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Hilarious fan theory explains why Captain America couldn't lift Thor's hammer

He may be the first Avenger, but he isn't the chosen one. 

Thanks to a hilarious new fan theory, we may know why Captain America (Chris Evans) wasn't able to pick up Thor's (Chris Hemsworth) mythical hammer Mjolnir.

In 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, Earth's Mightiest Heroes all tried their hand at lifting Mjolnir. Their efforts wound up almost entirely hollow — not even the Hulk's (Mark Ruffalo) bugling muscles and pure brute strength had an effect on shifting the weapon one way or another –  as only those deemed worthy enough to wield the enchanted hammer can pick it up and start swinging. Thus far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the God of Thunder and the vibranium-bodied android hero Vision (Paul Bettany) are the only two people who can effortlessly carry Mjolnir. 

Captain America almost made it on that list in Age of Ultron

When he went to lift Mjolnir in the film, after Thor smiled smugly as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), War Machine (Don Cheadle), and the Hulk all failed to haul up the hammer, the star-spangled superhero managed to displace it ever-so slightly. Thor's smirk quickly slipped into a look of concern as he silently panicked at the thought of another person being able to brandish his weapon. But when Cap couldn't hoist Mjolnir from its stand, Thor burst into satisfied laughter. 

Many have since assumed that Captain America was only partially worthy of lifting the powerful hammer. Now, a few Marvel fans in particular have offered up a hysterical theory as to why that could be true. 

Reddit user ParameciaAntic shared a light-hearted post on the site's Marvel Studios forum, posting a snap of Steve Rogers in civilian clothing, cruising around the streets of New York on a motorcycle and ignoring road safety laws that require motorcycle riders to wear helmets and face shields. 

"With such a disregard for authority, is it any wonder he didn't sign the Sokovia Accords?" ParameciaAntic joked in the caption above the photo, referencing the documents that necessitate those with superpowers to disclose their identities so that agencies like S.H.I.E.L.D. can keep an eye on them. 

Down in the post's replies, user abscl_santiago suggested that Cap's history of blatantly breaking the law is why Mjolnir didn't find him fully worthy. 

"This is why he couldn't lift Mjolnir," their comment reads. 

Another piggybacked on the theory, writing, "Mjolnir's like 'Great track record dude! Heart of gol- YOU DIDN'T WEAR YOUR HELMET NO CAN DO MR AMERICA.'"

From there, fans steered the conversation into more serious territory, discussing whether Mjonlir judged Captain America as unworthy because he wouldn't make a good king since he "sucks at putting the lives of the many before the lives of the few" and whether he might have been able to lift the hammer if he was in an emergency situation

Outside of the film series, Captain America has actually been able to lift Mjolnir, once sending the hammer flying back to Thor in the 1988 comic The Mighty Thor Vol. 1 #390. He was also successful in hoisting up the weapon in Rick Remender and Dave Wilkins' What If? X-Men: Age of Apocalypse, in Marvel's Secret Empire comic event, and in Marvel's Fear Itself run

On paper, Captain America appears 100-percent worthy — even when he's an evil Hydra Sleeper Agent and fascist autocrat like in Secret Empire — but in the MCU, he isn't. Could that change in the future? With the franchise fading out of Phase Three, which will conclude with Captain Marvel and Avengers 4, and looking toward Phase Four that will begin with Spider-Man: Far From Home, could Captain America prove himself worthy before his time at the center of the Avengers potentially comes to an end?

Well, he just might. 

Back in 2015 during San Diego Comic-Con, a fan asked Age of Ultron writer-director Joss Whedon why Steve Rogers isn't considered worthy and why he couldn't properly lift Mjonlir. According to ComicBook.com, Whedon gave a response that leaves Cap's worthiness up for discussion: "Is he not? Are we sure? Did he fail? Or did he stop?" 

In 2016, sibling filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo mentioned to Huffington Post that Captain America wielding Mjolnir "might be a question for future storytellers" since it "might be a little too specific for us to answer." Back then, the Russos were chatting about their film Captain America: Civil War, but in the years since, they pair went on to direct Avengers: Infinity War. They're also behind the helm for Avengers 4. Those "future storytellers" they referenced back then? It sounds like they're the Russo Brothers themselves. Seriously, who would know more about Captain America's ability to carry Mjolnir in the MCU than those two?

Since Mjolnir didn't appear in Infinity War, there's been a lot of talk about Captain America potentially lifting the hammer in Avengers 4 — despite the fact that Hela (Cate Blanchett) destroyed the weapon in Thor: Ragnarok

As Inverse details, a since-deleted Reddit-originated post claimed that Avengers 4 will center around the heroes who survived Thanos' (Josh Brolin) snap traveling back in time to collect the Infinity Stones to power an Infinity Gauntlet Tony Stark creates. (This hypothesis came about after photos showing Evans wearing Captain America's Battle of New York costume on the Avengers 4 set surfaced online.)

Jumping into the past would allow Thor to wield Mjolnir once again while he fights Thanos directly, which the rumor-poster speculated will happen. According to the hearsay, Thor will get blown away in battle, and Captain America will be deemed worthy of wielding Mjolnir in Thor's place. 

No one can say for certain whether that will definitely happen, but we wouldn't be surprised if Avengers 4 really will include some element of time travel, bring Mjolnir back into Thor's life, and give Captain America a shiny hammer to go with his signature shield. After that jaw-dropping twist at the end of Infinity War, we're expecting the unexpected when it comes to the next Avengers movie.