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June 15 2012

Neil DeGrasse Tyson investigates the space science of summer movies. Neil deGrasse Tyson briefly talks about the science in three movies, Prometheus, Men In Black 3 and The Avengers. It doesn't seem to be spoilery. The Avengers part starts after 3:40 if you're listening, but it's basically the same as what's in the bottom of the article.

I really enjoy Neil DeGrasse Tyson's work, and his podcast (Star Talk) is fantastic. Two previous episodes have hit upon the science of Superheroes, if you're interested. They're all on iTunes.
What on earth are they talking about? Thor's hammer made from the core of a dying star? That wasn't in the film, and I've never heard of it in the comics either. And if Mjolnir were just really really heavy, it would make no sense that Thor can lift it but Hulk can't, even though he's clearly exerting more force on the floor than does Thor. There's a place for physics, and there's a place for magic.
I was always under the impression that Thor's hammer was enchanted so he was the only one able to lift it.
CMN - Watch the Thor movie. I think that reference to the dying star origin and also why "only one who is worthy of the power of Thor" (although I'm sure I don't have the quote exactly right) can wield the hammer.
CMN and steverogers, here is the full quote. It takes place at the coronation:

Odin: Thor Odinson, my heir, my first born. So long entrusted with the mighty hammer, Mjöllnir, forged in the heart of a dying star. It's power has no equal! It's a weapon to destroy or as a tool to build. It is a fit companion for a king. I have defended Asgard, and the lives of the innocent across my realms in the time of the great beginning.
Thanks for the info! I saw Thor, but obviously had forgotten that line. A few thoughts/questions:

1) The given quote says "forged in the heart of a dying star," not made of matter obtained from a dying star. Is Tyson doing his own extrapolating, or are there other quotes backing him up?

2) Was this something the screenwriters dreamed up, or does anyone better versed than I in Marvel lore know of any prior references to this origin of Mjolnir? Obviously it's not from the Norse legends. Who exactly are we supposed to imagine setting up blacksmith shop in the heart of a dying star?

3) It would seem that the cosmic rule set determining who can yield Mjolnir has to have a bit more content than simply "one who is worthy of the power," right? I mean, Thor's great and all, but he's not on a unique plane of moral worthiness. My tentative theory is that Odin had some sort of cosmic title in Mjolnir which he transferred to Thor, giving Thor the exclusive ability to wield it--an ability that is however defeasible should Thor not be worthy. Anybody know of anything disproving this theory?
PS, somewhat tangential (and may have been brought up elsewhere on Avengers threads), but IMHO one of the greatest joys of Avengers is the way Joss obviously revels in setting up "irresistible force meets immovable object" moments that only true comics fanboys would think to do. Hulk v. Mjolnir; Mjolnir v. Cap's Shield.
CMN, I think he made a few extrapolations as Mjollnir is made of a very rare metal..however, it isn't that big of a stretch that if you are forging something in the heart of a dying star, that said material from dying star would enter the hammer.

Dr. Tyson has an anecdote he's shared often. Some years ago, he was in the theater to see Superman. That's the one where Superman flies around the Earth to reverse it. He says that his girlfriend at the time leaned over and asked "could that really happen?" And his reply to her was something along the lines of, "you're watching a guy who wears his underwear on the outside and he's flying around the planet...and that's your question?"

So let's say that a mythical god-like being could travel into the core of a dying star, forge a mystical hammer in said core of dying star...and return with it to grant its powers to another mythical god-like being. Maybe our question of "could the matter of a dying star get into Thor's hammer" is a little too far gone. :)
Big Bang Theory did a much better version of that anecdote, as I recall, with the uber-geek physicist perfectly willing to accept the premise of Superman's flight and strength, but rejecting the idea that he could catch Lois at her falling velocity without his steel arms slicing through her body. Which as any fantasy or sci-fi geek knows, is a perfectly reasonable stance to take. We are willing to suspend disbelief to accept given stated premises that make the story fun, but then whatever the rules are, we want them to play out plausibly with whatever other background rules (i.e., physics) have not been expressly abrogated. A story in which there are no consistent rules at all is no longer engaging, it's just a big deus ex machina. As I said above, I think the rules governing use of Mjolnir have to be understood as mystical, not physical, and I'm fine with that.

But obviously I didn't express myself clearly. My actual question isn't about plausibility, just about canon. I have no problem with the idea that Mjolnir COULD be made from stellar material, I was just questioning the origin of the notion that it WAS.

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