James Gunn has revealed the personal reason behind an original Peacemaker character’s name. As well as pulling names from the comics, such as John Cena’s titular anti-hero and Freddie Stroma’s Vigilante, the Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker put his own stamp on the material by creating some unique-to-the-screen characters for the HBO Max TV series. Like Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji), Auggie Smith (Robert Patrick) and, most notably, Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks).
It turns out that, through Adebayo, Gunn managed to slip a touching nod to his mother into the show. In response to the range of Peacemaker Twitter emojis, the writer/director took to social media this Sunday to tweet: “I can’t believe my mother’s name (Leota) has its own emoji (and it’s [Danielle Brooks]).”
In the replies to his post, Gunn clarified that he didn’t deliberately give the character his mom’s name in the hopes of creating a #Leota emoji.
Hilariously, Gunn’s mother isn’t too impressed with this development.
This isn’t the first time that Gunn’s paid homage to his folks in his projects. The real-life Leota and James Gunn Snr., the director’s father, previously had a brief cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, as a couple witnessing Ego’s Expansion on Earth. They were credited as “Weird Old Man” and “Weird Old Man’s Mistress.”
Lending Adebayo his mother’s first name is probably an even more meaningful thank-you to his parent, though, given how significant the DCEU’s Leota is to both Peacemaker — she’s essentially the show’s female lead — and the franchise at large — Adebayo is secretly the daughter of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis).
As she’s a Gunn original, it’s unclear if Adebayo could turn up elsewhere in the universe, but here’s hoping Brooks will return for Peacemaker season two, assuming it happens. In the meantime, the season finale premieres this Thursday on HBO Max.