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Who is The Toxic Avenger? The weirdest superhero you’ve never heard of

If you were caught off-guard by the first look images from the new remake movie, you're not alone. Here's The Toxic Avenger's strange superhero explained.

Peter Dinklage as Winston Gooze and Elijah Wood as Fritz in The Toxic Avenger

Who is The Toxic Avenger? No, we’re not talking about which one of Marvel’s spandex-wearing heroes has the most red flags — we’re talking about a character who goes through a life-altering ordeal in director Macon Blair’s intriguing superhero flick.

2023’s The Toxic Avenger, a reimagining of the 1984 cult classic of the same name, is one of the year’s most exciting new movies. With images of Elijah Wood’s villain, Fritz, making the rounds (with lots of comparisons to one of the best DC villains, Penguin), we almost forgot to talk about the man at the center: Peter Dinklage.

While the original isn’t exactly one of the best superhero movies ever made, clearly the cast and crew of this remake felt it was a diamond in the rough they could reshape. Here’s The Toxic Avenger explained.

The Toxic Avenger explained

The Toxic Avenger is a janitor character from the 1984 movie who becomes a disfigured superhero after falling into chemicals. He’s played by Peter Dinklage in the new version.

Winston Gooze is a janitor at a chemical factory, and as all the best Joker actors know, a vat of toxic waste is never a good thing. In the original low-budget black comedy/horror/action movie/everything, he emerges from the barrel of chemicals muscly but scarred.

Peter Dinklage as The Toxic Avenger

In the reimagining (Are we saying that instead of remake now? Alrighty.), Dinklage takes on the role of “Toxie”. In the first look images, we got a tease of his final look. Blair is intent on not giving it all away too soon, but you can see his silhouette in the above image, which includes a melted-on tutu.

Blair told Entertainment Weekly, “There is a terrible industrial accident that renders him a mutant and an outcast, but also gives him some super strength and super abilities that sets him on a path of being an unlikely vigilante in this downward-spiraling society.”

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The Toxic Avenger’s powers and abilities explained

The Toxic Avenger uses his janitor’s mop as a super weapon, he also has some super strength.

Blair — who directed one of the best movies on Netflix, I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore — has confirmed Toxie has some super strength at his disposal, a weaponized mop, and has hinted at further “mutant” abilities. But we’ll just have to watch to see them all!

Peter Dinklage as The Toxic Avenger

Who plays The Toxic Avenger in the new movie?

Peter Dinklage, best known for Game of Thrones, portrays The Toxic Avenger in the 2023 movie.

He starred in the Game of Thrones cast as Tyrion Lannister and has been in a wide range of films since, with some of our recent favorites being the black comedy I Care a Lot, and the silly romp The Boss (yes, we’re serious, we love Melissa McCarthy here). Like Wood, Dinklage has a tendency to gravitate towards the wonderfully weird.

The film premieres at Fantastic Fest, running September 21-28 2023.

For more of the movie’s stars, read up on The Lord of the Rings cast, the Yellowjackets cast, or the Game of Thrones characters, ranked. We’ve also got handy how-to-watch guides on the DC movies in order and Marvel movies in order for more of your super-fix. But if you prefer these more subversive takes, fly on over to The Boys season 4 instead.