One of the most crowd-pleasing moments in Avengers: Endgame happens in the third act when Captain America picks up Thor’s hammer and then goes ape sh*t on Thanos. The excited Thor exclaimed, “I knew it!” But this moment of pure elation has also caused massive debate amongst fans. When exactly did Captain America become worthy? Was it only at that exact moment? Or was it all the way back in Avengers: Age of Ultron when he managed to nudge the Mjolnir at the party?
During ComicBook.com‘s Quarantine Watch Party of Avengers: Endgame, writing duo Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (Captain America trilogy, Infinity War and Endgame) were asked if the always noble Captain America was able to lift the hammer back in Age of Ultron. Markus replied that at the time, Cap wasn’t truly worthy just yet.
I’d say he’s not completely worthy yet. He still has the secret of Tony’s parents’ death to resolve.
Cap only reveals that he knew his best friend, Bucky Barnes, killed Tony’s parents, in Captain America: Civil War. Hence, it would make sense for Cap to be able to nudge the hammer in Age of Ultron — because let’s face it, he’s still a gem of a guy — but not lift it all the way. However, over the years, many have argued that the magical powers of Thor’s hammer doesn’t work that way. It’s either you can lift it or you can’t. There’s no in-between.
If you buy into this theory, it would mean that Steve has always been worthy, and he only pretended to not be able to lift the hammer in Age of Ultron because he didn’t want to brag. In fact, co-director of Avengers: Endgame, Joe Russo is one of whom who champions the idea that Steve has always been worthy. He previously said:
“I think everyone who’s a Marvel fan in that moment where Cap tested the hammer, felt deep down in their heart that he was worthy and that he could potentially lift that and boy wouldn’t it be special if one day he did. And obviously if you create drama around the circumstances of him wielding the hammer and then kicking Thanos’ ass for 30 seconds after that, we felt like we could create a riseable moment for the audience.”