Thor, Asgard’s god of thunder, has consistently been one of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most powerful heroes since his debut in 2011’s Thor, going toe-to-toe with even the Incredible Hulk in terms of brute strength.
But when Thor embarks on his next solo adventure in Thor: Ragnarok, he’s going to lose his hair and his mighty hammer, Mjolnir. So what does that mean for the hero’s powers?
In the first Thor movie, after Thor disobeys orders from Odin and attacks the Frost Giants, Odin banishes him to Earth. Odin also casts a powerful enchantment on Mjolnir: “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” The lightning-based become attached to the hammer itself, and Thor has to spend most of the movie as a mortal. As long as he’s deemed “unworthy,” he’s rendered comparable to a human and is much more vulnerable to injury.
Of course, that all changes when he becomes worthy once again and regains his full power.
Every time Thor fights in later MCU films, notably The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, he does so almost exclusively while wielding Mjolnir.
Thor’s physiology is naturally superhuman (more on that later), but he also has thousands of years of combat experience, flinging Mjolnir around as a projectile weapon and smashing all manner of enemies with it directly. With Mjolnir, his natural strength and agility are enhanced to the extent that he’s basically invulnerable. It also allows him to control the weather and channel electric energy, which is what he did that one time to create Vision during Age of Ultron.
Pretty much every single one of Thor’s coolest moves involves using the hammer, including flying at extreme speeds and whipping it in tight circles to slow down.
Mjolnir basically makes Thor overpowered in the Marvel movies, but that’s all about to change.
Mjolnir gets destroyed
But trailers for Thor: Ragnarok have shown that Cate Blanchett’s Hela destroys Mjolnir early on in the movie, which is bad news for Thor.
What exactly does that mean for Thor and his powers? Technically, he’s still “worthy” of the powers. But if the hammer itself is destroyed, do the god of thunder powers disappear along with it?
One way or another, Thor’s effectively depowered as a result, because he’s going to wind up in chains and banished to a planet full of trash, where he’ll get enslaved as a gladiator and be forced to fight his “friend from work,” the Hulk. He’s still strong, but just how strong is that?
Sif and the Warriors Three, along with other Asgardians like Heimdall and even Odin, have consistently shown that the even lesser Asgardians have superhuman physiology. Without Mjolnir, Thor should, in theory, be extremely durable, strong, and fast. Not all of this strength is linked exclusively to Mjolnir. Thor is commonly regarded as one of the strongest Asgardians in terms of raw power.
Thor trades blows with Hulk in Ragnarok, and lives to tell the tale, so he’s clearly not as weak as he was in the first Thor movie without his hammer.
Still, with Hela having destroyed Mjolnir, Thor is rendered weak enough to be banished from Asgard and enslaved by Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster to fight as a gladiator on the planet Sakaar.
Thor is still the god of thunder
Thor’s journey in Ragnarok will see him team up with Hulk, Doctor Strange, Loki, and several other new companions. Eventually, he’ll have to make his way back to Asgard with a seemingly new powerset. When Hela proclaims herself the goddess of death, she asks Thor, “What were you the god of again?” The only response we get is a badass shot of Thor slamming down on the Bifrost Bridge while crackling with electricity.
So who is Thor without Mjolnir? Still the god of thunder, apparently. These are probably powers that Thor has to re-discover throughout the course of Thor: Ragnarok, or perhaps they’re granted to him by some Asgardian artifact or another magic-based plot device.
We’ll have to wait until the movie comes out to further understand exactly what Thor’s powers will entail, but it’s bound to be a wild ride.
Thor: Ragnarok will be released on November 3.