Captain America’s shield is one of the most indestructible things in the comicverse. How would it stand up to a strike from a lightsaber?
As most of you know, I am a huge Marvel fan and a huge Star Wars fan. Most of the time, I like that the two are completely separate universes, although sometimes it is fun to theorize what would happen if, in fact, they coexisted. One of the first things that come to mind when you think of such a crossover is Captain America’s shield vs. a lightsaber.
There are a couple of ways to look at this. The first thing I want to mention is that there are different variations of Cap’s shield. The primary difference is the difference between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Marvel Comics Universe. In the MCU, Cap’s shield is made of strictly Vibranium and nothing else. This is due to the movie licensing issues. In the comics, the shield is a combination of Vibranium and proto-adamantium. For a more detailed view on the history of Cap’s shield, check out this piece from ScreenRant.
I want to break this down a couple of different ways for you here. I want to give you my points on both the shield from the comics and on the shield from the movies.
So, as I broke down for you earlier the shield that Cap uses in the comic universe is made of a combination of steel, vibranium from Wakanda, and proto-adamantium. It is important to understand that this shield is designed to be indestructible. However, according to Comic Book Resources, there are at least fifteen different times that the shield has been destroyed. Every single time it was done under extremely unique circumstances.
In fact, according to CBR, the times it was destroyed by the damage was from Magneto, Hyperion, Molecule Man, Valkyrie’s Mystic Sword, Ultron, Dr. Doom, Serpent and the Living Laser. Most of these times this occurred outside of Marvel’s main universe. This means that these are alternate realities.
The shield in the Cinematic Universe truly lives up to the indestructible nickname that is given to it. As I mentioned up above, the shield is actually made up of just Vibranium, no adamantium or proto-adamantium. Cap’s shield survives a number of incredible feats in the movies. In the first Avengers movie, Cap blocks a blow from Mjolnir that actually sends a shockwave to the surrounding area. In the same movie, it also takes a blast from a grenade.
The shield took more blows from Mjolnir in Age of Ultron and was instrumental in damaging Ultron. A character who destroys Cap’s shield in the comics. However, it is in Civil War, where this shield takes on the most amount of damage and abuse. In the opening scenes, it survives a bomb from Crossbones and later in the film it actually successfully blocked the repulsor rays of Iron Man which are rumored to be around 10-20,000˚C. This is important and something I want you to remember for later on.
The lightsaber is quite possibly the most unique weapon in all of science fiction. Not only that but for the time in which Star Wars was produced, it is quite possibly the greatest movie special effect of all time. For all intents and purposes, it is a literal “laser sword” and probably the coolest movie weapon of all time as well.
It is important to know here that I am no scientist. I am just a nerd with a keyboard and a blog providing my opinions. So, if you get offended at my like of science knowledge, I am sorry. I am just relaying the message of what I know.
With that said, the best explanation for how a lightsaber works and what it is comes from a user on Quora,
“The blade of a lightsaber is actually a beam of plasma projected from the hilt. The beam is stabilised by a containment force field, which is also projected from the hilt. The force field (not a Force field) traps the plasma and its heat emissions in a sword shape, only giving off a colour signature.
Because of this design, the plasma in the blade of the lightsaber can transfer heat through conduction, but not through radiation. In other words, if you put your hand next to a lightsaber you would feel no heat, but if you touched the blade your flesh would sublimate.”
This is a very profound explanation of what a lightsaber is and does. It also perfectly explains what see in the movies. None of the wielders are at all bothered by the hilt and we never see it really emit heat, the heat isn’t emitted until it makes content with someone or something.
Does it stand a chance against Cap’s Shield
First off, let me point out that the nerd in me would absolutely geek out at seeing Captain America face off against a Jedi or Dark Side user with a lightsaber. It would make for a great comic scene and an even better cinematic scene.
However, I don’t forsee Cap’s shield lasting a battle against a lightsaber. This is mostly to do with the temperature of the lightsaber. The temperature of the lightsaber is compared to a constricted plasma arc which the Quora user above states is between “8000°C and 25000°C (between 14432°F and 45032°F)”. Nerdist’s Kyle Hill states that it could even be hotter than the core of the sun.
Not that I think a lightsaber user is going to sit there with their lightsaber in the shield like Qui Gon at a blast door in TPM. I would imagine after repeated blows, despite the chemistry of the vibranium in Cap’s shield, that it would eventually start to wither and melt away. When you consider that many other characters in the comic universe have broken Cap’s shield, it really wouldn’t stand a chance against it.
Given that Cap’s shield survived the blasts from Iron Man’s repulsors, I very well could be wrong about the MCU version of the shield. It, however, doesn’t really add up. I simply can’t see it holding up to the abuse of a lightsaber’s repeated blows.
If you want a more science-based answer, check out the Nerdist video below from Kyle Hill.
If you enjoyed this piece, let me know on scoial media or in the comments! I’d love to hear your opinion!