The rule of Thor’s mystical hammer is simple and straightforward: whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor. That’s the message emblazoned on Mjolnir, but it gets a little less clear-cut in practice; the determination of worthiness decided by an inanimate – if magical – object can be easy to shift one way or another as the plot requires.
Despite being in a world populated by powerful superheroes, not everyone has the purity of intent to wield the Norse god’s trademark weapon. Even Thor himself had to prove his worthiness to his father Odin to receive the hammer – and he’s lost it a fair few times through the years, too. Worthiness isn’t a fixed trait, but rather something that depends greatly on circumstances, which can change with time. Because of that, many characters lifted Thor’s hammer –some through loopholes, some thanks to cheating. But no matter how they did it, they all got a taste of that power for a panel or two.
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Updated on July 12th, 2022, by Shawn S. Lealos: Thor: Love & Thunder will introduce the world to a new Thunder God, as Jane Foster will finally take up Mjolnir and become the new Thor of Earth. This comes straight out of the comics and it will lead to a battle where Thor and his allies battle the God Butcher, Gor. In the MCU, fans have already seen Captain America and Vision lift Mjolnir, and while Jane is the first person to show her worthiness, there have been several in the comics. There were even two event series that hit Marvel in the last two years that saw heroes prove they could wield the magical hammer for very different reasons. Regardless of who has lifted Thor’s hammer, it often shocks the actual God of Thunder.
No one can beat Squirrel Girl. She is unbeatable, and that is actually part of her title. However, she is also someone who has proved worthy of wielding Mjolnir. This happened in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats up the Marvel Universe, which was a take on the books where someone like Deadpool or Punisher kills the Marvel Universe. It’s just nicer.
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In this series, Squirrel Girl faced a clone of herself. The clone had beaten the Avengers and Squirrel Girl showed up to fight back. She saw Mjolnir and picked it up, becoming a new Goddess of Thunder, and one of the most surprising people who has lifted Thor’s hammer.
In the recent Avengers storyline The Age of Khonshu, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes had to battle two god-like beings. One was Mephisto, a demon that was intent on taking over the world. The other was Khonshu, who had declared himself Earth’s protector and decided he should take over the world to protect it from Mephisto.
The Avengers needed to stop both, and that put them at battle with Khonshu’s avatar Moon Knight. In the battle, Thor launched Mjolnir at Moon Knight, who then stopped it in midair. He then explained that he had the power of the moon god and that Uru, the metal that created Mjolnir, was made out of moon rock – meaning he was someone else who has lifted Thor’s hammer.
Not everyone who has lifted Thor’s hammer was worthy to hold Mjolnir. A perfect example of this is Doctor Doom, one of the world’s most dangerous villains. While Doctor Doom is a master of magic and science, it was his luck in finding the hammer that allowed him to wield it.
Mjolnir fell into Hell. When it was in that realm, the mystic protections collapsed and Doctor Doom was able to pick it up and use it to escape Hell and return to Earth. Once back on Earth, he was no longer able to wield the hammer.
In the recent King in Black Venom crossover series from 2020 to 2021, Knull set his sights on destroying the entire universe. The far reaches of space saw heroes like the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Kree-Skrull Empire fighting the dark god’s forces, but when Knull finally targeted Earth, he met his match in Eddie Brock, whose symbiote, Venom, was part of a race that Knull created.
However, Eddie Brock got more help than that when the battle heated up. After almost dying, the cosmic entity, the Enigma Force, revived him and powered Eddie up. He then was able to do many amazing things, including using Silver Surfer’s board and wielding Mjolnir, using them to create a battle axe to even the odds.
Anyone familiar with the wisecracking, fourth-wall-breaking mercenary Deadpool might raise an eyebrow to hear that he once was someone who has lifted Thor’s hammer. The entire ordeal was orchestrated by Loki, Thor’s adopted brother and perennial thorn in his side, who manipulates Deadpool into stealing the hammer. Deadpool does so while Thor is on a heroic mission. Thor drops the hammer and Deadpool takes advantage of the relative chaos to locate it first.
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Deprived of the object that allows him to transform into his godlike form, Thor takes on the appearance of his human alter ego and Deadpool is suddenly sprouting a cape. However, there is a catch: Deadpool wasn’t actually in possession of the real Mjolnir. The real one was still lying where Thor had dropped it, made invisible by Loki, who also created the false one that would give Deadpool the illusion of Thor’s powers and in the process cause a lot of trouble for everyone.
Beta Ray Bill
Hailing from an alien from a race known as Korbinites, Beta Ray Bill became a partial-cyborg protector of his home planet after it was decimated by a demon from Thor’s homeworld Asgard. On a mission to find a new place to live, Bill came into contact with Thor himself. They fought and Mjolnir got away from Thor, which is when Bill discovered he was someone who has lifted Thor’s hammer. There was no trickery involved; it was purely because he was worthy and wanted to use it to protect his people.
