'The Suicide Squad' Credits Scene Explained: What's Next For That Character?

Well over a year after the release of their last in-canon DC Universe installment, Birds of Prey, Warner Bros. has expanded their roster even more with The Suicide Squad. Those able and willing to catch it on the big screen have every opportunity to do so, but fortunately fans can also check it out from the comfort of their own homes through its simultaneous release on HBO Max. The James Gunn film comes fully loaded with all manner of violence, irreverence, and even moments of unexpected sentimentality...but thanks to a post-credits scene, it also can't resist laying the groundwork for what's to come with a certain scene-stealing character. Let's dig into it.

Major spoilers for The Suicide Squad follow.

The Suicide Squad Credits Scene Explained

Throughout the course of the action in the kaiju-sized final act, secrets are revealed and the somewhat unhinged beacon of peace, Peacemaker (John Cena), is shown to have ulterior motives for being recruited onto the team. Remember, it's brought up earlier during a comedic aside that he possesses all the same skills as Idris Elba's Bloodsport, though his ego compels him to brag about being just that much better than his rival. As it turns out, there's a very good reason for his presence after all — and it may have reverberations when it comes to the upcoming HBO Max spin-off series, Peacemaker.

Upon Rick Flag's (Joel Kinnaman) discovery that the United States is largely responsible for Starro the Conqueror's potentially global threat and amid Flag's insistence that they hand over the incriminating information to the press, Peacemaker confesses up that he's there to erase any physical evidence of American culpability. This doesn't exactly go over well, eventually leading to his face-off against Bloodsport. In a callback to their initial conversation, Bloodsport's bullet goes through Peacemaker's and results in Peacemaker's apparent death.

At this point, fans in the know would be excused for thinking that this meant the previously-announced Peacemaker series would have to be a prequel that's set well before the events of The Suicide Squad. It wouldn't be the first time a character's popularity justified bending space and time to accommodate more appearances down the line, after all. That's not the case here, however, as the post-credits scene makes clear.

Two of Amanda Waller's (Viola Davis) conscience-stricken underlings who play larger-than-expected roles throughout the course of the film, portrayed by Steve Agee (who also doubled as the on-set stand-in for King Shark) and Jennifer Holland, are led through a secret hospital where it's revealed that Peacemaker is alive and recovering from his injuries. With more than a little reluctance, Holland's Emilia Harcourt explains why they apparently need Peacemaker: "Just to save the f***ing world, that's all."

The Potential of Peacemaker

While more James Gunn projects aren't a bad thing by any means, the news that Peacemaker would be getting his own spin-off well before anyone had ever actually seen him in The Suicide Squad couldn't help but feel like another head-scratching decision, where exploiting IP is placed ahead of meaningful storytelling.

To my surprise, the character is given much more depth in the film than I ever would've expected. On the surface, he's a typical John Cena meathead character whose physicality is matched by his hilarious lack of self-awareness. That's not all he has to offer, however. His peace-at-all-costs motivation isn't just treated as window dressing, but allows him to experience a genuine moral quandary as he's forced to turn against his own squad mates. Likewise, his rivalry with both Rick Flag and Bloodsport breed interesting conflicts and test interpersonal bonds amongst the team.

By the end of The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker has gone full villain — brutally killing Flag in a one-on-one brawl and willing to murder my personal favorite character, Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), in cold blood just to keep the Starro data from getting out. The idea of leading his own series in the aftermath of his journey in the movie has more potential than I ever would've thought, allowing the character even more opportunity to either indulge in his worst instincts or, possibly, rise above his bloodlust to become something closer to an antihero.

HBO Max's Peacemaker Series

James Gunn will be returning to write all eight episodes of this planned spin-off series, as well as direct five of them. Other directors will include Jody Hill, Brad Anderson, and Rosemary Rodriguez. It's being described as an action-adventure-comedy that will show how Peacemaker became "...a man who believes in peace at any cost — no matter how many people he has to kill to get it." That certainly hints at some flashbacks for the character, perhaps further explaining how he ended up at Belle Reve prison in the first place. For the most part, though, expect it to be set in the present with all the same humor and violence as featured in The Suicide Squad. When first announced, Gunn provided more details:

"Peacemaker is an opportunity to delve into current world issues through the lens of this superhero/supervillain/and world's biggest douchebag. I'm excited to expand The Suicide Squad and bring this character from the DC film universe to the full breadth of a series. And of course, to be able to work again with John, Peter, and my friends at Warner Bros. is the icing on the cake."

The Suicide Squad is currently in theaters and streaming on HBO Max, while Peacemaker recently wrapped filming and is set for release on HBO Max in January 2022.