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Endgame: Thor Got His Soul World Moment (Without Needing To Die)

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Thor (Chris Hemsworth) got his Soul World moment even though he didn't wield the power of the Infinity Stones in Avengers: Endgame. Arguably one of the few heroes who would've been able to snap without getting killed, the God of Thunder didn't even get the chance to do so because of his mental condition at the time. Nevertheless, he was still able to get the experience one gets after using the Infinity Gems all at once in the orange-tinged dimension.

Avengers: Infinity War first introduced the idea of the Soul World when Thanos (Josh Brolin) was transported to the mystical realm immediately after he snapped and wiped out half of life in the universe. There, he met a young Gamora (Ariana Greenblatt) who asked what it took for him to accomplish his life-long goal. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo attempted to replicate the moment in Endgame with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) where he was supposed to meet his older daughter Morgan (Katherine Langford) following his sacrificial play that claimed his life. The idea was to draw a comparison between Iron Man and the Mad Titan, but the filmmakers decided to scrap the former's version after it didn't resonate with viewers during test screenings.

While Thanos and Tony's Soul World moments both occurred by conventional rules, Thor didn't actually need to snap with the Gauntlet on to have his own Soul World experience. He actually got to have his during Endgame's time heist when he returned to Asgard. As he continued to struggle with his depression following his catastrophic failure to stop Thanos in Infinity War, he returned to the events of 2013's Thor: The Dark World just before his mother, Frigga (Rene Russo) was killed and their reunion took the place of a Soul World revelation.

While the orange-tinged world is generally assumed to be the MCU's Soul World due to its similarities to the comic book version of the dimension, it's not exactly the case. The dimension does not have an official name, with the filmmakers simply referring to it as "the waystation" while working on Infinity War. Regardless of what its real name is, its function is clear based on how it was utilized in both Infinity War and Endgame — it's a space where people reunite with those they're closest to who, in turn, help them reflect on their life's defining moments. Given how little is known about the Soul World, it's uncertain how things really work in the strange dimension. However, it appears as if someone can only access it after using all six Infinity Stones at once regardless of whether they die or not in the process.

When Thor heads back to Asgard, he treats the momentary lapse in judgment that resulted in the decimation of the universe as the defining point of his life. His meeting with his mother parallels what happens for Thanos and Iron Man in the Soul World, where they play over their decisions to use the Infinity Stones and measure the cost. After Frigga revealed she knows he's from the future, Thor opened up to his mother about his regrets about not going for Thanos' head and fundamentally his concerns over being worthy. For her part, Frigga didn't sugar coat things for him, instead, she acknowledged that he was indeed a failure for letting Thanos' snap happen. However, she also reminded Thor that it's all part of life, and committing mistakes is normal. "The measure of a person, a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are," she said.

His conversation with Frigga not only helped Thor gain some self-confidence, further boosted by learning that he's still worthy of the Mjölnir, it also effectively set the course of his future in the MCU. Instead of taking his place as the King of Asgard, the God of Thunder realized at the end of Avengers: Endgame that at his core, he's an adventurer more than a ruler. So he decided to relinquish the royal duties to Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) who had already been doing a great job in rebuild the new Asgard on Earth in his absence.

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