James Gunn says DC let him go ‘hog wild’ with ‘Peacemaker’

Photo via HBO

Having poached him from Marvel after his temporary dismissal from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, DC gave writer/director James Gunn carte blanche when it came to The Suicide Squad, his standalone sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad that came out last summer. Handed an R-rating and free reign to use whichever characters he wanted;, TSS turned out to be one of the wildest DCEU projects so far. And the same is true of his follow-up TV series, Peacemaker.

Peacemaker — the very first DCEU TV show — premiered on HBO Max today, so now that we’ve got a chance to see it, it’s clear that it’s 100% Gunn. While speaking to /Film, the filmmaker confirmed that DC was just as accommodating to wherever he wanted to go in the series as Marvel is with his Guardians movies. According to Gunn, there was just one element of Peacemaker that he was asked to tone down.

“People tend to think that there’s a master plan for Marvel,” Gunn said. “But the truth is, Marvel never asked me to do anything other than, in the first ‘Guardians,’ to put Thanos in there and to come up with what the Infinity Stones were. Other than that, Marvel has never, ever asked me to do anything, and the same thing has basically been true of DC. There was one thing that maybe I pushed a little too far in the original scripts of ‘Peacemaker,’ which I pulled back on this much. But other than that, they kind of let me go hog wild.”

Gunn didn’t go into specifics about the “one thing” that he “pushed a little too far” in his first drafts, so he leaves us wondering about what that might be. The first three episodes, which dropped on streaming today, featured just as many crass, near-the-knuckle jokes as you’d expect from a Gunn production, so it might not be his sense of humor that was censored. Without spoiling it, the show digs into some surprising real-world evil, so it’s possible Warner Bros. asked him to pull back on that a bit.

Peacemaker stars John Cena as the titular anti-hero, real name Christopher Smith, the world’s most violent pacifist. Jennifer Holland and Steve Agee likewise return from TSS, with the cast rounded out by Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, Robert Patrick, and Chukwudi Iwuji (who’s re-teaming with Gunn for Guardians 3). Following the first three, new episodes of the eight-part series arrive Thursdays on HBO Max.