‘Peacemaker’: James Gunn explains why John Cena got ‘The Suicide Squad’ spinoff

peacemaker
Photo via HBO

Warning: this article contains spoilers for The Suicide Squad.

We’re getting more insights into why comic book movie magnate James Gunn decided to go with John Cena’s Peacemaker as the subject of a self-titled HBO Max spinoff series, as opposed to one of the other colorful cast of characters in his excellent DC film that released earlier this year, The Suicide Squad.

Don’t get us wrong, Peacemaker is a great character, but with so many amazingly roguish antiheroes to choose from — such as Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, Idris Elba’s Bloodsport, and Daniela Melchior’s Ratcatcher 2 — it makes us wonder just how the director was able to narrow it down. Warning: this article will contain spoilers for The Suicide Squad from here on out.

While all the super characters in the R-rated romp had villainous aspects, John Cena’s Peacemaker, in particular, turned out to be a surprise antagonist. Peacemaker is hired by the U.S. government to cover up their war crimes, even if that means killing off other Suicide Squad members (which he most certainly does), unbeknownst to the rest of the Task Force X team assembled by Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller. Specifically, Peacemaker is tasked with covering up proof that America secretly enabled insidious human experiments on the island of Corto Maltese involving the mind-controlling alien starfish creature known as Starro the Conqueror.

When asked why he chose Peacemaker for the titular spinoff, which comes to HBO Max next week, Gunn explained in a recent interview with Matt Ramos that part of the motivation was due to how much he enjoyed working with John Cena.

“Number one, I really got along with John Cena. We became really good friends. He’s a funny guy, and I thought it would be fun to continue working with him,” Gunn said.

He also explained that the character made for an interesting choice for a continuation from a storytelling perspective because, despite many of the characters around him changing by the end of the film, Peacemaker’s character remained relatively the same.

“Ratcatcher 2 changed a lot, Bloodsport changed a lot, Poka-Dot Man changed a lot. But Peacemaker kind of remained, you know, the unrepentant S.O.B. that he was at the beginning of the movie. And I knew that there was a lot deeper to go with the character,” Gunn said.

Peacemaker comes to HBO Max Jan. 13.