Peacemaker Trailer Breakdown: A Sadistic Superhero Seeks Self-Improvement

When we last saw Christopher Smith, aka Peacemaker (John Cena), he was in a hospital bed surrounded by armed guards after the events of "The Suicide Squad." Now he's back in action for the HBO Max series "Peacemaker," dreamed up by writer/director James Gunn during the pandemic lockdown of 2020. The official trailer for this bad boy dropped today, and there are loads of fun hints about where this wild ride might go. Let's take a look at this shotgun blast of a trailer and see what we can piece together. 

Peacemaker's Popularity?

"Have you ever heard of a guy named Peacemaker?" 

The opening clip features two detectives, Larry Fitzgibbon (Lochlyn Munro) and Sophie Song (Annie Chang), and Annie asks Larry if he's ever heard of Peacemaker. When Fitzgibbon says no, Song must explain that they're having a real problem with our toilet-helmeted hero. She describes him as a trained killer and a maniac, and then we see Fitzgibbon and Song chase Peacemaker through an apartment before he runs out into the street and they shoot after him. While Peacemaker is working for the government, apparently it's undercover enough that other law enforcement agencies don't know. 

All the Accoutrements

In the brief moment where Song is describing Peacemaker to Fitzgibbon, we see a flash of Peacemaker from behind, holding his helmet in his hand. The shot gives us a look at the helmet, his massive holstered gun, and an absolutely gorgeous car that I hope is his. There's footage of him driving that stunning muscle car in one of the teaser trailers, so at least we know he'll get to enjoy being behind the wheel. 

You Can't House Train an Eagle

After narrowly escaping Fitzgibbon and Song, Peacemaker and Eagly dive into handler Emilia Harcourt's (Jennifer Holland) getaway car, driven by task force team member Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks). Harcourt tells Peacemaker that Eagly better not go to the bathroom in her backseat, but Peacemaker informs her that it's impossible to house train an eagle without "stealing its soul." A cursory Google search indicates that you can house train certain pet birds, but maybe Peacemaker doesn't see Eagly as a pet. Or, maybe, Peacemaker doesn't like the idea of "taming" a wild animal to that degree, especially one that represents the country he loves so dearly. Either way, it's not like you can put a diaper on an eagle, so Harcourt is going to just have to deal. 

A Host of Daddy Issues

The next brief clip shows Peacemaker going to his dad's house, which looks like it's flying the American flag upside down. Given Peacemaker's patriotism, that's not a great indicator for how he and his dad might get along. When he confesses that he's been having a hard time to his father, played by Mr. T-1000, Robert Patrick, his dad just brushes him off. Worse, when he tells his father about getting shot and having a building fall on him (which happened at the end of "The Suicide Squad"), his dad manages to find a way to blame his son for getting shot. "It's not like I invited him to come shoot me, dad," poor Peacemaker says, exasperated, before his father calls him pathetic. While we knew that Peacemaker had some issues with his father from bits of dialogue in "The Suicide Squad," the extent of those issues is becoming more clear. Poor Peacemaker just wants a bit of parental love, and all he gets in return is derision. 

Chez Peacemaker

We get a quick glimpse of the outside of Peacemaker's home, an American-flag decorated pre-fab home with a cute little porch. The trailer park he's in doesn't look particularly well-kept, making the shot kind of a bummer. After going out and killing baddies for the government, he has to return home to a ramshackle roost and wait for his next assignment. That's gotta be hard on the old ego. 

Peacemaker's New Pal, Vigilante

Thankfully, Peacemaker isn't completely alone. He has a new crew, and a new sidekick/comrade-in-arms, Vigilante (Freddie Stroma). They have a quick conversation about Peacemaker no longer being in prison for life, with Peacemaker explaining that he works for the government now. Vigilante, ever the quick thinker, assumes that Peacemaker is now a mailman, which leads to a fun bit of back and forth. The clip gives us a good idea about the relationship between Peacemaker and Vigilante, which seems much less antagonistic than his relationships with any of the members of the Suicide Squad. 

The Crew

The new gang assembles, and they're one scruffy-looking bunch. Steve Agee reprises his role as John Economos, one of Amanda Waller's (Viola Davis) underlings working for the government. He and Harcourt serve as handlers, while it appears Adebayo is a new addition and serves in a trainee capacity. Peacemaker and Vigilante are the resident guys in costumes, and then there's Chukwudi Iwuji as Clemson Murn, who looks to be the one in charge of handing out orders to the group. I'm looking forward to seeing how the dynamic forms within this crew, and what kind of camaraderie they manage to develop despite having some very strong personalities. We also learn that this task force "doesn't officially exist," so they're completely on their own if something goes wrong. That explains why the cops are after Peacemaker, and it sets up a whole new set of problems for the team to deal with. 

Murn explains that the crew's targets are called "butterflies," and that they're extremely dangerous to the general population. We get a quick glimpse of some very agile people attacking Peacemaker, and can only assume that they are some of the "butterflies" Murn describes. 

Two Birdbrains

All of the secrecy makes Peacemaker think something weird's going on, and he confronts Murn about it, declaring that "you just think Vigilante and me are too stupid to notice." Vigilante then asks the crew to determine which is the real bird, himself or Eagly, and he preens like a giant bird. Peacemaker is forced to concede that Murn is only half-right, because Vigilante is clearly very stupid. Then again, Peacemaker turns right around and comments that at least with 50% he would get a "D" in school, prompting everyone to correct him. Maybe thinking isn't either of their strong suits after all. 

