While Peter Dinklage appeared in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, he didn’t actually get the chance to play an Avenger; instead he played Eitri, the maker of Thor’s hammers Mjolnir and Stormbreaker. But now he’s getting the chance to play a different kind of Avenger: a Toxic Avenger. No, by “toxic,” we’re not talking about him making inappropriate comments on set. He’s starring as the lead in the reboot of the classic 1984 superhero splatter film The Toxic Avenger. News broke earlier this week that the movie will carry with it an R rating for “strong violence and gore, language throughout, sexual references and brief graphic nudity.”
To anyone familiar with The Toxic Avenger franchise, that may not seem very surprising. The original 1984 film and all of its theatrical follow-ups were rated R, but The Hollywood Reporter says that originally the plan was to bring the hero back in a much more family friendly way. Back in 2010 producers said their new version of the film would be a “PG-13 action comedy.” Thankfully, clearer heads prevailed and the film Peter Dinklage will star in will be closer to the spirit of the original.
According to the reboot’s official description, Peter Dinklage will play Winston, a janitor at the Garb-X health club who is diagnosed with a terminal illness. When his greedy boss refuses to pay for the treatment Winston needs to survive, Dinklage’s character attempts to rob Garb-X to get back at them, but winds up falling into a vat of toxic waste in the process. That waste transforms him into the titular Avenger, though not the kind from Marvel.
The Toxic Avenger is written and directed by Macon Blair while the co-directors of the 1984 original — Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz — are on board as producers. Peter Dinklage is joined by a wonderful cast that includes Kevin Bacon (Footloose), Julia Davis (Love Actually), Taylour Paige (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Jacob Tremblay (Room), and Elijah Wood who Blair previously collaborated with on his feature directorial debut; 2017’s I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore.
If the upcoming Peter Dinklage movie had taken a more PG-13 route, it actually wouldn’t be the first time the Toxic Avenger franchise took a stab at less adult-oriented fare. In 1991 the syndicated animated series Toxic Crusaders launched with a cartoon version of Toxie leading a group of equally strange superheroes who combat pollution. Perhaps the fact that Toxic Crusaders only lasted one season is part of why the planned “PG-13 action comedy” route never took hold.
An official release date for The Toxic Avenger has yet to be announced, but in the meantime it looks likely Peter Dinklage will once again be co-starring with the Marvel kind of Avenger. There’s been no official confirmation that Dinklage will reprise the role of Eitri in July’s Thor: Love and Thunder, but the Game of Thrones star all but confirmed it in a February interview. Asked about his future with Marvel, Dinklage responded, “Umm, well there’s another Thor movie there, isn’t there, that’s coming out? That Taika’s directed? What – I didn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything. What? What?”