In the Age of Ultron, several Avengers try to lift Thor's hammer, but are not able to lift it. Tony Stark suggested it was imprinted with Thor's fingerprints. However, the Vision is able to lift Thor's hammer.

In an earlier Thor movie, Odin banished Thor and his hammer to Earth, and stated that anyone worthy of wielding the hammer would be able to wield it. Thor was at first not able to wield the hammer anymore, but then proved his worthiness and was again able to wield the hammer.

In the Age of Ultron, Thor went to the water of sight with Erik Selvig and was able to get deeper into his vision of the four infinity stones which had surfaced in recent years, and Thor immediately returned to Stark tower and sent lightning through his hammer into the cradle, and The Vision emerged. The Vision was then able to wield Thor's hammer.

So we assume that the imprinting is some sort of mental telepathy thing. Odin and Thor are strong enough that they are able to channel their powers through the hammer enough to enable a strong enough entity to wield it. ... But we are told elsewhere that Asgard is not magical. That it only seems like magic to us because their technology is so much more superior than ours. So what is the technology behind the ability to wield Thor's hammer?

Captain America and Tony Stark may not have the vantage point to see it in Age of Ultron, but as consumers of the MCU, are there other plot elements elsewhere in movies or comic books which explain how Odin and Thor are able to channel control of the hammer?


2 Answers 2


As with much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Asgardians, their lifestyles, their technology, and their magic remain intentionally mysterious. With that said, there is no canonical information explaining how their technology works.

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  • Since the MCU has only designated that the Asgardians are an advanced technological species, it does not specify how that technology works or why it works. They have sophisticated metallurgy, city development, food creation, interplanetary travel, via ships or instantaneous transport (Bifrost) but the underlying physics of their sciences are never explained. We don't know if its nanotechnology, though it has some semblance of that.

  • It is evidently sophisticated enough that it is voice controlled and specifically targeted so that Odin can create a tool (Mjolnir) which can be configured such that only he, Thor or someone who has a comparable level of technology or able to meet the parameters of the spell/program to be able to lift the hammer.

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  • Since their tech is advanced enough that it looks like magic, that is what most of us will see and the underlying tech is currently unknowable to us. It CAN be reverse-engineered by Humans, however, as HYDRA was able to create a variety of weapons based on their interactions with the Tesseract which was an Asgardian-compatible technology.

Comic Apocrypha

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  • Even Marvel hadn't decided the Asgardians were sophisticated aliens rather than magical beings in the canon comics until they created parallel realms and decided they COULD be aliens rather than "gods".

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  • The writers/editors waffled back and forth and even now, it is hinted there were beings more powerful than the Asgardians who fed upon their cycle of death and destruction through repeated Ragnoroks. (See: Those Who Sit Above in Shadow)
  • I'm wondering with the upcoming Dr Strange film if they are going to address this topic or brush over it to keep the momentum of the plot.
    – Monty129
    Jun 6, 2015 at 20:25
  • 1
    If I were Marvel, I would brush over it. No sense in adding complexity to an already complex issue. For all we know, Strange's magic may also be of a nature where it is so complex it is all but unknowable to most mortals. Jun 6, 2015 at 20:26

Theres a much simpler answer and that is that thor's hammer when placed on an inanimate object doesnt plummet through the building and only stop when it gets to the core of a planet right? it is able to rest on surfaces without damaging them and the vision while a nice guy is not alive in the traditional sense and is therefore able to lift the hammer. He can not throw it and have it return and he cannot summon thunder as thor does or use it to fly. Thor not being a scientist or sorcerer atributes the vision being able to lift it as him being worthy but I doubt the hammer even identifies the vision as being anything more than another table.

In the comics they're gods by and large extra dimensional beings that we perceive as being humanoid so that our brains don't explode when looking at them thats why galactus is a giant purple and blue guy with funny headgear. If you were to see him without your brain filtering it you'd die instantly. Thor in the far future is all-father and even creates a new race of humans and names One steve and the other sharon and repopulates a long dead earth with them.

  • @CodeMed Ultron never tried to lift the hammer. So, we can just speculate that he too can lift the hammer because just like vision , Ultron too is an android.
    – Khan
    Jun 8, 2015 at 12:19

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