Peacemaker: All About John Cena’s Superhero Series

Peacemaker, starring John Cena is coming soon. Here's everything you need to know about the character and the movie by James Gunn

By Doug Norrie

This article is more than 2 years old

john cena peacemaker feature

Peacemaker is getting his own series on HBO Max in a continued expansion of the DC Universe. In what will be a spin-off of the upcoming Suicide Squad reboot, the show could offer a continued shift in tone for DC productions, offering possibly a more comedic approach. The character is an interesting one, mostly unknown in the larger comic book world. But the show has a ton of upside with the series creatives and star lending quite a bit of hope that it will fire on all cylinders. Let’s take a look at what we know about Peacemaker. 

Who Is Peacemaker?

peacemaker hbo max logo

The plainly-named Christopher Smith or Peacemaker is a character developed back in 1966 and created to be a totally different play on the Captain America-type hero. In many ways, the two are similar in terms of style, gear, and “powers” but there are distinct differences in their respective approaches. Peacemaker envisions himself as a diplomat with a “peaceful” agenda. He wants to solve the world’s crisis through self-proclaimed pacifism. The issue at hand is that his name and proposed agenda come in direct conflict with his actual actions. Peacemaker uses extreme pacifism which is to say, he uses violent ends to justify his peaceful means. It’s a hilarious contradiction that makes him a weird anti-hero. This approach has plenty of comedic threads to pull.

Who Will Star In Peacemaker?

john cena peacemaker

John Cena is set to star as the titular character in what could prove to be masterful casting. We already have an early look at the character thanks to his soon-to-be introduction in The Suicide Squad. Cena, for all his bulk and braun has proven in more than a few instances an ability to bring a comedic element to his roles.

Whether it was bit parts in movies like Trainwreck and Daddy’s Home or more star turns in films like Blockers and Playing with Fire, Cena has shown the ability to pivot away from his earlier roles in action flicks like The Marine, Ready to Rumble, and 12 Rounds. Those films were strictly shoot-em-up movies playing on Cena’s build and WWE background to appeal to a certain audience. If anything, Peacemaker feels like a career culmination, a perfect meeting of his two on-screen personas. He’ll be able to wield a strong hand (and a gun) while also playing up the funnier juxtapositional aspects of the character. It just feels like perfect casting.

The Rest Of The Cast

The main cast of Peacemaker has already been filled out and will include some new additions to the DC Universe.  The biggest name, other than John Cena, is Robert Patrick who will play Peacemaker’s father Auggie Smith. In the comics, Auggie is a racist de facto leader of a small town. It stands to reason Patrick takes a more villainous turn in this show, likely starting to shape some of Christopher’s outward hatred and violence going forward. 

Steve Agee is also in the cast as John Economos. Agee had a smaller role in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 as one of his major credits and has had cameos on a number of different television programs. His Economos character is the Warden of Belle Reve where the Suicide Squad group has been housed in the past. He’s also an aide of Amanda Waller. The character will appear in this show and The Suicide Squad as well. 

Some other notables include Danielle Brooks who’s likely best known as Tasty on the Netflix original Orange is the New Black. She’ll play Leota Adebayo in the show though it’s unclear her exact relationship to the titular character. 

And Chris Conrad will play Adrian Chase with the alter ego of The Vigilante. In the comics, Chase is a Manhattan District Attorney by day and a violent crimefighter by night. It’s likely he plays something of an antagonist to Peacemaker’s character considering the legal side of Chase’s background would be heavily at odds with the hero’s methods of “peacekeeping”. But there’s also some chance they are aligned as their alter egos. It should make an interesting dynamic.

What Will Peacemaker Be About?

suicide squad john cena peacemaker

Word is that Peacemaker will be an origin story for the character. The plot was conceived by James Gunn after The Suicide Squad had already been written and started production. In the comics, Peacemaker’s upbringing is a brutal one with his father, the aforementioned Auggie, having spent time as a Nazi death camp officer who escaped to the United States after the war and lived under an alias. This abuse early in life is what ultimately leads to Peacemaker’s incredibly violent approach while also giving him a warped sense of judgment and fairness. It’s essentially a story about him compensating for the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father. 

Because of this background and the nature of the production, it’s likely we get quite a few early interactions in the Smith family that help dictate Christopher’s future path. There’s also a good chance we see Peacemaker in what amounted to his early military service. This is where he receives a lot of his training, but he’s ultimately dismissed from the service because his tactics are simply too extreme.

There’s some chance the Peacemaker series overlaps with the events of The Suicide Squad and occurs across multiple timelines.

Who’s Helming Peacemaker?

James Gunn

James Gunn wrote the series script for Peacemaker and also will act as the showrunner. He’s sitting in the director’s chair for five of the episodes as well. Gunn, of course, needs almost no introduction. The writer/ director has already had his hand in one of the biggest movie franchises around, helming Guardians of the Galaxy and the follow-up Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. These were unbelievably successful films, taking mostly side Marvel characters and turning them into on-screen delights. The two films combined to earn about $1.6 billion at the box office and crushed with critics sitting at 91% and 85% respectively on Rotten Tomatoes. 

And Gunn will also be leading The Suicide Squad as that franchise looks to reset itself. The first David Ayer version mostly missed the mark in its attempt to bring the titular vigilante group into the forefront. 

The Other Peacemaker Directors Involved

While James Gunn is directing five out of the eight episodes himself, there are three other directors involved for the other Peacemaker episodes. One will be Jody Hill, known for comedies like Observe and Report and multiple movies and television series with actor Danny McBride. The second director is Brad Anderson, who is known for working on Titans, another comic-book-inspired series for DC airing on HBO. Rounding out the group is director Rosemary Rodriguez, who has worked on episodes of The Walking Dead and Jessica Jones.

A Look Behind the Scenes

In July 2021, we got our very first look at John Cena on the set of Peacemaker the series. Check him out, covered in blood and standing in front of the trailer home that matches his costume.

john cena

When Will Peacemaker Release?


We got our first look at John Cena as Peacemaker in the aforementioned The Suicide Squad which hit theaters and HBO Max on August 6, 2021.

Now, Peacemaker is set to premiere as an eight-episode run on HBO Max in January of 2022. The first three episodes will premiere on Sunday, January 16, 2022, on HBO Max.