Having already lost his father, hammer and home world during Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War didn't give Thor that long to catch his breath, as the movie opened with Thanos and his forces slaughtering half of the survivors from Asgard, including Loki and Heimdall. These events set Thor on the path to seek vengeance against the Mad Titan, which resulted in him gaining Stormbreaker, a more powerful weapon to replace Mjolnir. However, originally Infinity War had Thor finding Stormbreaker rather than building it.
It's been nearly seven full months since Avengers: Infinity War was released, and the new book, Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War - The Art of the Movie, is packed with concept art showing what could have been. For instance, as noted by Senior Visual Development Artist Rodney Fuentebella in the book (via Screen Rant), Thor, Rocket Raccoon and Groot originally set out to find Stormbreaker in what looks like the corpse of a giant creature underground.
Other images show the trio landing on a barren planet that doesn't look anything like Nidavellir, as well Thor, wielding Stormbreaker, and Rocket Raccoon battling a giant monster. While these sequences of events surely would have been exciting in their own way, Avengers: Infinity War ultimately decided to go in a different direction by having Stormbreaker be constructed rather than a prize to be found.
While Thor: Ragnarok showed Thor gaining full control over his lightning abilities, he still needed a little extra power if he was going to clash with Thanos a second time. After meeting the Guardians of the Galaxy, the God of Thunder set out with Rocket Raccoon and Groot to Nidavellir, home of the weapon-constructing dwarves. Unfortunately, all but the Dwarf King Eitri had been killed by Thanos after they forged the Mad Titan his Infinity Gauntlet. Adding insult to injury, Thanos also fused off Eitri's hands.
Despite Eitri's initial hesitance, Thor convinced the dwarf to help him build a new weapon, which required re-igniting the true Nidavellir, a dying neutron star, so that the forge could be powered. Thor nearly died making this happen, but thanks to Groot using his own arm as an improvised handle, Stormbreaker was created. The axe revived Thor, and thanks to its ability to channel dimensional energy to create a Bifrost bridge, Thor, Rocket Raccoon and Groot were able to travel to Earth instantly and help turn the tide in the Battle of Wakanda.
Sadly, while Stormbreaker was indeed powerful enough to hurt Thanos, Thor made the mistake of hitting the Mad Titan in the chest rather than decapitating him. Thanos snapped his fingers, and with the power of the six Infinity Stones, he wiped out half of all life in the universe. Thor was part of the lucky half that survived, meaning he could still conceivably kill Thanos if the right opportunity presents itself. Whether or not that will happen in Avengers 4 remains to be seen.
Avengers 4 opens in theaters on May 3, 2019, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more news on that front. If you're curious about what else the MCU has coming up, look through our handy guide.