John Cena lucked out big time when he was drafted in to play Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad once original choice Dave Bautista turned down the role his close friend and regular collaborator James Gunn had written specifically for him in order to headline Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead instead.
It worked out pretty well for both professional wrestlers-turned-actors, with Bautista taking top billing in one of Netflix’s most-watched original movies ever that’s set to launch an entire shared universe, while Cena has been winning rave reviews for his turn as Christopher Smith in the R-rated DCEU adventure, and he’s even getting his own spinoff series next year when Peacemaker premieres on HBO Max in January 2022.
The post-credits scene of The Suicide Squad was rejigged to lay the foundations for Peacemaker, which Gunn came up with in a bout of creativity during the first COVID-19 lockdown. In a new interview, the filmmaker teased that he’d love to tackle multiple seasons, and claimed the streamer’s first episodic DCEU project is going to change the game when it comes to its levels of action.
“There’s not a big plan in place, but it’s something I would love to do, and I know that the cast would love to do. We haven’t been picked up yet, so we’ll have to see what happens from HBO Max. Next season, I hope to direct all of the episodes. As you’ll see, Peacemaker is a very, very different show from anything that’s ever been done in the superhero realm. It is about a guy, first and foremost, and very much secondarily a superhero. But it’s still a big science fiction movie with tons and tons more action than any superhero show ever. It’s just totally its own thing.”
Cena gave arguably the best performance of his career in The Suicide Squad, and Gunn was definitely right in telling him to play the part completely differently than the way he’d intended on the very first day of shooting. ‘Peace at any cost’ is an intrinsically flawed methodology, but Peacemaker has already made it clear he’s willing to kill as many men, women and children as necessary to secure a brighter future, and his deadpan stylings couple with massive scale action could see the show become HBO Max’s biggest in-house success story yet.