Chris Peruzzi is a comic book superhero historian who is passionate about how today's comic book heroes are the new mythology for America.
Three Good Roles
Peter Dinklage is rumored to be in Avengers: Infinity War.
We just don’t know who.
He is rumored to play one of three completely different roles. The three possible roles are also completely different and, ironically, completely perfect for Mister Dinklage. The roles would be Pip the Troll, MODOK, or Uatu the Watcher. Each takes the talent and chops of a man like Dinklage for a decent performance.
Dinklage, known for his stellar work in Game of Thrones as Tyrion Lannister as well as countless other roles like Dr. Bolivar Trask from X-Men: Days of Future Past and Simon Bar Sinister from Underdog, is a perfect fit for the wisecracking, cigar-smoking, companion of Adam Warlock in the upcoming Infinity War arc.
He is also a perfect choice for the giant hovering head who leads the evil Advanced Idea Mechanics group last seen in Iron Man 3 as the group Aldrich Killian worked for. MODOK is essentially a brain with limbs. MODOK is a Marvel Universe mainstay that has been around since Captain America was defrosted back in the sixties.
Lastly, Dinklage would add an air of power and alien intelligence to Uatu the Watcher – a character sworn to watch over Earth but sworn to never interfere with their potential. The Watcher was a creation of Jack Kirby’s and ever since he warned the Fantastic Four about the coming of Galactus and the Silver Surfer, he’s been with us to tell us what could have been in the pages of What If?.
Here’s some more information about these characters.
Pip the Troll: A Classic Origin Story for a Forgotten Character
The sad thing is that so few people know or remember Pip from the comics. Pip is one of those characters that seem to litter the Marvel Universe as part of some insane archetype. Created by Jim Starlin to be a comic sidekick to the wandering protagonist in the revived Warlock series, he was like Howard the Duck, Puck, Wolverine, and every other obnoxious cigar smoking naughty little man who came from Danny Devito’s least loved roles produced in a comic book.
I remember the first I’d ever heard of him was while reading through the first edition of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Volume I – Book of the Dead and Inactive II – Marvel Boy to Zuras back in 1984. By the time I’d read about Pip, his character had been dead since Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 back in 1977.
While I could do an entire article gushing over how awesome Jim Starlin’s stories are and try to summarize his Warlock series, I’ll simply leave a link for you to discover it for yourself. Everything you need to know about the upcoming characters of the Infinity War comic book story can be found in The Essential Warlock - Vol One and The Essential Captain Marvel - Vol Two. In those, you will learn everything you need to know about Warlock, Pip, Gamora, Thanos, and Drax the Destroyer as Starlin originally wrote those stories back in the seventies.
How the Marvel Movie franchise will introduce Pip and what role he will play in the saga remains to be seen. I would lay bets that any story to materialize for Avengers: Infinity War will be a far cry from the comic book version as all buzz about the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie look to make Adam Warlock an ancillary character. People who have read the story know the main players of this were Warlock, Thanos, The Silver Surfer, Mephisto, Nebula, and Death. While the Avengers (and all surviving members of the Marvel Universe) were in the story, the chiefly served as cannon fodder while the real battle was between Warlock and Thanos.
You can trace Pip’s origin story all the way back to Celtic fairy mythology. The Celts warn that one should never eat or party with the fae – bad things happen. The consequences range from never enjoying human food again to waking up with your great grandchildren to being transformed into a fairy.
The last thing is sort of what happened to Pip.
Pip was originally Prince Gofern of the planet Laxidazia. Laxidazians are almost identical to earth humans with five fingers and toes. As a prince, he was a member of the idle rich and spent most of his time painting pictures of the night sky and doing rich people things. While visiting the planet’s countryside, he came upon a camp of trolls (who were a genetic subgroup of the Laxidazians). He was invited to drink and carouse with them and, unfortunately, drank some of their ale which proved to have mutagenic effects.
After a long night of partying, he woke up looking like one of the trolls. His feet became hoof-like, his ears grew pointed, and two of his fingers merged together. As a troll, his very nature changed, becoming more lewd and obnoxious. When he returned to his family's castle, he tried to hide his physical changes but he couldn’t hide how much of a jerk he’d become – so he was exiled.
