You know test screenings have performed beyond expectations when a show is renewed for a second season eight months before it’s even released. But that happens to be the case with James Gunn’s Peacemaker, a spinoff HBO Max series starring John Cena as vigilante diplomat Christopher Smith. Gunn teased Cena’s return on his Twitter account, but it’s not only Peacemaker that’s coming back for another trip down the rabbit hole; the Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director is also saving another member of the Suicide Squad for Season 2 of Peacemaker. The St. Louis native recently warned (bragged?) about the overwhelming kill count in this year’s Suicide Squad reboot-sequel; apparently, a good chunk of Amanda Waller’s microchipped lifers are going to die infiltrating a Nazi-era prison and facing alien telepath Starro the Conqueror. Fan speculation has gone from this being Margot Robbie’s last rodeo as Harley Quinn, to some lesser-known Task Force X grunt perishing in the chaos. The movie does feature more Suicide Squad members than usual. Collateral damage? Possibly. But whoever this mystery character is, Gunn is keeping them safe in The Suicide Squad, just long enough to make an appearance in Season 2 of Peacemaker. So much hype for a character that debuted in a film that hasn’t even hit theaters yet.
Conversely, the secret character in John Cena’s Peacemaker Season 2 could be someone we haven’t seen yet, or won’t be appearing in The Suicide Squad in any shape or form. James Gunn didn’t exactly specify if it’s going to be a new guy or a big name already proven to be existing in the DC Extended Universe. The question he was asked was equally vague; @BatFamNerd asked if there are “any characters” Gunn “wanted to include in Peacemaker but ended up cutting.” The 54-year-old’s tweet response is as follows:
Most fans are gunning (get it?) for Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Deathstroke, or Captain Atom to cross paths with John Cena’s Christopher Smith. Teen Titans villain Deathstroke/Slade Wilson famously debuted in the post-credits scene of the theatrical version of Justice League as the latest of Lex Luthor’s (Jesse Eisenberg) homicidal enforcers. Wilson pulled up to Luthor’s yacht, ready for his next assignment, only to be offered the chance to assemble his own team against the newly formed Justice League. The meeting didn’t have much weight to it, and felt more random than anything. Zack Snyder’s four-hour cut of the same movie featured the same post-credits scene, with some definite — and dare we say, vastly improved — adjustments. Joss Whedon’s Deathstroke was gearing for a future team-up in the style of the Avengers. Snyder’s had a more insidious reason for being there. His Deathstroke revealed a personal vendetta against Batman and deliberately sought out Luthor, offering his assistance in exchange for the Caped Crusader’s secret identity. Snyder ended the scene with a massive gut punch: Lex Luthor divulges Bruce Wayne’s connection to the Batman and the two supervillains drink in celebration. Zack Snyder’s Deathstroke effectively set up the Batman solo movie Ben Affleck was originally tapped to create. Joe Manganiello played the mercenary in both cuts of Justice League and was supposed to feature in Affleck’s The Batman as the primary villain of the film. With the Snyderverse officially dead and buried, Manganiello could easily reprise the role in the rebooted DCEU, and what better place to start than James Gunn’s Peacemaker? Christopher Smith could easily come to blows with Slade Wilson on his quest to achieving peace, and the repercussions could be bloody.
John Cena’s Peacemaker debuts on HBO Max on January 2022, four months after The Suicide Squad is scheduled to release worldwide. The spinoff series is an origin story for Cena’s character and also stars Steve Agee as Amanda Waller’s aide and warden of the Belle Reve penitentiary John Economos, Chris Conrad as Adrian Chase/The Vigilante, a district attorney imbued with regenerative healing, and Danielle Brooks, Robert Patrick, Jennifer Holland, and Chukwudi Iwuji in new roles. DC superhero Judomaster will also be making his first appearance in the DC Extended Universe in Peacemaker Season 1, played by Nhut Le. The mantle of Peacemaker belongs to several superheroes in the DC universe. The original titleholder is the man John Cena is playing: Christopher Smith, a diplomat with an aggressive stance toward pacifism. Smith is so committed to world peace, he becomes a deadly killer to ensure it’s maintained. The character was created in 1966 by Joe Gill and Pat Boyette for Fightin’ 5 #40. James Gunn is writing and executive producing the live-action adaptation. The series was originally called The Scriptures.