James Gunn Explains How The Suicide Squad Spin-Off Can Redeem Peacemaker

John Cena's Peacemaker was easily one of the biggest pleasant surprises in "The Suicide Squad," at least for those of us who knew nothing about the character previously. The team of villains and antiheroes looking for redemption needed to be balanced out with at least one genuine bad guy, which was a role that Peacemaker went above and beyond to fill. 

It was always a fascinating choice on director James Gunn's part to pick this specific character to lead his own spin-off series on HBO Max — long before the rest of the world had even seen Peacemaker in action! — but in this case, hindsight has certainly provided validation. With "The Suicide Squad" behind us and the "Peacemaker" series ahead, Gunn is divulging more tidbits and teases for fans eager to see more of the paradoxically peace-loving, uber-violent antihero after his close brush with death at the end of the film.

Room For Growth

You may have heard that we enjoy John Cena 'round these parts, so we're definitely hanging on every word James Gunn has to say about his currently in-production "Peacemaker" series. While making the rounds at the Television Critics Association, THR reports that Gunn dug a little deeper into just how much room for growth a character like Peacemaker has that the show can further explore:

"At the end of The Suicide Squad, [Idris Elba's] Bloodsport learns a lot. He's a better person than he was at the beginning. A lot of the characters are much better than they were at the beginning, and Peacemaker has a lot to learn. It's that ability to learn that for me makes him a little bit more likable. His blind spots in some places are pretty terrible, and in some places are him being ignorant. I think that's an important distinction to make as well. He is open at the same time, sometimes."

If there's one thing Gunn has proven adept at during his recent streak of superhero movies, it's his ability to give flawed, broken, and even unlikable characters well-rounded arcs in their own right. This can manifest as something poignant, such as Elba's Bloodsport finally making his daughter proud of him or Daniela Melchior's scene-stealing Ratcatcher 2 coming to terms with her father ... or it can be Cena's Peacemaker descending deeper into outright villainy. 

For a character who spends a surprising amount of time in "The Suicide Squad" in his underwear, the otherwise dark layers that Gunn makes sure to include are impressive! In fact, Cena references that hilarious moment from the film when answering what he's learned about Gunn while filming "Peacemaker." As the actor puts it, "One: He's obsessed with my tighty-whities, and two: He likes to see me dancing around."

John Cena and his tighty-whities will return in "Peacemaker," debuting on HBO Max in January 2022.