'Avengers 4' Spoilers: Why Stormbreaker Can't Beat Thanos's Gauntlet

We finally have a clarification about how and why Thor’s mighty new axe, Stormbreaker, was able to almost take down Thanos at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, more specifically how the weapon was able to penetrate a blast from an Infinity Gauntlet powered by all six Infinity Stones. The element of surprise was everything.

Anthony and Joe Russo, directors of Infinity War and the upcoming untitled Avengers 4, participated in a special screening and Q&A for Avengers: Infinity War on Wednesday night, during which they dropped several secrets about the film’s characters. Slash Film’s Peter Sciretta reported from the event by live-tweeting the Russo’s responses during the Q&A portion.

When asked directly if Stormbreaker was more powerful than the Infinity Gauntlet, the Russos responded with the obvious: a glove capable of wiping out half the universe’s population is more powerful than Groot’s arm attached to a sharp piece of magical metal.

“Thanos didn’t know what was coming his way and if he did he would have been able to use the stones to better react to Stormbreaker,” Sciretta paraphrased.

When Thor confronts Thanos in Infinity War, the Mad Titan has just killed Vision and placed the Mind Stone into the Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos is flexing, charged up with the Stone’s energy, when a lightning bolt from Thor slams him into the ground. Thanos doesn’t know what’s going on, so he blindfires a generic blast of white energy — indicating he’s using the full rainbow of colors produced by the Stones — but it’s not enough to stop Stormbreaker from hitting him right in the chest.

If Thanos had actually been able to see that an axe was being hurled at him, he might’ve used the Reality Stone to transform it or the Space Stone to repel it in some fashion. But he was just shooting blindly. (Recall that the Mind Stone could shoot energy blasts when it was still inside the Scepter, but its true power lies in mind control.)

The raw power of the Infinity Stones is definitely greater than Stormbreaker, but they depend entirely on the focus of the wielder. There’s also the added factor that we’re talking about the Infinity Gauntlet being powered by Infinity Stones. Both Stormbreaker and the Gauntlet were created by the Dwarf king Eitri.

Thor after landing in Wakanda with Groot and Rocket.

Marvel Studios

“I imagine it has something to do with the fact that the same guy made both of them,” Christopher Markus, co-screenwriter of Infinity War, told Collider back in May when asked about the Stormbreaker vs. Infinity Gauntlet debate. “It’s dwarfen magic.” The film’s other writer, Stephen McFeely, implied in the same interview that Eitri might’ve designed some kind of flaw into the Infinity Gauntlet.

If that were true, and we learned about it in Avengers 4, then it might explain why the Gauntlet was damaged after the Snap and why Thanos’ arm was also injured in the process.

Ultimately, in a more straightforward battle to the death, Thanos with all six Infinity Stones could probably defeat Thor by utilizing the unique powers of each Stone. Even with two eyes and a badass new axe, Thor probably can’t take the Mad Titan. But because he had the element of surprise in the forests of Wakanda, Thor was almost able to kill Thanos.

If only he had aimed for the head.

Avengers: Infinity War is available now, and its direct untitled sequel is due out in theaters on May 3, 2019.

Related video: Hulk Finally Meets His Match in Thanos During ‘Avengers: Infinity War’