Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What Happened To Thor's Hammer In Endgame?

It's time to talk about a scene in Avengers: Endgame that had audiences cheering (as opposed to openly weeping; there were plenty of those scenes, as well). It happened during the film's climactic final confrontation between the Avengers and Thanos, and if you haven't yet seen the film, you may want to click away now before we spoil the heck out of it for you.

First, you will recall that during his jaunt back to 2013 to recover the Aether (and get a little closure with his mother, Frigga), Thor took the opportunity to get his hands on his trusty hammer Mjolnir, which was destroyed by his sister Hela early on in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok. He took both it and his axe Stormbreaker into battle during the Avengers' last stand, and one would think that — regardless of whether he'd let himself go just a bit in the last five years — a God of Thunder with both hands full of cosmically powered weapons would have simply been too much for Thanos to handle. But one would have thought wrong, because the Mad Titan easily gained the upper hand, stripping Thor of both his weapons and proceeding to pummel him mercilessly. But just when it appeared that our favorite Asgardian was getting ready to be unceremoniously dispatched to Valhalla, the scene cut to Mjolnir being recovered by someone — and the reveal of who that someone was had moviegoers on their feet.

It was none other than Captain America, whom you may remember had been the only Avenger capable of even budging the hammer during the lively party near the opening of 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron. "I knew it!" Thor joyously proclaimed, and all of the sudden, here was Steve Rogers as Captain Thor, calling down lightning strikes and using Mjolnir in conjunction with his shield to give Thanos a serious headache. As we all know, whosoever holds Mjolnir, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor — and Rogers' ability to wield the mighty weapon at a most opportune moment raises a couple of questions.

First, however, let's get this out of the way: there is precedent for this in the comics, and lots of it. The first time Cap was seen to be worthy of Mjolnir was way back in 1988, in Thor #390. It was during Rogers' stint as "The Captain" after he had had the right to use his more famous moniker — not to mention his shield — stripped of him by the U.S. Government, with which he had come into conflict. During a visit by Thor to the Avengers' base, he's ambushed by the evil god Seth and his minions, becoming separated from his hammer — and he's shocked when "The Captain" is able to briefly wield it, smashing a few enemies before returning Mjolnir to its rightful owner. After prevailing in the fight, Thor was revealed to be totally psyched that his friend had proven himself worthy: "A sacred bond unites all those who have ever been privileged to wield Mjolnir," he tells Cap, "a bond which stretches far into infinity." 

Cap was also seen making use of the weapon on several other occasions, including a What If? alternate universe scenario involving the Age of Apocalypse storyline in 2006, and later in the Fear Itself arc (in which a splash panel featured him calling down the lightning much like he does in Endgame). Even when his body was purged of the Super Soldier Serum in the Secret Empire series, he was still able to hoist Mjolnir — suggesting that even when physically unable to throw down properly, Rogers still has a warrior's heart.

So: what does this mean for the MCU version of Cap? The moment in which he was able to lift the weapon ever-so-slightly in Age of Ultron was played purely for laughs (as evidenced by the look on Thor's face, which was not so much "I knew it!" as it was "Oh, crap"). But, think about it: no other Avenger, despite being heroes all, could make Mjolnir move even a millimeter — suggesting that it takes much more than merely being a hero in order to be deemed worthy. Also, consider that the Vision — who, despite being an android, was probably the most benevolent, pure-hearted Avenger — was shown later in Ultron to be able to pick up Mjolnir and toss it around as if it were nothing. This is the same Vision who explicitly insisted on sacrificing himself for the good of the universe during the events of Avengers: Infinity War, and his example may bring us closer to the real reason why Rogers is worthy.

Remember that way back in 2011's Thor, Odinson himself was unable to hoist Mjolnir for a goodly portion of the film, as he had become lost in his single-minded quest to become King of Asgard, resulting in Odin banishing him to Earth. It was only when Thor set aside his ego and displayed a willingness to face death for the good of others — indeed, almost perishing in order to save his friends during the Destroyer's onslaught — that he was again able to call the weapon to him.

Now, remember the incident in that same year's Captain America: The First Avenger which cemented Abraham Erskine's decision to infuse Rogers with the Super Soldier Serum. In order to prove to Tommy Lee Jones' skeptical Colonel Phillips that Rogers was the ideal subject, Erskine stood by as Phillips tossed a dummy grenade into the middle of a crowded training exercise — and watched knowingly as Rogers, the smallest and weakest of the bunch by a mile, was the only soldier not to scatter. Instead, he fell on the grenade, displaying an unhesitating willingness to give his life for his fellow soldiers before even setting foot on a battlefield.

Perhaps it's this bottomless capacity for self-sacrifice which makes one truly worthy of Mjolnir (and sure, you could make the point that Stark made the sacrifice play in delivering the nuke to the Chitauri fleet through the wormhole in The Avengers, but nobody would argue that he was too psyched about it). If that does indeed explain Cap's wielding of the weapon in Endgame, then another question is raised: why was he unable move it any more than a quarter-inch during the party in Age of Ultron?

In our minds, there's only one possible answer: sheer modesty. That's right, we're taking the position that he could have hoisted the hammer at that point if he had wanted to, but deliberately feigned a failed attempt in order to avoid making his fellow Avengers look bad. Seem far-fetched? Well, we are talking about the moral center of the entire Marvel Universe here. And before you go pegging as selfish his decision to remain behind in the past with Peggy Carter at Endgame's conclusion, allow us to pre-emptively retort that it was Peggy's broken heart, not his own, that haunted him for all of those years — and that he took the opportunity for a do-over not for himself, but to give her the life and love which fate had denied her.

And that, dear reader, is why we will always love Steve Rogers: he would never tell anyone how to be the best possible version of themselves, preferring instead to show them.