When it comes to Peter Dinklage’s potential Marvel Studios role, there is one character in particular that seems so obviously a perfect choice that it’s difficult to imagine him playing anyone else. But, even though they’ve rolled with talking raccoons and red-faced synthezoids played by British character actors, are movie audiences really ready to meet a foul-tempered troll called Pip?
It’s not just Dinklage’s physical stature that makes Pip an obvious role he could play, should his Avengers: Infinity War deal be completed. There’s the fact that Dinklage would be ideal to play the hard-drinking, womanizing and yet somewhat charming character, whose role in comic book storylines is as much to puncture the pretentiousness of whatever existential adventure is unfolding around him as anything else. Traditionally the comic relief in whatever story he appears in, there’s also a rarely-seen depth to the character — usually demonstrated via concern for his friends, who end up in more obviously heroic danger — that, if handled correctly, could provide Dinklage with some weight to accompany the wisecracks.
(For those thinking to themselves, “That sounds like a less hairy, more human, Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy — well, that’s not an unfair comparison, really.)
More to the point, Pip the Troll’s comic book mythology is inherently tied to that of the Avengers: Infinity War villain, Thanos. Both characters are creations of Jim Starlin — Thanos debuted in 1973’s Iron Man No. 55, with Pip following two years later in the pages of Strange Tales No. 179 — and both are part of Starlin’s larger, seemingly endless, mythology surrounding the character Adam Warlock.
As such, Pip is a regular thorn in Thanos’ side in his comic book appearances. Beyond Starlin’s first Warlock run — which ended, notably, in a team-up between the Avengers and Spider-Man in 1977’s Marvel Two-in-One Annual No. 2 (Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is expected to show up in Avengers: Infinity War) — the two also shared the page in Starlin’s fan-favorite trilogy Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War and Infinity Crusade, which are presumed to provide the inspiration for the 2018 Marvel movie named after the middle comic book chapter.
The missing piece in the puzzle, in terms of whether or not Dinklage is intended to play Pip or not, is the absence of Adam Warlock in any news surrounding the Avengers: Infinity War movie. Pip is, for want of a better way to put it, merely a sidekick for the more heroic Adam Warlock in the comic books, with the latter character positioned firmly as the strongest defense against the threat of Thanos. Yet, to date, he’s been missing from the movie — an intentional omission, or something to be revealed at a later date?
Stranger still, while Warlock — who was originally called “Him” when he first appeared in Fantastic Four No. 67 in 1967 — is AWOL in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his female counterpart will make her big-screen debut in this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; Ayesha, that movie’s villain (played by Elizabeth Debicki), was once known as “Her,” and was created explicitly as a female clone of Adam Warlock back in 1977’s The Incredible Hulk Annual No. 6.
Is the groundwork being laid for a new cosmic hero to show up and save the day in Avengers: Infinity War? It all depends on whether or not Ayesha’s origins are part of her Guardians storyline — and whether Peter Dinklage is really going to turn into everyone’s favorite troll come 2018.