Avengers: Endgame director's Joe and Anthony Russo said during an interview that Captain America was always able to lift Thor's hammer.
If you haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame for yourself already, then we’re just gonna leave this hear for you:
When it comes to epic moments that have years of intense build-up to them, Marvel Studios is on top. They delivered one of the best written and executed moments in the entire Avengers especially with the climactic battle of the team against Thanos when Thor (Chris Hemsworth) was reeling against the mighty Titan himself. During that scene, when Thor is at the mercy of Thanos, the sacred Mjolnir swoons in to give the beloved blondie the edge he needed, but instead of going to Thor, it ended up in the hands of Captain America (Chris Evans). This was where the crowd reached a state of ecstasy and surrealism that they never expected.
Now as we are aware of the hammer’s story, the magic that powers it can only be wielded by the one who is ‘worthy.’ And as long as we’ve been following the movies in the last decade or so, Thor has been the only one capable of lifting the enchanted hammer. However, this wouldn’t really be the first time Captain America displayed his worth to wield Mjolnir as we did manage to see him give the whacker a slight budge in Avengers: Age of Ultron to which Thor also expressed a moment of shock himself. Apparently, this was the start of the many years of build-up, which led to the grand payoff that we witnessed in Endgame.
During an interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast with Josh Horowitz, the brother-duo directors of Joe and Anthony Russo said that this scene was inspired from the scene in Age of Ultron that we talked about earlier.
I think it goes all the way back to Ultron. I think everyone who’s a Marvel fan, at that moment where Cap tested the hammer, felt deep down in their heart that he was worthy and that he could potentially lift that, and boy wouldn’t it be special one day if he did. And obviously, if you create drama around the circumstances of him wielding the hammer, and then kicking Thanos’ ass for 30 seconds after that,we felt like we could create a risible moment for the audience.
That’s fine and all, but the thing that has been on our mind since Endgame’s conclusion was, why wasn’t Captain America able to lift Mjolnir in the previous films but had to do so in Endgame? Anthony Russo chimes in by saying that Captain America was actually always able to lift the magical hammer as seen during that brief moment in Age of Ultron, but the character stopped himself from lifting it any further out of respect for Thor:
In our heads, he was able to wield it, and he didn’t know that until that moment Ultron when he tried to pick it up. But Cap’s sense of character and his sense of humility, sort of out of deference to Thor’s ego, you know Cap at that moment realizing he can move the hammer decides not to.
If Captain America actually stopped himself from holding the hammer out of respect for Thor, then he truly is worthy!