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Here's what I have observed about Asgardians as per Marvel Cinematic Universe, few comics and the Internet materials:

  • There is an infantry class which are great warriors and much stronger than humans, but they don't usually have superpowers. They are expendable.

  • Then, there's a God class which has superpowers. Their deaths are rare and they control the battle, even to the extent of facing entire armies alone or in small teams. e.g. Odin, Thor etc.

  • The superpowers they have are unique (unlike other races like Frost Giants). For example, Odin has a uniquely advanced magic, while Heimdall's power to see and hear everything in all 9 realms is crucial to his ability to operate the Bifrost Bridge.

How do Asgardians obtain these special superpowers? Are they wholly genetic, or can they be learned? And could an Asgardian from the lower classes be elevated by learning such a superpower? If an Asgardian with an important power (e.g. Heimdall's ability to see across all 9 realms) were to die, how easily could their function be replaced by another Asgardian?

  • There are two questions here; 1) Are the superpowers enjoyed by the asgardian royalty genetic, 2) What would happen to the bifrost if Heimdall died. – Valorum Mar 14 '15 at 12:36
  • @Richard Second one is as a child question regarding example. I want to know what happens generically to a role when a god class dies... If they produce replacement, tell me how. – Baby Yoda Mar 14 '15 at 12:40
  • I'm minded to close this as unclear. The second question would make a good question in its own right. – Valorum Mar 14 '15 at 12:41
  • @Richard I have added "For Example" in the last paragraph. The thing is: everyone knows they won't abandon Bifrost. It's understood thing. Sarcastic question. I want to know how they would create replacement. – Baby Yoda Mar 14 '15 at 12:44
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    I've tidied it a bit. I'm still of the opinion that the final paragraph would stand along but in its current format, it does function as a child question. – Valorum Mar 14 '15 at 12:55
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Is these powers wholly genetic or do they somehow learn superpowers?

They're learned. Fighting skill is honed with practice and experience in battle. 'Magic' skills are essentially the same. Loki is the proof of this. He mastered his adopted mother's illusion magic, and shows none of the 'natural' abilities of a (spoilers for Thor)

Frost Giant, specifically their capability to freeze things. He needs to carry around the Casket of Ancient Winters to accomplish that.

Admittedly, we know this isn't absolute, as no one could just learn all the magics that Odin (like Bor before him?) wields, as Odin is the power in the 9 realms.

As to your Heimdall example, it's unclear. It's possible that Heimdall is a genetic freak with excellent sight, but it's also possible that he simply studied and mastered some kind of sentry magic to enhance his natural sight. We don't know enough about him and his history in the MCU, so we don't have a clear answer there.

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    Oh sorry. My original question didn't have Loki as an example (@Richard added it). Loki isn't an Asgardian by birth, so he isn't a good example especially if I involved genetics (also, Asgardians and Frost Giants aren't related). However, you can use any other Asgardian from comics to prove your point. – Baby Yoda Mar 14 '15 at 16:59
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    @SS That's actually what makes Loki an exceedingly good choice. It means even non-Asgardians can learn their magic. – user1027 Mar 14 '15 at 17:00
  • Okay. Are all of superpowers we have seen magic? – Baby Yoda Mar 14 '15 at 17:05
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    As thor explained in the first film himself "He is from a realm where what one calls magic and science are the same" thus the "magic" could be seen as science in reality (which explains why without his armour and weapon he was almost powerless (although quite strong and durable. same for an asgard without equipment who came up during shield) – Thomas Mar 14 '15 at 18:07

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