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Could Thanos Have Lifted Thor's Hammer?

Avengers: Endgame raised a lot of interesting questions about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Has Steve Rogers always been Peggy Carter's husband? What happened to the people who were snapped away while flying? Could Thanos have lifted Thor's hammer? That last one is especially tantalizing, considering how formidable the Mad Titan was even without the added benefit of Mjolnir. So, would Thanos have been able to heft Thor's hammer if he tried, or would he have embarrassed himself?

Mjolnir is no ordinary hammer. It's crafted from a nigh-unbreakable alien metal called Urdu, and is inscribed with a magical declaration that states, "Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor." Because of that inscription, hardly anyone in the MCU has ever been able to pick up the hammer before. Hulk, a.k.a. the strongest Avenger, was unable to pick it up with all his might in The Avengers. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, pretty much every Avenger took a crack at picking it up, but only Captain America was able to make it shift ever so slightly. Who then, besides Thor, has been able to lift Mjolnir in the MCU?

Thor's father Odin, who gifted Thor the hammer in the first place, has naturally shown the ability to wield it. So has Odin's first-born child and Thor's sister, Hela. Hela was the original owner of the hammer prior to her exile, and she had it before Odin imbued it with the Thor-specific enchantment. However, she showed that she still had the ability to wield it even after the inscription was added, catching it in Thor: Ragnarok and easily using her power to shatter it. We'd say that makes her worthy. 

Two Avengers have also been deemed worthy by the hammer: the android Vision was able to easily pick it up in Avengers: Age of Ultron shortly after his creation, proving himself to Thor and the other Avengers in the process. And Captain America, after only budging it in his first attempt years earlier, proved his worth and wielded it with authority during the battle against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame.

In the comics, far more characters have had the privilege of carrying Mjolnir. Cap has done so on more than one occasion, as has Odin. Both Hulk and Loki have managed to lift it once. Jane Foster, who is set to become Mighty Thor in the upcoming film Thor: Love and Thunder, has already had a years-long stint as the Thunder God in the comics, during which she was able to use the hammer. Various X-Men, including both Professor X and Magneto, have lifted Mjolnir in the comics, and even DC Comics heroes Superman and Wonder Woman have done so in crossover stories. 

But perhaps the most memorable user of Mjolnir from the comics is the alien Beta Ray Bill. He was the first character other than Thor (and outside Marvel's Norse pantheon) to wield the hammer in the comics, doing so after defeating Thor in battle following a misunderstanding. Thor soon got his hammer back, but Beta Ray Bill was deemed so worthy by Odin that the All-Father crafted him his own mystical hammer called Stormbreaker — a name that should sound familiar to fans of the MCU.

In the MCU, Stormbreaker is the ax that Thor acquires in Avengers: Infinity War with the express intent of using it to kill Thanos. He nearly succeeds toward the end of the film, burying the weapon in Thanos' chest just prior to the Mad Titan's snap. And while Stormbreaker is shown to be at least equal to Mjolnir in power, it lacks the original hammer's magical inscription. As a result, any old Joe Schmo is able to pick up and use Stormbreaker. And Thanos does just that in Endgame, catching the weapon in midair and then pressing it into Thor's chest just as Thor did to him in Infinity War. But just because Thanos was able to wield Stormbreaker doesn't automatically mean he can lift Mjolnir. 

Mjolnir's definition of worthiness is notoriously loosely defined, but it's generally accepted that it requires more than pure strength. After all, the Hulk is one of the strongest characters in the MCU, and he can't lift it. Instead, it's believed the hammer's worthiness has more to do with someone's intentions. That explains why the ever-selfless and heroic Cap, as well as the logical and well-meaning Vision, were both able to lift the hammer. Hela, of course, has poor intentions, but she's also an Asgardian who was the original owner of the hammer. Therefore, it's possible she was grandfathered into being able to use it. Thanos, while extremely powerful, is a bad guy. He may think his actions of wiping out half the universe are justified, but we're betting the hammer would see right through his faulty logic. He's also never even wielded Mjolnir in the comics, which really works against him here considering that loads of other characters have.

However, Thanos does have one trick up his sleeve that other characters don't, and that's the Infinity Gauntlet. With the power of the Infinity Stones at his disposal, Thanos can do practically anything. He can reverse time via the Time Stone, travel vast distances with the Space Stone, and change reality itself with the Reality Stone. With the gauntlet, it stands to reason that Thanos could simply alter reality to allow himself to pick up Mjolnir if he felt like it, inscriptions be damned. But then again, with a weapon as powerful as the Infinity Gauntlet already in his possession, why on Earth would Thanos want some goofily-named hammer?