Odin recognized this and decided the fair way to resolve this situation would be for Bill and Thor to fight it out – again. Bill won again, but that didn’t mean he got to keep the hammer; instead, Odin created a new hammer for him called Stormbreaker that Bill could wield himself.
The Marvel What If…? series explores storylines that differ slightly from the accepted canon, diverging at important moments and delving into an alternate reality. One such story takes the moment when Rogue and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants attack the Avengers. In the regular canon, Rogue’s ability to absorb the life force of others had her zapping Carol Danvers of her powers and vitality.
Instead, What If…Rogue Possessed the Power of Thor? had Rogue do the same to Thor, killing him and in the process gaining enough of his intrinsic Thor-ness to be someone who has lifted Thor’s hammer. Rather than being worthy on her own, Mjolnir seems to recognize her as Thor. The resultant surge of power kills Vision and Iron Man and also leads to the deaths of everyone in the Brotherhood. Rogue is understandably at a very low place, but a visit from Thor’s spirit convinces her to honor her new position as the Goddess of Thunder and do some good with it.
Conan the Barbarian
Another issue of What If…? brought Thor into contact with Conan the Barbarian, a sword-wielding character who existed in a time between cavemen and ancient societies. Both characters lived in similarly fantastical settings and were considered great warriors, making a run-in between the two plausible. Thanks once again to Loki’s troublemaking, Thor ended up in Conan’s land Hyboria with a bad case of amnesia.
Thor and Conan met and became friends, but Mjolnir is lost during their adventures. The hammer is found by the villain Toth-Amon, and in the fight to get it back, Thor causes them both to be struck by lightning. The villain dies, but despite being the God of Thunder, so does Thor. He leaves Mjolnir to Conan, who is able to use it to become a god.
Marvel’s Ultimate Universe is an alternate world that is known for its darker and grittier take on familiar heroes. In that world, Magneto lost his children Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch and the ensuing grief drove him to extreme actions. Magneto’s electromagnetic powers gave him the ability to manipulate all kinds of metals, and it turned out that Mjolnir was no exception to Magneto’s sphere of influence.
Magneto wasn’t someone who was actually able to lift Thor’s hammer, but he was able to manipulate the air around it to much the same effect. However, in the main Marvel universe, Magneto is unable to control Thor’s hammer at all. The hammer is forged from a particular metal not native to Earth called Uru, and because it is not native to Earth, it’s less able to be controlled by Magneto.
Eric Masterson has the makings of a very traditional heroic backstory: he was a very normal man who found himself in extraordinary circumstances and rose to the challenge. Eric was just a regular guy, a construction worker when he came into contact with the God of Thunder. He was the collateral damage in a throwdown between Thor and the villain Mongoose.
Odin recognized Eric’s intrinsic decency so he saved his life in the only way he could: Odin merged Thor and Eric into one person. For a while, Eric functioned as Thor’s identity any time Thor needed to be a civilian and this was how Eric was able to use Mjolnir. Eventually, Thor and Eric separated, with Odin forging a new weapon just for Eric: a mace called Thunderstrike.
Natasha Romanoff got her shot at Mjolnir in another What If…? issue, in which Thor is, once again, dead thanks to the catastrophic events of Ragnarok, an apocalypse based in Norse mythology that takes the lives of all the superpowered heroes. This leaves behind all the heroes without special abilities and, when it comes time to battle the Frost Giants, that’s a problem.
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Natasha is sent to retrieve the hammer. There are no tricks or loopholes involved in her being someone who has lifted Thor’s hammer, aside from the general alternate universe theme of the story; she is simply worthy of Mjolnir at that moment.
Awesome Android, also known as Awesome Andy, is a robot built by an evil inventor called the Mad Thinker. Awesome Android was created as both a servant and an underling, someone to do the Thinker’s bidding without asking any questions. However, he was also designed to be able to absorb the abilities and talents of others to become more powerful.
This made Awesome Andy sentient. Freed from the control of the Mad Thinker, he strikes out on his own. His ability to copycat any quality he came into contact with led to Awesome Andy being able to copy that specific quality that makes Thor who he is: his nobility and purity of purpose. Because of that, Andy could lift Mjolnir.
The film Avengers: Age of Ultron delivered a mini twist in the form of a newly created humanoid robot, the Vision, being someone who has lifted Thor’s hammer to hand it to him. Though it functioned as a quick gag in the movie, it also served the purpose of proving that the Vision was trustworthy when no one had any other evidence to go on.
This is unique to the Marvel Cinematic Universe; the Vision’s comic book counterpart has not been shown to lift the hammer. In the movie – as a robot – he doesn’t quite follow the same rules as his human colleagues. Although they can lift the hammer, doing so doesn’t give either android the full powers of Thor.
