The magical hammer that Chris Hemsworth’s Thor wields in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has an age-old name that’s difficult for English-speaking tongues to pronounce, but Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige made sure from the beginning that Mjölnir wouldn’t be changed for the screen.
In an excerpt from the upcoming book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, via Vanity Fair, Thor writer Zack Stentz related a memorable exchange between Feige and director Kenneth Branagh during early discussions about the shape that the movie would take. “One of my most vivid memories of those notes sessions was Branagh didn’t like the name Mjölnir because it’s difficult to pronounce,” Stentz said. “He turned to all of us and asked, ‘Do we have to call the hammer ‘Mjölnir’? I see that it’s made out of some metal called ‘Uru.’ Could we call it Uru instead? Or would the fanboys string me up?'”
Stentz recalled, “[Feige] just gave his little half-smile: ‘Ken, the fanboys would string you up.’” Branagh was apparently accepting: “‘Alright. We won’t be doing that, then.'”
Mjölnir was a Thor character in its own right
A reference to the difficulty of pronouncing the name Mjölnir was kept in the film, when Darcy hears it and replies, “Meow-meow?” However, even those fans unfamiliar with Thor’s hammer before watching the movie have now become very accustomed to it. Ever since Thor was introduced to the MCU, Mjölnir has been not only his signature weapon, but a test of his “worthiness,” as it has the inherent trait of being impossible to lift by anyone unworthy.
Mjölnir was eventually destroyed by Hela in Thor: Ragnarok, leading Thor on a quest for a new weapon in Avengers: Infinity War. While his new axe Stormbreaker has earned its own place in the canon, Mjölnir’s impact can’t be understated — it even came back from the past in Avengers: Endgame, giving Steve Rogers a celebrated moment of worthiness himself.