In the final battle of Avengers: Endgame there is a stunning moment where both Thor and Iron Man are incapacitated, and Captain America is left to face Thanos alone. At first, Cap is assisted when it is revealed he is worthy enough to lift Thor’s hammer Mjolnir. But then Thanos knocks the Asgardian weapon out of Cap’s hands and he’s left to fend for himself against the mad titan with nothing but his vibranium shield. Thanos uses his double-bladed weapon to easily shred Cap’s shield in half. Left battered and beaten, Cap pulls himself to his feet, tightens the shield strap over his wounded arm, and faces Thanos and his army of alien nightmares alone.
It’s a powerful scene in the movie, but newly revealed concept art shows us a glimpse into an alternate version of the memorable moment.
Marvel Studios concept artist Ryan Meinerding has been working with the studio for many years now. Some of his concept artwork has even made it into official posters the studio has put out or released as Comic Con exclusives. The talented artist recently dropped some unused concept art on his Instagram account to give us a peek into the development of the scene described above. In the two pieces shown, instead of using his terrifying weapon to slice up Cap’s shield, Thanos uses his bare hands!
As seen above, the big purple people eater uses his mitts to smash down on Steve Rogers red, white and blue frisbee, shattering it to bits. Similarly, in the second artistic take, Grimace punches clear through the vibranium shield. Apparently vibranium is only considered the strongest metal on Earth, but not in galaxies far, far away.
The alternate scenes are quite similar to a moment in the original Infinity Gauntlet comicbook mini-series. In the now legendary 1991 comic series written by Jim Starlin and drawn by George Perez and Ron Lim, Captain America stands alone against Thanos, who already wields the Infinity Gauntlet. Seeing Cap as no threat to him at all, Thanos smashes his shield to pieces with just one blow.
The scene of Captain America facing off against Thanos that we got in the final version of Avengers: Endgame is powerful, harrowing and a great piece of big budget dramatic filmmaking. What we got in the theatrical cut worked perfectly for the MCU. That said, it’s delightful to know that the powers that be behind Marvel Studios are looking directly at the comicbook source material for their storytelling inspiration. ‘Nuff said.