'Peacemaker' First Look: John Cena's 'The Suicide Squad' Character May or May Not Be the Hero of His Own HBO Max Series

'Peacemaker' First Look: John Cena's 'The Suicide Squad' Character May or May Not Be the Hero of His Own HBO Max Series

July 6, 2021

James Gunn‘s The Suicide Squad hasn’t even been released yet, but that’s not stopping HBO Max from fully committing to a spin-off dedicated to one of the film’s misfits played by John CenaPeacemaker. Now, Empire Magazine has provided a brand-new look at the anti-hero/villain-starring series, and the accompanying quotes by Gunn and Cena would seem to clarify exactly what viewers ought to be expecting when it comes to Peacemaker’s temperament. Their bluntness is kind of hilarious, honestly. First, check out the first look below.

Peacemaker First Look

Empire debuted the first look image from Peacemaker, the HBO Max series set to star John Cena as the titular jingoistic killer. Flanked by Gunn (who is set to write all eight episodes, as well as direct a number of them), Cena’s Peacemaker looks like he’s seen some things.

If the trailer for The Suicide Squad is any indication, Gunn will likely enjoy even more free reign to inject the proceedings with copious amounts of crass humor (as we noted in the initial announcement, Peacemaker is described as an “action-adventure comedy”), violence, and character work. In fact, we’re going out on a limb to guess that much of the show will attempt to ride the fine line of how audiences will be able to empathize with (or not) such a despicable lead.

“Peacemaker’s a Piece of Shit”

Told you it was blunt. In their exclusive, Empire notes the proud HBO tradition of attempting to tell character-driven stories through protagonists (dictionary definition: the leading character or one of the major characters in a drama, movie, novel, or other fictional text) who are still the farthest thing possible from being considered “good guys”. Maybe this is a spoiler for some fans, but we were not, in fact, meant to relate to and wholeheartedly identify with notable villains such as Tony Soprano or Walter White just because they were the leads of their respective shows.

It would seem the Peacemaker will attempt to bring some form of this moral grayness into the comic book world. In Gunn’s own words:

“Peacemaker’s a piece of shit. He’s not a good guy. And he wears the goofiest costume you’ve ever seen in your life.

Peacemaker has a clear set of ideals that I find really interesting. You know: ‘I want peace no matter how many men, women and children I need to kill to get it.’ Sounds like nonsense, but it also makes a lot of sense. And you see in John’s performance how he does not feel good about it – something I thought was the seed of an entire eight-episode show.”

Obviously, this doesn’t sound like it’ll be quite as grounded and gritty as either Breaking Bad or The Sopranos were — for one thing, Gunn notes that the series will feature a “big science-fiction story” and that “[Peacemaker] lives in the world of Superman, Batman, and Aquaman, and that is not an easy thing for him to contend with” — but the overall sentiment remains. No stranger to controversy himself, Gunn goes on to point out that Peacemaker “represents a part of the world populace that is problematic to say the least and puts him in a situation where he has to face the choices he’s made throughout his life and the extremity of his views.”

We’ll have to wait until 2022 to see just what Peacemaker has in store for us.

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