As a mutant with the powers of weather manipulation, X-Men member Storm has something in common with the God of Thunder right off the bat. However, her tangle with Mjolnir is once again thanks to the interference of Loki. Loki created a similar hammer called Stormcaster that he gave to Storm as part of his continued machinations for the Asgardian throne.
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It gave her powers similar to Thor’s, but Storm wasn’t interested in Loki’s games and power plays. She rejected Stormcaster, though many years later she came to hold it again. As a newly empowered Goddess of Thunder, she battled Thor, but instead of harming him, she snagged Mjolnir so that she could destroy Stormcaster once and for all. Storm is someone who has lifted Thor’s hammer twice.
DC and Marvel had been planning a big crossover for a long time before it eventually came to fruition. The deal to produce a few crossover titles started negotiations in 1979, but after a lot of push and pull, the project ended up being shelved for years. JLA/Avengers wasn’t released until 2003. Luckily it had a lot of flash and dramatics to make up for the wait.
During the comic’s run, Superman got his hands not only on Thor’s hammer but also Captain America’s shield, making for a pretty iconic cover to the fourth issue. Superman was able to use Mjolnir once to deliver an important blow to the enemy, but later in the issue when he tried to pick up the hammer to return it to Thor, he could no longer lift it. Defeating the villain was a worthy goal, so Superman was worthy then, but just handing the hammer back didn’t count.
It probably isn’t a surprise to learn that Captain America is worthy, considering his good heart and steadfast morals. Cap is all about honesty and doing what’s right, but he’s also not afraid to lead the charge into battle, making him fit the bill pretty perfectly when it comes to lifting Mjolnir, which he has done twice so far.
Both times involved the Avengers in some serious danger, facing huge threats that knocked Thor out of commission and left Cap to pick up the slack. The first time, Cap merely returned the hammer to Thor, and the second occasion involved Cap grabbing the hammer after his trademark shield had been shattered in a big brawl. The MCU also had Captain America use Mjolnir in the final battle with Thanos, proving he was worthy to lift Thor’s hammer.
Although JLA/Avengers was a big crossover that was years in the making, there was a short series in the 90s that saw characters from Marvel and DC battle each other to see who would come out on top. Wonder Woman’s opponent was X-Men’s Storm, though prior to the rumble she had a shot with Mjolnir.
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Thor lost his hammer in his own battle with DC’s Captain Marvel, which is when Wonder Woman stumbled upon it. She picked it up easily and got a serious jolt of power that definitely would have given her an edge over her opponent. However, what made Wonder Woman worthy to lift Thor’s hammer also made her too noble to fight with an obvious advantage, so she gave up the hammer in order to have a fair fight with Storm.
After multiple entries dealing with Loki royally messing things up for his brother just out of a self-serving thirst for power, it may come as a surprise to learn he once accomplished his ultimate goal: to possess the power of Thor. Having been jealous of Thor since childhood, Loki had gone through just about every scheme and trick he could to get Mjolnir, or at least get it away from Thor.
When an event called AXIS caused Loki to become the God of Heroism and Truth instead of his usual mischief and evil, he becomes a new Avenger (and an inverted Thor becomes a new villain). Loki also finally becomes worthy of Mjolnir, which he discovers when he reaches for it during a battle with the newly belligerent Thor. Loki once again became someone who has lifted Thor’s hammer when it began to grow too heavy for Thor himself.
When the Thor title featured a female iteration of the character on the cover, it grabbed a lot of media attention – especially when the creators behind it insisted the new mystery woman was Thor. She wasn’t Lady Thor, she was the real deal; even so, she wasn’t the Thor everyone had come to know, and the discovery of her true identity was a driving force in the story. It was eventually revealed the new character who has lifted Thor’s hammer was none other than Thor’s on-again/off-again love interest Jane Foster.
The new Thor took over when the original Thor was no longer worthy of Mjolnir. Jane Foster was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer at the time, and every time she turned into Thor, it eliminated all the chemotherapy drugs from her body and she began dying. Eventually, Thor retook Mjolnir, Jane recovered from cancer, and she became the new Valkyrie.
Honorable Mentions: Hulk and Red Hulk
As this list has proved, loopholes can be instrumental when it comes to lifting Thor’s hammer. Both Hulk and Red Hulk have become experts at utilizing Mjolnir without actually needing to be worthy of lifting it.
Red Hulk latched onto the moving hammer’s momentum to launch both himself and Thor into space, where the combination of his own strength and the lack of gravity allowed him to use the hammer against Thor. Hulk has pulled some similar maneuvers himself (grabbing onto the hammer while it is in motion and going along for the ride) but once during a showdown with Thanos, he was able to handle the hammer while Thor was still holding onto it. That took care of the worthiness requirement, which is what freed Hulk up to use the hammer.
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