven years later in the timeline, Stark returned the shield to Rogers before the team reassembled for the Time Heist to save the universe in Avengers: Endgame. Its big moment from this culmination event came in conjunction with Mjolnir as Rogers wielded both in his one-on-one battle against the Mad Titan Thanos.
Thanos got the better of Rogers for a moment by using his double-bladed sword to take off nearly half of the shield before the Avengers truly assembled. After that battle, Rogers went back in time to return the Infinity Stones, and he came back with a fully refurbished version of the shield free of claw marks and completely whole again.
Endgame finished with Rogers giving this refurbished shield to Sam Wilson, unofficially giving him the title and mantle of Captain America.
In the opening moments of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson gave the shield back to the Smithsonian, but the government almost immediately handed it off to Wyatt Russell's John Walker, anointing him the new Captain America. The shield stayed in Walker's possession until he used it to murder an unarmed Flag Smasher in cold blood in Latvia.
This led Wilson and Barnes to take the shield from Walker, and Season 1 ends with Wilson wielding it as he accepts the role of Captain America.
The full view of the shield's timeline can be seen below:
A Long Marvel Journey for Captain America's Shield
With the shield first developed in the early 1940s, it's certainly taken quite the journey over nearly 80 years in the MCU timeline. Starting off in Chris Evans' hands before moving to other heroes like Stan's Winter Soldier and Mackie's Falcon, it's found a way to stay in the spotlight at every turn.
As is shown clearly in this diagram, the weapon has clearly been through some rough times, taking hits from Black Panther's vibranium claws, Thanos' galactic sword, and everything in between. In the end, Rogers and his Avengers teammates understood how important it remains as a symbol of hope and freedom, finding a way to help it persevere through every challenge.
The last fans have seen of the shield in recent times was in Episode 6 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and it will undoubtedly come back for more action in the upcoming Captain America 4. Its journey beyond that point is still a mystery, but it's becoming clear that it won't be going away anytime soon.