James Gunn Offers A Surprising Revelation About Peacemaker

By Nathan Kamal | 2 months ago

james gunn

Director James Gunn recently confirmed what audiences had been wondering about his hit HBO Max show Peacemaker: the title character is bisexual. It is honestly kind of less of a revelation than a confirmation of what is overtly, textually said within the eight-episode series. However, in the relatively de-sexualized world of comic book adaptations, fans are so used to context clues and innuendo being used to indicate anything other than strict heterosexuality, a blunt acknowledgment of bisexuality is unusual. Here is what James Gunn told Total Film on the subject of Peacemaker’s sexual orientation: 

It was always that that Peacemaker was talking about having sex with both men and women, and he treats them both like sexual conquest in a way.

According to James Gunn, the development of Peacemaker as an openly bisexual character came about via discussion between him and John Cena, who portrays the violent vigilante/patriotic superhero (if there’s a difference). Specifically, the conversation got brought up by Cena’s riffing and adlibs with the character, which leaned sexual and eventually they settled on the character as being a bisexual hedonist. It is remarkable that the director of Guardians of the Galaxy felt it necessary to have to confirm this. Within the show, Peacemaker (also known as Christopher Smith) unabashedly acknowledges having sex with other men, and in a dramatic moment near the end of the series, his white supremacist father Auggie Smith/White Dragon (Robert Patrick) includes his sexuality as one of the things that makes him “unclean” before attempting to kill him. But still, it seems it was necessary to have to club people over the head with it. 

Presentation of both sexuality and sexual orientation is a much-debated topic within comic books and the comic book adaptations that now dominate the global cinematic box office. James Gunn and John Cena’s decision to portray Peacemaker as LGBTQIA+ can be seen as a positive sign of acknowledgment of bisexuality, though others see it as both too little and well, not a good look. The argument for the former is that while we may see characters described as bisexual on screen, their actual relationships presented are exclusively male-female pairings. Additionally, there is a strong tendency for characters to be retroactively described as queer, in what we might call “The Dumbledore Manuever.”  The latter argument is that maybe with the stereotypes of non-heterosexual men being what they are, maybe an ultraviolent hedonist who has sex with men in prison is not the most positive or groundbreaking portrayal (despite Cena’s actually nuanced and sensitive portrayal). Still, regardless of the debates as to who and how people should be portrayed, it is a small step forward. Currently, the DCEU has little representation of LGBTQIA+ (and the MCU essentially none), so every little bit helps. 

James Gunn and John Cena are back on board with for a second season of Peacemaker for HBO Max. The first season was critically acclaimed (currently holding a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes) and rocketed up to become the most-streamed show on television during its run. Gunn also reportedly has another The Suicide Squad spin-off in the works, and is in production for the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. John Cena is currently set to star in Matthew Vaughn’s ensemble spy thriller, Argylle.