We already knew The Suicide Squad wouldn’t be the last time we’d be seeing John Cena playing Peacemaker, but thanks to a recent interview with James Gunn, we now know how the film will be leading into the upcoming Peacemaker series for HBO Max. Before you read on, please know that spoilers follow for The Suicide Squad.
John Cena’s ideologically twisted character in The Suicide Squad believes in peace at absolutely any price. As he tells Ratcatcher II (Daniela Melchior) in the film, he “doesn’t care about how many men, women, and children” he needs to kill for it. But unlike most of the other Task Force X members in the film — at least, out of the ones who survive the first 15 minutes — Peacemaker is one of the few we don’t learn that much about. We don’t know exactly how he came to be the violent fanatic he is today.
Speaking to Variety, James Gunn said there are two specific moments in the film that lead into the upcoming Peacemaker series for John Cena. The first is when Bloodsport (Idris Elba) and Ratcatcher II tell each other about their respective fathers. When DuBois talks about the abuse he endured at his father’s hands, the camera cuts to Peacemaker and we see him nod. “That’s the seed of the entire Peacemaker series,” filmmaker James Gunn told Variety. He went on to explain that Robert Patrick will play Auggie Smith — father to John Cena’s Christopher Smith, aka Peacemaker — in the upcoming series, and that much of who the younger Smith becomes is informed by his father. Gunn said of Peacemaker, “he’s not an evil person, he’s just a bad guy.”
The other moment in the film Gunn points to is at the Corto Maltese bar — La Gatita Amable — where John Cena’s Peacemaker uncharacteristically allows himself to emotionally connect to the members of Task Force X while they wait to apprehend The Thinker (Peter Capaldi). Gunn explained that moment is a unique one for the character and that when he later clashes with the team over the computer drive with the Starro data, he’s choosing his strange ideals over that connection. Peacemaker, Gunn says, will be about a similar conflict between the character’s ideals and his desire to recreate the connection he finds with Task Force X.
We’ll find out more specifics on Sunday, January 16, 2022, when the first three episodes of Peacemaker are available for streaming on HBO Max. Along with John Cena reprising the title role, other actors from The Suicide Squad will appear, including Steve Agee as John Economos and Jennifer Holland as NSA Agent Emilia Harcourt. Agee and Holland also appear in the post-credits scene of the film, when we learn that in spite of being shot in the throat by Bloodsport, Peacemaker is still alive.
Freddie Stroma will also appear in Peacemaker as Adrian Chase, aka Vigilante, though it isn’t clear if Chase will an enemy to John Cena’s character, ally, or something in between. Chris Conrad was originally set to play Chase, but in May Deadline reported Stroma had replaced Chase, with no specific reason offered for the change. Other cast members include Nhut Le as the superhero Judomaster, Danielle Brooks as Leota Adebayo, Annie Chang as Detective Sophie Song, and Chukwudi Iwuji as Clemson Murn.
Don’t expect Peacemaker to be any less bloody than The Suicide Squad by the way. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in July, John Cena said fans should expect the series to turn “up the volume on anything you see in The Suicide Squad.”