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The Weird Explanation On How Thanos' Blade Broke Cap's Shield

Contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame

In case you haven't heard by now, there were many eye-catching and eyebrow-raising scenes in Avengers: Endgame — from deaths we didn't see coming and badass fight scenes to unexpected character transformations and twists that continued on until the very last frame. One such attention-grabbing moment involved Captain America (Chris Evans) and his iconic shield... and Thanos (Josh Brolin) breaking it. 

We're about to dive into spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, so click away if you aren't prepared to know exactly what goes down in the film. 

The sequence in question happens during the climax of the film, during which the costumed heroes who were dusted away in Thanos' original Decimation rematerialize to join the fight against the Mad Titan — the version of him from 2014, that is, as the Thanos the Avengers fought in Infinity War got a swift Stormbreaker whack to the head when Thor (Chris Hemsworth) killed him at the start of Endgame. Immediately, fans can recognize that this Thanos looks a little different compared to how they're used to seeing him on the silver screen: not only does he rock heavy gold armor, but he also carries a massive dual-bladed weapon. Past Thanos utilizes it to its full capabilities, demonstrating that it's even deadlier than the weapons of his opponents. When Thanos gets up close and personal with Captain America, the Mad Titan slashes away at Cap's Vibranium shield, breaking off large chunks of it until it's about half its original size. 

But how? How could Thanos break a shield previously thought to be completely indestructible? 

Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo offered up an answer, and it's an intriguing one. 

Speaking with ComicBook.com, Russo hinted that Vibranium may not be as durable as people have believed it to be, despite Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) once explaining that the kinetic energy-absorbing metal is the most powerful one in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. The director said that Thanos' weapon is probably made of something more powerful — the best weapon for the greatest villain. 

"Clearly Thanos is a thousand-year-old character who has fought everyone in the universe and is the greatest: He's the Genghis Khan of the universe, so he would have the greatest weapon," said Russo.

He then noted that Thanos may have crafted his double-bladed sword weapon with the help of Eitri (Peter Dinklage), the famed weapons forger who created Thor's Mjolnir and helped the god of thunder forge his battle-axe Stormbreaker in Infinity War. As Russo put it, Thanos may have gotten in contact with Eitri, traveled to Nidavellir, and gained access to a material even stronger than Vibranium to forge his double-edged weapon with. Even more interesting than that is the idea that perhaps Thanos had Eitri create the shield-breaking weapon around the same time he forged his Infinity Gauntlet

"He knows of Eitri, he's been to Eitri to have his glove created. Did he have them create his blade as well? Potentially," Russo stated. "But it's interesting that it could destroy the shield."

This is certainly a sound explanation regarding the origins of the dangerous weapon Thanos wielded in Avengers: Endgame, and provides an interesting connection to the existing set of beliefs about how Thanos got his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet. Marvel fans first saw the Mad Titan slip on the Gauntlet in a post-credits scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was released in 2015. Now, if Russo's idea that perhaps Thanos obtained the Infinity Gauntlet and his double-edged weapon seen in Endgame at roughly the same time, that creates a small wrinkle in the MCU, since the Thanos that breaks Captain America's shield is from 2014. Based on Russo's postulation here, if Thanos had the weapon in 2014, he might also have had the Gauntlet. That would render Thanos' desperation to obtain the Gauntlet from the Avengers in Endgame obsolete — why would he need their Gauntlet if he had one of his own to match his double-eged weapon?

Regardless of how and when Thanos had his double-ended sword weapon forged, what's arguably more noteworthy is what the weapon could be made of. Given that it's tough enough to crack Vibranium, Thanos' weapon must be comprised of another incredibly strong metal — perhaps adamantium, the other super-sturdy metal known in the Marvel universe. Adamantium is, as fans will recall, the metal alloy bonded to X-Men hero Wolverine's skeleton and bone claws that jut out of his hands. In the Marvel Comics, adamantium has also appeared in the outer shell of the supervillain Ultron's body, in the bones of fellow X-Men Sabretooth and the young mutant X-23, and in the skeleton of Wolverine's foe Lady Deathstrike.  

Taking into consideration the existence of adamantium in the Marvel universe plus Russo's coy comment about it being "interesting" that Thanos' weapon could destroy Captain America's shield, one could surmise that it could be revealed in the future that the weapon was indeed made with adamantium. The substance hasn't explicitly appeared in an MCU film (it got a nod in a special feature on the Blu-ray version of Iron Man 2 and a loose reference in Netflix's Daredevil), but it has been a staple throughout 20th Century Fox's X-Men movies. Since Disney has absorbed Fox and bought the film rights to many Marvel Comics characters it previously couldn't use in the MCU, now might be the perfect time to introduce adamantium into the franchise. Who knows? Maybe an upcoming film will explain that Thanos' weapon was fortified with adamantium, which would open up the door for the X-Men to join the MCU — namely the young Wolverine that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige wants to introduce. 

Everything means something in the MCU, so it seems only a matter of time before fans discover what Thanos' shield-shattering weapon was really made of.