Last year’s Thor: Ragnarok saw a dramatic change in Thor’s status quo. In one unforgettable scene, the God of Thunder’s enchanted hammer was caught by his sister, Hela. To Thor’s horror, Hela crushed Mjolnir with ease, leaving Thor weaponless.
Fortunately for the Asgardians who survived Hela’s rule, by the end of the film Thor realized that Mjolnir had only ever served to focus his power. In contrast to the comics, the MCU version of Mjolnir was not powerful in and of itself; it was merely a tool, albeit one forged in the heart of a dying star.
The first concept art for Avengers: Infinity War made fans sit up and take note, as the image shows Thor wielding another weapon. For months, fans debated just what it was, but one detail has been confirmed by recent merchandise. It seems the God of Thunder is about to wield Stormbreaker.
Stormbreaker – Thor’s New Hammer
In the comics, Stormbreaker is essentially Mjolnir’s twin. It was created for the Korbonite warrior Beta Ray Bill, one of the few beings who has proved worthy to wield Mjolnir. In Thor #338, Bill triumphed in single combat against Thor, proving that Mjolnir was his by right. Although the battle for Mjolnir was to the death, Beta Ray Bill could not allow so worthy a foe to perish.
(Beta Ray Bill hasn’t been seen in the MCU, but he was honored in Ragnarok with a place on the Grandmaster’s palace.)
Honoring Bill’s good character, Odin had the dwarves forge Stormbreaker, Mjolnir’s twin. Stormbreaker is every bit as powerful as Mjolnir; in fact, on occasion it has been imbued with even more power. For a time, both Beta Ray Bill and Mjolnir were transformed when the Silver Surfer used his Power Cosmic to save Bill’s life.
The design of the MCU version of Stormbreaker is different to anything fans have seen before, though. It seems to be a blend of three weapons associated with Thor: the cosmically-powered Stormbreaker, the Ultimate Universe version of Mjolnir, and, most visibly, another powerful weapon, Jarnbjorn. The visual similarity to Jarnbjorn is particularly intriguing; in the comics, that was a weapon forged to kill Celestials, some of the most powerful beings in the universe.
How Will Thor Acquire Stormbreaker?
After coming to terms with his inherent power in Ragnarok, we don’t know why Thor will decide he needs a new weapon. What seems certain, however, is that the God of Thunder will survive a bruising encounter with Thanos and his legions, then embark on a side-quest for Jarnbjorn. (Probably accompanied by the Guardians of the Galaxy.) The trailer teases Thor flexing his massive muscles in what may be a solar forge, suggesting he will actually play a part in the forging of Stormbreaker. A lot of fans believe Stormbreaker’s handle will be a limb donated by Groot, but that’s only a theory.
It’s possible Thor will seek out the Dwarves, the race which forged Mjolnir and, in the MCU, are rumored to have forged the Infinity Gauntlet itself. Peter Dinklage is playing an unconfirmed role in Avengers: Infinity War, and one common fan theory is that he plays Eitri, King of the Dwarves. There are other possibilities though, so it’s best to take this one with a serious pinch of salt.
Still: Thor will wield a new weapon in Avengers: Infinity War. If both the concept art and the merchandise is right, this will be the mighty Stormbreaker, and he’ll use it to return to the field of battle and take on Thanos himself.
Avengers: Infinity War opens on April 27.