Yesterday, we found out actor and WWE superstar John Cena is in talks to join James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, and now we know which character he’ll likely play.
Variety’s Justin Kroll initially broke the casting report but has since fleshed out a few more details on Twitter. The biggest reveal: Cena is expected to take on the role of Christopher Smith, AKA the Peacemaker.
Created by Joe Gill and Pat Boyette in 1966 for Charlton Comics, the Peacemaker was acquired by DC Comics in the mid-80s and used sparingly over the last 30+ years. Originally “a pacifist diplomat so committed to peace that he was willing to use force to advance the cause,” Alan Moore used aspects of the character for the basis of The Comedian in Watchmen.
Warner Bros. hasn’t officially confirmed the news, but in the comics, Smith is a jacked marksman who specializes in advanced military weapon systems, so it’s not hard to picture Cena in the role. The Peacemaker could easily replace the position Rick Flag served in the first film, too, assuming Joel Kinnaman doesn’t return.
Kroll also revealed that the part was originally intended for fellow wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista, who had to turn it down because of scheduling conflicts. Bautista, who appeared in both of Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy films, was a staunch defender of the director after he was abruptly fired from the third entry in the megahit Marvel franchise. On the day it was revealed Gunn was hired to helm Suicide Squad 2, Bautista tweeted, “Where do I sign up?”
Circling back to Cena, though, and just last year he showed off his military might in the Transformers spinoff Bumblebee and his comedy chops in the severely underrated Blockers. Both of these attributes will fit right at home in James Gunn’s sequel, which will surely merge the director’s black humor and inspired action.
The film will serve as a reboot to 2016’s Suicide Squad, a pic that became a box office sensation despite negative reviews from critics and numerous reports of behind the scenes troubles. Cena will join Idris Elba as the newcomers to the team roster, and they’ll be flanked by Viola Davis, Jai Courtney and Margot Robbie, who will return as Amanda Waller, Captain Boomerang and Harley Quinn, respectively.
The Suicide Squad starts production this fall and you can bet that Cena won’t be the last surprising addition to an already impressive cast.