When the Universal Church of Truth, a galaxy-wide religious cult, failed to convert Pip (trolls are naturally resistant to the conversion process), he was sentenced to death. There, he met Adam Warlock and escaped. The two became friends and shared many adventures together. Eventually, the two had vanquished the Universal Church and they parted. With that, Pip returned to his life of licentiousness.
Ultimately, after he’d gotten into too much trouble, he sought out Adam Warlock again only to find Thanos the Titan. Thanos, in keeping with his character, used a fraction of his power to lobotomize Pip, critically wounding him. Warlock found Pip’s body and used the power of his soul gem (one of the Infinity Stones that has yet to be revealed in the Marvel movies) to bring his soul into its pocket universe with the rest of the souls the stone had “acquired”.
For a long time, this had been the full history of Pip’s life. It wasn’t until years later (1991), that Pip, Warlock, and Gamora resurrected themselves from the soul gem to fight Thanos after he’d gathered all of the Infinity Stones to form the Infinity Gauntlet and rule all of reality.
Since his resurrection, Pip has worked on and off with Adam Warlock. At one point, he was given the space gem (another of the Infinity Stones – moviegoers would recognize it as being the one in the cosmic cube from the first Avengers movie). Through prolonged use and exposure to the gem, Pip gained the ability to transport himself anywhere in the universe.
During the Infinity Crusade, Pip had temporarily gained godlike power but never got a chance to use it.
He’s still around, although he isn’t seen much. While Gamora and Adam Warlock have made regular appearances in The Guardians of the Galaxy, Pip was last seen as a member of X-Factor (chiefly as their receptionist). Someone recently tried to kill him, too. A woman shot him through the head not realizing that Laxidazians’ brains are located in their chest. Pip survived the attack.
Initially, when Jim Starlin had created the character, Pip had no powers at all. He was simply a Laxidazian troll with three fingers (not including his thumb) and hoof-like feet. According to his Official Marvel Universe (Deluxe Edition) entry, he stands at four foot four inches tall.
Actually, Pip did have one power. As part of the mutagenic change that turned him into a troll, he is incredibly resistant to brainwashing. The Church of Universal Truth was bent on gathering recruits for their galaxy-wide cult. When their brainwashing techniques didn’t break Pip, they wanted him dead.
As part of a Laxidazian’s physiognomy, their brains are in their chest – which is only handy if someone is looking for a head kill shot by mistake.
When Pip left the soul gem universe, his soul possessed and transformed a dead Earth human who had been killed and burned in a car crash. Adam Warlock used his powers to shape Pip’s new body to be like his old one.
Pip was later given the space gem, formerly owned by the Elder of the Universe known as The Runner. The stone, when not used in conjunction with the power gem, let’s its bearer transport himself to anywhere he wants to go. Originally, it was implied that he kept the gem in his ass to keep people from stealing it. Typically, people who wear infinity stones keep them on their foreheads above their brow. It was later revealed that he’d kept it between his toes. Oddly enough, after Pip surrendered his space gem, he retained his transportation powers and can pop in and out of places at will.
What do you think?
M.O.D.O.K: Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing
The super scientists over at Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM), back when they did nothing but wear hooded masked yellow jumpsuits, decided the best way to be led was by creating a new leader of their group. Lyle Getz, who was in charge at the time as the “Scientist Supreme” thought it would be a great idea to take low-level employee, George Tarleton, and scientifically transform him from being a normal human being to essentially a giant head with arms and legs.
Initially, AIM, an organization that clearly loves their acronyms, wanted Tarleton to be like an organic computer. Considering that the human brain is one of the best processors on the planet and better than most computers, AIM wanted someone to do some organic computing. So the first thing they did after transforming Tarleton was give him the acronym: MODOC – Mental Organism Designed Only for Computing.
Only there was an itty bitty problem, Tarleton never wanted to be a hideous giant head in a hover chair that did nothing but think of ways to examine their new cosmic cube discovery. He was more than a little pissed. Tarleton used his vast psionic mind beam powers to kill the scientist supreme and took over AIM as their new leader. When he did, he changed his acronym from MODOC to MODOK – Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing.
MODOK has been in charge of AIM (on and off) since Tales of Suspense #93. Like most things in the Marvel Universe, he was a creation of both Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He made his first appearance fighting Captain America.
Outside of being an oversized brain that can calculate the hell out of any problem and generate lethal telekinetic force beams from his forehead, he has some limited telepathic powers. It’s nothing on a Professor Xavier level, but enough to read the state of mind of any individual.