America's Tighty Whiteys

One thing Peacemaker is good at is looking great in his tighty whiteys. Footage of Peacemaker dancing around his place in his undies appeared in one of the teaser trailers, but now it looks like he might do some battle in them as well. There's a brief moment with Peacemaker in his helmet, underoos, and boots, looking a little worse for the wear. Eagly still looks great, though.

The voice-over for this section is Harcourt and Adebayo talking about Peacemaker. Harcourt derisively calls him a clown, but Adebayo sees more: "There's something about him that's... sad." Few people have tried to see past Peacemaker's abrasive exterior, but it seems like Adebayo might be willing to give it a shot. Maybe she can help Peacemaker work on his rough edges while he helps her learn how to take out bad guys. 

Some Lines Can't Be Crossed

In our first glimpse of Peacemaker and Harcourt on a mission together, the two are set up to assassinate some people outside of a mansion via sniper rifle. Murn orders him to take the shot, but there are children there. Peacemaker asks if he is supposed to kill the kids as well, and Murn confirms. Despite the fact that Peacemaker has said more than once that he'll do anything in the name of peace, it's clear that this is one line he doesn't feel comfortable crossing. Is Peacemaker growing softer from his experiences, or was he just not as hardened as he always claimed? 

"Right now the world needs a son of a b****."

Peacemaker confronts Murn about ordering him to shoot children without explaining why, and Murn isn't having it. He tells Peacemaker that "the world right now needs a son of a b****," and Peacemaker is that very S.O.B. Harcourt confronts Peacemaker about his desire to achieve peace through any means, challenging his statements about being willing to "kill men, women, and children" to get it. It looks like the major conflict of the series will be Peacemaker's desire to find his humanity getting in the way of him being the soulless killing machine his job requires. 

Lawn Gnomes and Existential Angst

Peacemaker's internal struggle is on full display in the trailer as he gazes into the distance from his porch, kept company only by a couple of joyous looking lawn gnomes. Poor Peacemaker is having a bit of an existential crisis, but that's probably a good thing given how ridiculously immoral he was in "The Suicide Squad." Maybe having to kill your hero and then nearly dying really changes a man.

An Awkward Father-Son Chat

Something happens to land Peacemaker's pop behind bars, and there's a brief scene of our justice-driven lad having a visiting room chat with dear old dad. He tries to explain his desire to change and surprise people with a rather colorful turn of phrase, causing his father to berate him for comparing himself to a very small penis. Peacemaker confesses that he's having feelings about things, which pops is also not impressed with. Outside, Adebayo tells Peacemaker that his dad is not a good man, but Peacemaker refuses to leave him behind regardless, citing that "he's still family." Peacemaker won't only have to fight his inner demons to be a better person, but he'll have to fight the government trying to control him and his father as well. It's going to be a long, hard road for him to grow. 


Here's our first real look at Judomaster, a DC Comics superhero who hasn't yet made it to the screen. He's played by Nhut Le, and it looks like he's going to give Peacemaker a real run for his money. Peacemaker is a big, beefy guy who's strong and capable, but Judomaster looks crazy fast, so their face-off could be a superhero battle for the ages. 

Space Stingrays?

In one very brief shot, we see someone standing outside at night, looking up at a whole flock of flying disc creatures. They look like alien stingrays, and I have to wonder if they're not some version of the "butterflies." Gunn likes writing stories about alien mind control, which he did for both "Slither" and "The Suicide Squad," so it's possible that they take over human minds or can shapeshift. There's definitely some visual similarity to Starro's many babies, though these discs are sleeker-looking and aren't neon pink. 

A Date Gone Terribly Wrong, Maybe

Oh hey, that's how Peacemaker got all beat up in his undies. A brief clip shows Peacemaker in his briefs, getting knocked around by a blonde woman who looks like she got lost on the way home from Jazzercise. She's in her undies as well, however, which means this might have started a little less violently before things went horribly wrong. Whatever the case, Peacemaker bails and jumps out of the window. That's one way to get out of a bad blind date.

A Bloody Toast

One thing I'm most excited about the series exploring is the relationship between Adebayo and Peacemaker, because they are so wildly different but clearly somehow care about one another. Their dynamic should be an interesting one, to say the least. We get a sweet moment of the two of them sharing a toast after surviving some kind of bloody madness, with Peacemaker's shirt soaked with the red stuff. Adebayo seems a little disturbed by how casual he is with all of the gore still on him, and I can't blame her. 

Cena has a vivid on-screen presence that can be hard to match in intensity, but Brooks seems to be up to the task. She was brilliant as Taystee on "Orange is the New Black," and she has both the comedic and dramatic chops to hold her own. 

A Peacemaker Original Weapon

In a scene that likely takes place before the bloody toast above, Peacemaker takes a moment to try out his new weapon: a grenade strapped to a Russian tank shell. His reasoning? Because grenades only kill two or so people. When Adebayo asks how many people the grenade-shell can kill, he tells her he doesn't know because he just came up with the idea that morning. Peacemaker pretty much always flies by the seat of his pants, and it could get him into some serious trouble. 

An Explosive Ending

It turns out the tank shell/grenade hybrid has some major firepower, as it creates a massive explosion that sends the baddies flying and forces Peacemaker and Adebayo to leap to safety. It's a real blast of an ending that leaves you wanting more. 

Thankfully, there's some good news — "Peacemaker" will debut on HBO Max on January 13, 2021, with new episodes released weekly after that. That means the wait isn't too long, and before you know it, we'll have plenty of Peacemaker adorning our TV's.