Thor said that the reason the Guardians couldn’t use Stormbreaker, was that they were not gods like him:

QUILL: Wait, what kind of weapon are we talking about here?

THOR: The Thanos killing kind.

QUILL: Don't you think that we should all have a weapon like that?

THOR: No. You simply lack the strength to wield them. Your bodies will crumble as your minds collapse into the madness.

If that's true, how did Captain America hold it?

  • Holding it isn't using it. – Valorum Sep 4 '19 at 22:30
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    Still implied by Thor. – Samalot Sep 4 '19 at 22:31
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    @Samalot - Does it not count because you've said it doesn't count, or does it not count for another, more tangible, reason? – Valorum Sep 5 '19 at 6:10
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    @Valorum Groot doesn't hold Stormbreaker. He completes Stormbreaker. – Paul D. Waite Sep 5 '19 at 14:35
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    @Samalot I urge you to consider accepting the other answer, as the one you accepted is not only less detailed but also the majority of it is flat-out wrong. – TylerH Sep 6 '19 at 13:30

By the time Cap holds Stormbreaker, he's proven himself worthy of Mjolnir, and therefore possesses THE POWER OF THOR.

We see him calling down lightning like Thor does. It seems that he can also wield Stormbreaker like Thor.

We never see anyone else wield Stormbreaker (aside from, briefly, Thanos, who's established to be really quite powerful). Judging by Eitri's rather panicked questions about the whereabouts of the handle, and the fact that Thor doesn't begin to revive until the entire axe is on the floor, Groot is apparently completing the assembly of the weapon, rather than wielding the finished article.

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    That might have played some part in it but I think it's clear that the premise of the question is wrong. Thor was never being truthful about the Guardians not being able to wield Stormbreaker. – TheLethalCarrot Sep 5 '19 at 9:01
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    @TheLethalCarrot: I don’t think that’s clear at all. We don’t see anyone wield Stormbreaker other than Thor and Cap. Groot doesn’t wield it, he finishes making it. – Paul D. Waite Sep 5 '19 at 9:49
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    Groot aside, as I say in my answer the context where Thor states this is during his posturing match with Quill so it's most likely he doesn't mean it and is just trying to one up him. Also Thor doesn't even know what weapon Eitri would make for him at the point he says it so he can't really say it with confidence what would happen. – TheLethalCarrot Sep 5 '19 at 9:52
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    @TheLethalCarrot: I don't think that's particularly conclusive either. Thor knows the kinds of weapons Eitri makes (the Thanos-killing kind), and he probably knows he's going to get the most powerful one he can. As the Infinity Stones themselves have shown, objects with MOAR POWERS are more likely to rapidly reduce mortal beings to their constituent bits. In context, he doesn't sound like he's just making stuff up. – Paul D. Waite Sep 5 '19 at 10:42
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Null Sep 6 '19 at 15:50

Thor states that the Guardians wouldn’t be able to wield Stormbreaker before he even knows what weapon Eitri is going to make him. He doesn’t actually know what the weapon is so we can assume he didn’t know if they could wield it or not.

Rocket: This is plan? We're gonna hit him with a brick?

Eitri: It's a mold. A king's weapon. Meant to be the greatest in Asgard. In theory, it could even summon the Bifrost.

Thor: Did it have a name?

Eitri: Stormbreaker.

Avengers: Infinity War

You also then need to take into account the context in which the statement is said. Peter and Thor are having a posturing match and he is replying to Peter to diminish him. It’s not necessarily true but just to elevate himself above Peter.

Thor: No. You simply lack the strength to wield them. Your bodies will crumble as your minds collapse into madness.

Avengers: Infinity War

And of course Groot creates the handle for Stormbreaker and finishes it off so we know before Cap holds it that what Thor says isn’t true.

Groot creates Stormbreaker

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    Thor's original weapon, the hammer Mjölnir, was enchanted so that only those the weapon deemed "worthy" could wield it, however Stormbreaker had no similar enchantment so in theory anyone strong enough could wield it. – user22478 Sep 5 '19 at 3:31
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    Thor is also a little bit of a joker at this point and has half-descended into madness himself. – Möoz Sep 5 '19 at 21:42
  • Stormbreaker doesn't revive Thor until it has its handle. As such, might it be incomplete until then, and thus not have its powers, therefore making the axe-head safe to lift and hold? – Paul D. Waite Sep 6 '19 at 14:05
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    @PaulD.Waite Right but Groot is still holding it whilst it has it's handle until he chops his arm off. He does seem to be in pain but that's more to do with the heat of the metal than anything else. Either way I don't think that point matters too much as Thor was never being truthful anyway. – TheLethalCarrot Sep 6 '19 at 14:08

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