A few years ago, a social media post sparked a huge debate between two of the biggest fan bases ever: Marvel and Star Wars.
A dad posted his son’s tough question: ”Can a lightsaber cut through Captain America’s shield?”
As hardcore fans of both universes, here’s our extensive research on the issue.
Lightsaber vs Vibranium, Adamantium
To answer the question, let’s first understand how a lightsaber actually works, as well as, what Captain America’s shield is made from.
The shield has different constructions depending on which source you choose to follow. According to the comics, it’s a Vibranium-steel alloy called Proto-Adamantium. However, in the movies, it’s completely made from Vibranium.
Let’s dive deeper into each one of these.
The lightsaber, also known as a laser sword, is a plasma blade that’s emitted from a metal hilt containing the system that turns the saber on and off. The beam consists of a 3 feet plasma contained into a cylindrical shape through the forces of an electromagnetic field.
The lightsaber is powered by a kyber crystal, a natural element that’s force-attuned and has highly concentrated energy.
In the Star Wars universe, the lightsaber is considered one of the most powerful weapons, capable of cutting through almost everything with just a handful of exceptions.
In the movies, it can be seen cutting blast doors and melting steel.
The extensive strength of the lightsaber is due to the plasma’s heat energy, which some say could reach temperatures up to 28,000° Celsius.
Vibranium is a rare metallic ore of extraterrestrial origins. On Earth, it’s mainly found in Wakanda, where the meteorite comprised of Vibranium crashed a long time ago.
It’s one of the strongest materials known across the Marvel universe.
Vibranium possesses an extraordinary ability to absorb, store, and release kinetic energy, vibrations, and sound waves. This is what makes it nearly indestructible.
It’s been used to create many powerful weapons, clothes, and structures. Most notably, it’s the main component of Captain America’s shield and the Black Panther suit.
Despite Vibranium’s immense strength, there are theories suggesting that it’s not completely indestructible.
For instance, in order to be forged into different weapons and clothes, the material must be subjected to heat and pressure enough to melt it, bend it, and shape it.
Therefore, it’s normal to assume that Vibranium has a melting point after which it’ll start deforming and melting.
There’s also the theory that despite its energy-absorbing and storing ability, it has a limited capacity of energy storage. When this limit is reached, the bonds between the molecules wouldn’t be able to absorb more energy, leading to the material’s deformation and eventually getting destroyed.
Adamantium is a man-made alloy, named after the mythical Greek metal Adamantine, that was wielded by Hercules. The almost indestructible alloy was initially developed by accident in an attempt to create the mythical metal.
Adamantium has many forms. The original one, known as Proto-Adamantium, consists of an alloy of Vibranium, steel, and an unknown third substance.
This is the one that formed Captain America’s shield and the process was never successfully duplicated again.
An alternative reproducible version called True or Primary Adamantium is the one found in Wolverine’s skeleton and claws, and Ultron’s outer shell.
It’s one of the hardest substances in the universe, capable of surviving nuclear blasts and can cut through almost any substance. It’s denser than Vibranium and has an extremely stable molecular structure.
Once the liquid Adamantium is cast and hardened into a particular form, the only ways to alter it or break it are through molecular manipulation requiring godlike forces or using Antarctic Vibranium (Anti-metal), which dissolves all metals.
Can a Lightsaber Cut Through Vibranium, Adamantium?
Now that we understand each of these weapons, let’s get back to our main question.
Fans of both universes are in constant debate over this issue, with many theories arising from such conversations. Some people try to tackle it from a deeply scientific perspective that follows the physics and chemistry laws of our real-life universe.
They try to find real materials and devices that are as closely analogs as possible to Vibranium and lightsabers to help them reach a conclusion. Kyle Hill from Nerdist’s series “Because Science” made an interesting video explaining his scientific reasoning.
On the other hand, a lot of fans like to think about it from a science-fiction perspective, taking into account only the info known about these fictional universes, which probably makes it more exciting and opens up more possibilities.
When it comes to Vibranium, let’s consider the info according to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, which states that the melting point of Vibranium is 5,475° Fahrenheit, equaling approximately 3,000° Celsius.
By considering the notion that lightsabers could reach temperatures up to 28,000° Celsius, it’s logical to assume that a lightsaber could cut through Vibranium by hitting it with enough pressure for some time.
Since Captain America’s shield from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is made completely from Vibranium, it’s safe to assume that a lightsaber would cut through the shield as well.
However, due to the energy-absorbing ability of Vibranium, the task would prove harder than expected. It should require a large number of swings and the shield would probably melt rather than break.
The comics version of the shield is a different story, as it’s made from Adamantium. It has an unknown melting point, but as we mentioned, it’s thought to be indestructible except through molecular manipulation or Antarctic Vibranium.
That’s why a lightsaber wouldn’t be able to cut through the Adamantium shield.
Nevertheless, some fans argue that the lightsaber’s temperature is higher than the Adamantium’s melting point. Thus, it can eventually melt it after numerous swings.
What Can Lightsabers Not Cut Through?
According to the Star Wars Expanded Universe, lightsaber could cut through almost anything in the universe.
The only exceptions are other lightsabers or any other kinds of weapons made from materials that conduct energy like the electrostaff and the Z6 riot control baton, in addition to some rare materials.
Such rare materials known to resist lightsabers are:
Also known as Mandalorian iron, it’s a special metal alloy found in Mandalore and used by Mandalorian warriors to craft their unique armors.
It could withstand a glancing blow, a slash or a strike from a lightsaber. Though, a direct stab could still penetrate it.
This is a rare mineral found on the planets Dinzo and Mokivj. It’s capable of resisting the lightsaber’s energy and redirecting it into itself, causing the blade to temporarily shut off.
Phrik a rare metallic compound that’s extremely light and durable. It was used to build lightsaber-resistant armors.
This is a semi-sentient reptilian species with an indestructible hide that deflects lightsaber strikes. It’s presumed to be extinct, though.
Despite the fact that both Marvel and Star Wars are owned by Disney, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see a crossover between the two universes, at least in the near future.
Even so, there are so many theories and hypotheses about lightsabers vs Captain America’s shield and if you’re a hardcore fan like us, you can always throw your hat in the ring and join the debate with your own stunning theories.