Warning! Spoilers ahead for Marvel’s What If…? episode 7, “What If…Thor Were An Only Child?”
Despite her great strength and heroism, Captain Marvel isn’t worthy enough to lift Thor’s hammer in Marvel’s What If…?. Having been called to deal with the rambunctious God of Thunder in this alternate timeline, Carol Danvers acted as Earth’s cosmic bouncer, attempting to shut down the Party Prince before the chaos became too great. However, this led to a brawl between Party Thor and Captain Marvel, and Carol found herself struggling to lift Mjolnir, potentially indicating that she’s unworthy.
Despite What If…?‘s nature as an animated series showcasing alternate realities and timelines beyond the primary MCU, the rules of certain powers, characters, and items introduced should remain the same, such as Thor’s hammer Mjolnir and its rules about its wielders needing to be worthy. In the primary MCU, the only wielders of the hammer beyond Thor himself are Captain America and Vision, as seen in Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Age of Ultron respectively. That being said, this timeline features a Thor who never had a brother to challenge him, nor does it seem as though he was banished to Earth by his father Odin. As a result, this does create some confusion as to whether or not an enchantment of worthiness was placed on the hammer in this timeline.
Either way, it doesn’t seem as though Captain Marvel is able to lift Thor’s hammer, especially when he uses Mjolnir to pin her to the ground (a callback to the same move he used against Loki in the first Thor film). However, it’s doubtful that she’s simply not strong enough. Captain Marvel certainly proves she’s stronger than Mjolnir as she fights Thor thanks to her powers, implying that it’s because she’s unworthy while seemingly disproving actress Brie Larson’s claims that Carol could lift the hammer. While this would indicate that Odin did indeed place an enchantment on his son’s weapon, why would he do so if Thor was never banished in this timeline? Furthermore, what is his definition for being worthy if Party Thor can lift the hammer just fine while Carol Danvers can’t?
Clearly, it seems as though there are some discrepancies with this particular episode of Marvel’s What If…?, and it appears as though the rules of Thor’s hammer in the MCU here are largely broken and ignored. Perhaps Thor’s hammer can’t be lifted by anyone but the God of Thunder himself this timeline regardless of his own worthiness or anyone else’s? That seems to be the best explanation all things considered. Furthermore, it would also mean that Carol being worthy or unworthy to wield the hammer would remain inconclusive for the time being.
While it would have been nice to get a definitive answer as to whether or not Captain Marvel could lift Thor’s hammer, it doesn’t seem as though this episode is the one to provide the evidence one way or the other. That being said, it does potentially lend itself more to the idea that Carol Danvers is unworthy in the primary MCU timeline. If Marvel Studios were smart, they should keep the wielders of Thor’s hammer to those who have already done so and those who will become Thor such as Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder. To make other heroes such as Captain Marvel worthy enough to wield the hammer as well could risk cheapening what makes it so special in the first place, and there are other ways beyond Mjolnir for MCU characters to prove their heroism besides.
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Marvel’s What If…? releases new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.