When The Suicide Squad came out this summer, it was an instant hit and a much-needed reboot for the franchise with James Gunn leaning much more bloody and comedic in an effort to rebrand the group. It worked. One of the highlights of the movie was John Cena as Peacemaker, a liberty-at-all-costs psychopath whose misguided drive to espouse freedom usually just meant him killing everything in sight. And now his character is getting his own series with the adventures of Peacemaker looking to dial up the laughs even more. Part of it will be the things he holds most dear, like his giant pet bald eagle. We caught a glimpse of the winged beauty in the first teaser for Peacemaker.
Peacemaker will give more background on the John Cena character, detailing how he begins working with Amanda Waller’s crew but also drilling down on just what an infantilized narcissist Peacemaker really is, often not realizing he’s the butt of everyone’s joke. It’s a hilarious juxtaposition considering the sheer size and girth of John Cena, crammed into the spandex uniform and shiny helmet. The first look at him meeting up with his new crew is a great first look at the show, bald eagle and all. Check it out.
Oh man, this is all so great. The initial meetup is at a diner where we see Amanda Waller has sent her group of handlers who will be guiding John Cena as Peacemaker through his missions. There is Steve Agee as John Economos, Jennifer Holland as Emilia Harcourt, Chukwudi Iwuji as Clemson Murn, and Danielle Brooks as Leota Adebayo. They are aghast to see John Cena show up in full costume, wildly out of place in the setting and clearly not understanding the covert aspects of their operation. Sure, he says he’s breaking in the new suit, but everyone has a laugh at his expense. Again, this is a totally different vibe than we’ve seen with almost any other “superhero” show.
But the real laughs come when they ask him about his pet eagle that is flapping around the backseat of his muscle car. John Cena, of course, has named him Eagle-y to which the rest of the group just can’t help themselves. It unleashes a torrent of sarcastic criticism that totally flips the script on where Cena’s character stands with this group. It’s perfect.
Now, did James Gunn add the eagle because of the flack he took recently about birds, wanting to show that a majestic winged creature can have a place in his works without getting killed? Maybe. But it also just helps that John Cena as Peacemaker would see it as the ultimate symbol of freedom even if it is just crammed into the backseat. Gunn had taken heat when he was called out for the number of winged creatures who got smoked in The Suicide Squad.
The misadventures of John Cena and company looks like it will really deliver when Peacemaker hits HBO Max in January of next year. Considering Gunn’s style and what John Cena has already brought to the role, this could be one of the better DC offerings to date.