In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America has some sort of magnetic thing to call the shield back to him (kind of like how Thor can summon his hammer).

Gif showing Steve stood in the forest in Sokovia; he has his left arm stretched in front of himself and activates the magnets on the back of his hand and forearm; the shield attaches to them from the ground

From the wiki:

Tony Stark created for the Avengers many new gadgets to fight HYDRA. One of them was Captain America's new uniform, that possessed strong, electromagnetic panels on each of the glove that allows Captain America to retrieve his shield more easily.

Then, unless I'm mistaken, he no longer has any such device in Captain America: Civil War. For example, during the opening fight in Lagos, Nigeria, the shield is kicked away from Captain America and I immediately expected Cap would summon it back to his arm but he didn't, he just kept fighting hand to hand.

Is there any in or out of universe reason they got rid of it?

If it is used in the movie and I just missed it, please let me know when it happens, etc.

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    I'm pretty sure he does have it. There were a couple of moments in Lagos and wherever Bucky was that I seemed to detect him using it. It's just a lot more subtle since they don't have to specifically show it off.
    – DariM
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 23:26
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    In the comics, Captain America originally had a similar device when he joined the Avengers, but pretty quickly abandoned it and started to just use his skill with the shield to bounce it back to him. Something similar may be happening in the movies. Commented May 11, 2016 at 23:57
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    @evilsoup - Actually, it returns because he's thrown it at an angle so it frisbees back to him. That being said, once he's gotten it back, he then transfers it to his other hand and sticks it onto his arm so that scene is still pretty useful.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 22:01
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    It was a loaner and he had to return it. Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 19:52
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    In the original comics, he removed it because they "threw off the delicate balance of his shield".. Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 10:31

4 Answers 4


Cap certainly seems to have gotten rid of the magnetic return for the shield after Avengers: Age of Ultron. Firstly, in the end fight scene of Captain America: Civil War we see the leather straps are back attached to the shield:

Cap forces his shield into Tony's arc reactor who is laying on the ground whilst he is on top; the leather straps for the shield are clearly visible

We also see that the magnetic strips on his forearms have been removed or hidden; considering the leather straps on the shield and that we see no usage of the feature it is almost certainly gone.

Steve stands looking over the battlefield in his uniform
Click image to enlarge.

Then compare both Steve's gauntlets and his shield to the one we see in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Image from Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Art of the Movie for ease; note it also mentions it is indeed magnetic:

Art showing the sleek design of the back of the shield and how is attaches to the magnetic strips on Steve's forearm and hand; the text above is is quoted below

"When Joss Whedon watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier - there's a scene in there where Cap kicks up his shield, and it attaches to his arm. The idea behind this image sort of inspired the idea of, 'What if there weren't any straps? What if it was attached magnetically?' It would not only offer an innovative visual, but also allow for different and new actions with the shield," Meinerding says. "We began conceptulizing this idea and came up with two magnetic connections on the back of his wrist and the back of his forearm that are actually visible on the costume. We also added a foldout handle so if you wanted to have him pick up or whirl the shield around in a new way, there's actually a metal handle that folds over one of the magnetic action points, as well."

So, why remove it?

Out of universe it seems it was removed at the same time the costume was simplified and made more realistic. The below applies to the colours and look of the costume but I wouldn't be surprised if it is the same reason why the magnetic strips were removed.

Head of Visual Development Ryan Meinerding has designed Captain America since the hero's initial appearance in Marvel's Captain America: The First Avenger. According to Meinerding, the evolution of Steve Rogers' look is based on both the preference of the director and nature of the story, "The Russo brothers have very specific taste in costumes, and usually that involves tactical and realistic design elements," Meinerding says. "The suit in Civil War is a simplified version of the Avengers: Age of Ultron costume. The Russos thought the costume was successful, but felt there were some design flourishes, like the white on the arms and the red detailing around the chest, that wouldn't necessarily be realistic in the more grounded film they wanted to make."

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War: The Art of the Movie

In universe Paul's answer covers the most likely reason: magnets attract other metal objects. In an empty forest the short, stronger magnetic burst would be fine as not too much else would come with it. In a crowded inhabited area there are lots of potential objects that would be attracted to the magnets at the same time as the shield, causing problems.

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    In-universe I definitely like the idea that the magnetic mechanism was removed after the third time Cap threw out his shoulder by accidentally sticking his arm to Vision mid-fight. Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 10:05
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    @PaulD.Waite the ultimate loot tool though: "let's see what the bad guys got today woosh ... ah, a few coins, a knife, a ring.... woah! a tank!" Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 2:53

If you like speculation, rather than actual research:

It’s possible Cap still has the mechanism, but doesn’t always use it.

If it is just magnetic, then it would probably attract other nearby metal objects too, of which there could be many in a crowded Lagos market, or a narrow stairwell filled with Romanian police — whereas in a wintry Sokovian forest, it’s safer.

(Maybe Vision's magnetic too? 🤖)

  • See my answer the magnetic return was almost certainly removed.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 9:23
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    Nah, it's definitely still there. I can feel it. Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 9:41
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    Maybe Paul's magnetic too? 👨🏻
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 9:43
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    safer... apart from the shrapnel and mines, sure...
    – Brian D
    Commented Jun 13, 2023 at 16:32

I don't believe this was ever directly addressed in the movies, but what may have influenced the apparent removal of the electromagnets from Steve's uniform is the fact that they resulted in the removal of the straps from his shield. The shield's lack of straps was rather impractical, as it meant he had no way to carry it out of uniform, and since Steve is all about preparedness the possibility of not having the shield whenever he might need it, whether he was in uniform or not, means he most likely had Tony remove the magnets from his uniform and reattach the straps to his shield. Furthermore, the point of the electromagnets was to allow Steve to retrieve his shield much more quickly, but he could get it back to him just as quickly by his usual method of throwing it so it bounced off of things as he could by using the electromagnets, so they were ultimately removed because they weren't necessary. However, there may be another, non-story reason for their absence in CACW- someone cough Joss Whedon cough involved in the making of AoU had them added because they looked cool, and when it became apparent later on that they didn't really work story wise had them removed without ever acknowledging that they were gone.

  • Proof that the magnets are gone?
    – Arianna
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 7:21

This is purely speculation for the in-universe reason.

The Magneto Menace

Not from the Master of Magnetism himself, though. The magnetic shield gimmick is Stark Tech. There is a chance that Tony might hack the mechanism remotely and hamper Steve's ability to use it.

So why would he stop using that before the conflicts with Tony, when they were friends? Because of Ultron. Ultron was using Stark Tech as well, so it might be a matter of time before he could pull Cap's shield off of him. Even if Ultron himself didn't do it, it might be a matter of time before another creation of Tony's went crazy and did it.

Cap is not very technology savvy - I think he's just slightly better than Thor at it, and only because Cap probably knows what an email is. He prefers to do things in his own way, without technological gizmos if he can help it.

Outside-universe is pretty well covered in TheLethalCarrot's answer.

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