Should this be what Peter Dinklage is signing on to do – which is logical because MODOK has typically been an archenemy of Captain America, Marvel will be doing a lot of CGI work. I think Dinklage would do this part justice as he has typically played intellectual characters like Tyrion Lannister and Doctor Bolivar Trask.
Uatu the Watcher
Let’s pretend for a moment you’re a near-omnipotent being from a race of near-omnipotent beings. Millions of years ago, your race, a bunch of big-headed smarty-pants beings, discovered immortality by learning how to change their physical form into pure energy. Since you guys are now the smartest guys in any room, you all decide it’s your sworn duty to help other races less fortunate than yourselves.
Isn’t that nice?
In one of their first times out, your race gives the secret of atomic energy to a warlike race that just isn’t ready for that kind of power. Then, faster than you can say “big red button”, that race launched nukes on a neighboring planet of superior technology that retaliated immediately by blasting them to kingdom come.
That’s what happened to the race known as the Watchers. The Watchers decided that after that incident that they couldn’t use their vast intelligence and powers to help others. Their mission is much like Star Trek’s prime directive of noninterference. They are spread throughout the universe and monitor everything in that section – including alternate realities.
We've already seen the Watchers in the MCU. Stan Lee spotters who saw Guardians of the Galaxy Volume II saw him chatting in space gear with a bunch of big bald-headed men.
Those are the Watchers.
Uatu was the Watcher assigned to watch everything happening on Earth from the “blue area” of the moon. He made his first appearance back in Fantastic Four #13 and is yet another creation of both Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. In his first appearance, he breaks his noninterference oath by warning Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four of the coming of Galactus.
For the most part, readers don’t see Uatu often. He only makes appearances when things are really, really bad. Often, it is the mere presence of Uatu near them that allows heroes to realize the gravity of their situation. While Uatu has broken his oath several times and has had to answer for these crimes in a trial of his peers, he remained at his post until the 2014 story, Original Sin.
Whether Marvel Studios will use this character remains to be seen as he’s chiefly part of the Fantastic Four universe which is owned by 20th Century Fox Studios. Uatu, while being part of the Fantastic Four universe, is not exclusive to just that title. Should he not be, then it’s fair to say that Uatu would certainly be part of an Avengers: Infinity War level event as Thanos represents a galactic level threat.
Uatu, as a character, has an emotionally distant façade. Given that he’s broken his oath multiple times, he has shown an attachment to Earth and the people he watches over. Peter Dinklage could play this character with the emotional reserve and compassion needed to understand a being that cares very much for something in almost parental concern but is sworn to let his children make their own mistakes.
Peter Dinklage is an incredibly talented actor who can play any of these characters equally well. The big question is how Marvel is going to write this movie.
The original story of the Infinity Gauntlet is about Thanos’ pursuit to please the living embodiment of Death who has manifested herself as a woman to him. She simply thinks there are too many people living in the universe and as no one in the Marvel Universe kills planets, people, and civilizations better than Thanos, she brings him back from the dead to do the job.
To accomplish this goal, Thanos created the Infinity Gauntlet made from the six infinity gems: power, mind, space, soul, time, and reality.
Ironically, Thanos, in creating the Infinity Gauntlet, has surpassed his mistress, Death, in power and is desperately trying to gain her favor again. She will not speak to him.
Meanwhile, Uatu the Watcher appeared to all of the surviving heroes of the Marvel Universe to tell them what’s up in an oath breaking act. Adam Warlock and Pip join them as their leader with his plan to defeat Thanos.
That’s what happens in the comic books. It’s not likely to happen in whatever story Avengers: Infinity War turns out to be. While Pip the Troll is a player in the comic book story, it is unlikely he’ll be part of this story without Adam Warlock. The character of MODOK is likely to be part of a Captain America storyline, however, it is unlikely that his character would be part of such a cosmic-spanning tale that will involve the Guardians of the Galaxy. If the writers use this character, it will be a minor side story to the plot.
It is highly likely that Dinklage will be playing Uatu the Watcher or Pip the Troll (for comic relief). As the Watcher, he’ll be cast to warn Earth about Thanos and the Infinity Stones. As Thanos gathers all of the stones throughout the first movie, he’ll probably be fought and overcome in the second part of the story arc. In either event, the Watcher will be there to offer either a warning or some kind of cryptic advice.
© 2017 Christopher Peruzzi