Warning: This story contains full spoilers for Avengers: Endgame!
Captain America was able to make the mighty Mjolnir budge only a bit in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but in Endgame he was able lift Thor’s hammer and use it to bring the fight and the lightning to Thanos. So what changed that let Cap finally lift the hammer?
The Rule of Mjolnir
As we saw in the first Thor movie, Odin enchanted the hammer so it may only be used by the worthy. In the comics, this rule was essentially the same, and a small selection of Marvel characters aside from Thor were able to lift it on rare occasions, including Steve Rogers, who did so twice.
Once was while Steve was operating as The Captain and he merely picked up the hammer to wallop some villains and give it back to Thor.
In Age of Ultron, there was a hint of Cap’s worthiness, but something was preventing him from fully lifting it.
Cap’s Dirty Little Secret
The going fan theory that explains all this is based on what we found out in The Winter Soldier and Civil War. In TWS, Cap learned from Zola’s Hydra slideshow presentation that Bucky was the one who killed Tony Stark’s parents. Then when this information came to light at the end of CW, Cap confessed to Tony that he knew but didn’t tell him. Keeping such toxic information a secret is what made Cap unworthy to lift the hammer in Age of Ultron, at least according to the theory. But with Cap having owned up to his mistake in CW, that restored his moral purity and made him worthy to lift Mjolnir in Endgame.
Got more questions about Endgame? We’ve got you covered:
- What’s that clanging sound at the end of Endgame?
- How exactly does all that Endgame time travel work?
- Who was that teenage boy at the end?
And be sure to watch our video explaining the big ending:
Joshua is Senior Features Editor at IGN. If Pokemon, Green Lantern, or Game of Thrones are frequently used words in your vocabulary, you’ll want to follow him on Twitter @JoshuaYehl and IGN.
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