‘Avengers: Endgame’: This ‘Character’ Shouldn’t Have Survived The Snap

It may seem funny to debate whether an inanimate object should have survived the Thanos (Josh Brolin) snap or “blip,” as Spider-Man: Far from Home called it.  And yet that’s just what’s going on with Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) ax: Stormbreaker. 

As it happens, part of that axe didn’t start out as being inanimate. The folks at Screen Rant have pointed out this plot hole. And in classic Marvel no-prize fashion, have also pointed out how it’s really not a plot hole.

Is Thor’s ax alive?

Chris Hemsworth Thor
Chris Hemsworth as Thor | Simon James/FilmMagic

Weapons are such a big deal on Asgard in particular that they get their own names. Thor’s hammer has a name, Mjolnir, so Thor’s ax does too: Stormbreaker.

One of the plot threads of Avengers: Infinity War was that Thor needed to build a weapon capable of killing Thanos. Why? He was temporarily split away from Mjolnir. 

Thor, Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel) worked together to create Stormbreaker. Besides saying “I am Groot” a lot, Groot has the ability to create wood parts separate from himself. So Groot helped create Stormbreaker by creating the wooden handle. 

There’s just one problem: Groot got snapped (or blipped) away with other Guardians of the Galaxy — and half of all other living creatures besides. So shouldn’t the handle of Stormbreaker turned to dust along with Groot?

Marvel plot holes

Plot holes like this open up in comics books so often that Marvel comes up with clever ways to address such leaps of logic. This is called the “Marvel No-Prize,” which none other than Stan Lee came up with in the 1960s, according to CBR.com.

In one comic, Sue Storm, the “Invisible Girl” of the Fantastic Four holds a stolen gem and turns invisible. A  reader quite reasonably pointed out: “When Susan Storm holds the stolen gem and becomes invisible, the gem becomes invisible too. Explain that!”

Rather than explain it himself, Lee cleverly left the answer up to the readers and offered a $5 price to whomever sent in the best explanation. The answer was that it was not Sue Storm who disappeared but one of the Skrulls impersonating her. The gem vanished because the Skrull carried it away. While Marvel did give $5 to the first person who offered that explanation, several other people did too, and Marvel couldn’t give out $5 to everybody. 

Since Marvel could not practically give out a physical prize, this “explain the plot hole” method evolved into the No-Prize. The prize was getting your explanation printed in the comics’ letters page. These became so numerous that there are whole books devoted to No-Prizes.

Why Stormbreaker’s handle didn’t disappear when Groot did

Screen Rant came up with this explanation as to why Thor wasn’t left only with a blade after the snap. 

Screen Rant says: “When Groot cut off his arm, it became like any other severed limb and ceased being a part of him. When Groot sacrificed himself to save his friends in Guardians of the Galaxy, pieces of him were left behind. They were no longer a part of Groot. The same is true with his arm, which is now just an axe handle, and thus doesn’t disappear from existence when Groot does.”

So, no, Thor’s ax is not technically alive. Groot can also use his wood-sprouting ability as a weapon, but once that wood is deployed, it’s no longer connected to him. 

If it were, it might be awfully painful for Groot once anyone he captures breaks free from it, so this explanation actually makes a lot of sense. While Marvel has quite a bit of money to throw around, we don’t expect Marvel will start giving out $5 prizes again.