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When Did Captain America Become Worthy

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake

He was so close in “Age of Ultron” . . . then by “Endgame” it was hammer time! But when exactly did Captain America become worthy enough to wield Mjolnir? What did Steve Rogers do that allowed him to not only lift Thor’s enchanted war-hammer, but to use is in battle? Join us as we explain! Who do YOU think wielded it better, Captain America or Thor? Let us know in the comments!

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Script written by Nick Spake

When Did Captain America Become Worthy


It was one of the most triumphant moments in “Endgame,” but how exactly did Cap pull that off? Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be answering the question, “When did Captain America become ‘worthy?’” If you haven’t seen “Avengers: Endgame” yet, there’s still time to get out of here before we spoil a pivotal plot point.

When Hela destroyed Mjolnir in “Thor: Ragnarok,” we never expected the God of Thunder– or anyone else for that matter - to wield the iconic hammer ever again. Thanks to time travel, however, Thor is able to reclaim his hammer in the year 2013 and bring it back to 2023. He isn’t the only one who uses Mjolnir during the climactic showdown. When Thanos has a defenseless Thor pinned down, Mjolnir gravitates towards Steve Rogers. With his shield in pieces, Mjolnir becomes Cap’s main weapon of choice throughout the Battle of Earth.

This epic moment is reminiscent of “The Mighty Thor #390,” in which Captain America manages to summon Mjolnir in glorious battle. In the continuity of the MCU, however, this scene was first teased in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” as our heroes all try to lift Thor’s hammer. Naturally, nobody other than Thor can pick up Mjolnir. For a fleeting second, though, Rogers is able to marginally move it, much to Thor’s shock. Nevertheless, as far as the audience knows, Rogers isn’t worthy enough to raise the hammer off the table. So, what happened between “Age of Ultron” and “Endgame” that earned Cap the privilege to use Mjolnir?

Before we get into what made Captain America worthy, let’s reflect on why Thor was worthy of the hammer. After Thor disobeyed his father and broke the Asgardians’ truce with the Frost Giants, Odin took away his son’s powers and banished him to Earth. Odin also placed an enchantment on Mjolnir, allowing only a worthy soul to wield the weapon. Thor is now unable to make the hammer budge, finding himself unworthy. When Loki sends his Destroyer to Earth, though, Thor selflessly puts himself in harm’s way to protect the people he loves. Thor is thus deemed worthy of Mjolnir, which restores all of his powers in the process.

Leading up to “Age of Ultron,” Steve Rogers had already proven himself to be pure of heart and noble of mind, even before he received the Super Soldier Serum. He was ready to make the ultimate sacrifice in “The First Avenger,” defended New York against the Chitauri invasion in “The Avengers,” and took on Hydra again in “The Winter Soldier.” He even had to fight his supposedly dead best friend! What more could this guy possibly do to become worthy of Mjolnir? Vision can lift it moments after being born!

So, if taking down Hydra twice and defending the Earth from alien invaders wasn’t enough to impress the hammer, what was? The events of “Captain America: Civil War” might’ve tipped the scale in Rogers’ favor. It wasn’t necessarily Rogers’ brave actions, but rather his brave decisions in the film that proved his worth. Although standing up to an army is one thing, standing by your values is another. Even with his friends and country against him, Cap protected Bucky and refused to sign the Sokovia Accords, fighting for what he believed was right. Or, alternatively, maybe keeping the secret that Bucky killed Tony’s parents was weighing on his conscience, and the fact that Tony finally knows the truth somehow changed something within him. Neither is all that convincing when compared to his acts of selflessness and sacrifice.
Of course, there have been plenty of moments since “Civil War” that demonstrated Cap’s virtue as well. In “Avengers: Infinity War,” he not only saved Vision and Scarlet Witch when they were ambushed in Scotland but also led the charge against Thanos’ forces in the Battle of Wakanda. Even when Thanos armed himself with five of the six Infinity Stones, Cap didn’t think twice about facing the Mad Titan. Despite losing this battle, Rogers sees an opportunity to win the war in “Endgame.” Along with his fellow Avengers, Captain America puts his life on the line and risks everything to undo the snap. At the eleventh hour, Captain America finally uses Mjolnir to wipe the floor with Thanos’ face. Thor isn’t all that surprised this time around, implying that he’s known for a while that Cap had it in him.

There might not have been a definitive moment that made Captain America worthy, but everything that happened between “Civil War” and “Endgame” likely contributed. Then again, maybe Rogers could’ve lifted the hammer this whole time. Since Cap slightly moved Mjolnir in “Age of Ultron,” we’re led to believe that he was almost worthy. However, what if, upon realizing he could lift Mjolnir, Rogers chose not to?

During a panel at San Diego Comic-Con hosted by Nerd HQ in 2015, just a few months after “Age of Ultron’s” May 1st release, director Joss Whedon was asked about the moment, and his answer may be the key to understanding this whole thing: Perhaps the nervous expression on Thor’s face encouraged Rogers not to show off. Wouldn't that, in and of itself, be a moment that proves just how worthy Cap truly is? For that matter, did we ever settle on whether or not the elevator was worthy?

Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter when Captain America became worthy of Mjolnir. This was an incredibly significant moment for the character that’s only made cooler when you take the MCU’s use of foreshadowing into consideration. With great buildup and brilliant delivery, it was a scene that had everybody in the theaters around the world collectively cheering - what more can you ask for?
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