One of the most iconic symbols in all of Marvel Comics -- and the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- is Captain America's vibranium shield. And as it turns out, the big-screen version of Cap's shield almost looked noticeably different before Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige stepped in.
Played by Chris Evans, Steve Rogers/Captain America made his MCU debut in the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger. According to the new book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Feige was impressed with how the costume team managed to bring Steve Rogers' Captain America suit to life, praising how it looked "real and believable." Cap's shield, on the other hand, was a different story.
Apparently, Feige "wasn't as sure about the look of the shield and suggested they step back into design to improve it. The current on-screen weapon was essentially a consumer products shield and was very smooth and vibrant." The First Avenger co-producer Stephen Broussard recalls that "[the shield] was kind of cartoonish."
The book goes on to explain that Marvel Studios character designer and concept artist Ryan Meinerding "revisited his vis-dev art for the shield and added the rivets, the leather strap, and gave it a much more weathered and lived-in look. That went to the film's property master, Barry Gibbs, and his team, who then brought the new-look shield to life. But without Feige pumping the brakes at the eleventh hour and allowing the team to figure out and execute a better idea, fans would have been discussing Cap's iconic weapon for all the wrong reasons."
Following The First Avenger, Evans' Cap went on to wield his shield in The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame. The weapon has popped up in other places across the MCU as well, such as in footage in films like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Black Widow, not to mention being wielded by Loki (disguised as Cap) in Thor: The Dark World. The shield even appeared during a hallucination sequence in the first season of the ABC series Marvel's Agent Carter.
The legacy of Steve Rogers and his shield was integral to the plot of Marvel Studios' recent Disney+ original series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which ultimately concluded with Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) reclaiming the shield and assuming the mantle of Captain America. Mackie is slated to reprise his role in Marvel's fourth Captain America solo film.
Source: The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe