Warning: Contains Spoilers
With so much going on in Avengers: Endgame, you’d be forgiven if you’re still trying to figure out what the bloody hell happened.
In fact, so much happened during the three hour time frame that multiple fan theories have emerged in the weeks since the film’s release – just so people can try and get their heads around everything.
Not least of all regarding Captain America, who did something in the third act which was confusing to say the least and had viewers scratching their heads in an attempt to figure out what it could all mean.
Just a quick note: If you haven’t seen Endgame yet, why?! No but seriously, this article is full of spoilers so if you haven’t seen it, this is your five second warning. Okay so… at the very end of the film, Captain America lifts Thor’s Mjölnir hammer and uses it to bring the fight and the lightning to Thanos (hurrah!).
One question though: how was Captain America able to lift the hammer in the first place? It’s true, we did see him slightly move the hammer in Avengers: Age of Ultron when each of the Avengers takes a turn trying. But it moves only slightly.
This time though, Cap was able to pick it up as though it were his own hammer – claiming the power of Thor for himself and using it against Thanos. Which, you know, is all well and good but it still doesn’t bring us any closer to knowing why.
As per IGN.com, the main fan theory behind this is that Cap only became worthy of lifting the hammer after he confessed to Tony Stark it was Bucky who killed his parents.
After finding out in The Winter Soldier, Captain America doesn’t tell Tony until the information comes to light at the end of Captain America: Civil War – after which he confesses to his friend that he knew but didn’t tell him.
According to this particular fan theory, Cap was unworthy to lift the hammer in Age of Ultron because of this; keeping such toxic information a secret meant he could never fully lift it.
Then, after he confessed, his moral purity was restored which made him worthy in Endgame. Or so the theory goes…
Another theory goes against this, suggesting Cap was always worthy of the hammer but just chose not to in Age of Ultron. Let me explain.
When Captain America attempts to lift Mjolnir in that scene, he sees Thor’s face change from prideful and amused when none of the Avengers are able to lift it to devastated at the thought that Cap actually might be able to.
Screen Rant reports that Cap may have chose not to pick Mjolnir up when he felt it shift in his hands in 2015. Maybe he saw the look on Thor’s face and realised his friend would be gutted if a mortal could lift his hammer.
This would certainly match Captain America’s personality; his entire life he’s sacrificed his life for the sake of others and is certainly less prideful than the other Avengers as he doesn’t feel the need to prove himself to others.
So when Cap picks up the hammer in Endgame, it’s because he knows he has no other choice and needs to claim the power of Thor for himself in order to defeat Thanos.
At this point, Thor has lost a lot of his pride and is happy to see that his friend is worthy of holding Mjolnir – so it’s probably for the best it happened here instead of in Age of Ultron.
Well, there you have it. Which theory do you think is most likely?
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).