‘Peacemaker’ star Chukwudi Iwuji breaks down his character’s big secret

peacemaker clemson murn

Warning: the article contains spoilers for Peacemaker episodes 1-6.

Now that Peacemaker’s episode six has been unleashed onto HBO Max, fans of the show have gone through a roller coaster of emotions over revelations surrounding the main characters.

Not only is John Cena’s Christopher Smith, AKA Peacemaker, presented as a much more likable character than we initially saw him in 2021’s The Suicide Squad — where he was a conflict-creating antagonist — but Chukwudi Iwuji’s Clemson Murn, the Task Force X mission leader in the spinoff show, has a few surprising secrets of his own.

Warning: the article contains spoilers for Peacemaker episodes 1-6.

In episode four of Peacemaker, we found out in a cliffhanger scene that Clemson is actually being controlled by one of the alien imposters known as butterflies. Since the agent leads the mission of Project Butterfly, the goal for which is to wipe out the alien threat from taking over the world, we assumed Clemson was a bad guy at that point.

That’s why we held our breath when fellow Task Force X member Danielle Brooks’ Leota Adebayo inadvertently discovered Clemson’s secret by donning one of Peacemaker’s X-ray vision helmets. The cliffhanger at the end of episode five saw Clemson catch Leota discovering his secret, leading us to believe he may possibly kill her.

But in episode six, it turns out the butterfly who is inhabiting Clemson is rebelling against his own kind, with a mission of pacifism, and really does want to halt the hostile take-over. As such, he does not kill Leota, despite having the opportunity to do so, and simply reveals his secret to her.

Iwuji previously revealed in an interview that he was told the entirety of his character’s story beforehand. This makes us wonder, now that episode six has been released, whether Iwuji factored into his early performance in the show the plot twists that would arise later on — from good guy to bad guy, to good guy again.

In a press roundtable discussion (via TheDirect), Iwuji called his character’s secret of being a butterfly something of a “selling point” when showrunner James Gunn and executive producer Peter Safran were pitching it to the actor.

But it turns out, Iwuji did not let these future twists inform his performance, as he said he isn’t someone who believes in “playing an arc on a character” and instead goes for a “moment to moment” approach.

“So it was wonderful to know I was going to have that, but it was really important that I played it as Clemson Murn, and that was it,” he said, describing the character as someone with a dark past, dry, driven, and taciturn, similar to Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller, the character’s boss.

“If there were any clues about him being a Butterfly, it was more about [them being] in the writing, certainly not in my performance,” Iwuji went on to say. “Because I don’t believe in drip-feeding the audience like that cause it’s so much more fun to play each moment as it’s written and go for it.”

Watch Peacemaker on HBO Max now, with the penultimate episode of its first season arriving on the streaming platform next Thursday, Feb. 10.