Peacemaker Is An Unconventional Love Story Between Two Characters

Believe it or not, writer and director James Gunn is kind of a sucker for love stories. Sure, his love stories involve alien tentacle monsters and murder, and they're not always romantic, but they're love stories nonetheless. Whether it's the twisted love triangle of "Slither," the loss of love driving a man to murder in "Super," or the parent-child bonds of "The Suicide Squad," Gunn is a twisted genius when it comes to understanding what tugs at our heartstrings. In the new series "Peacemaker," which takes place after the events of "The Suicide Squad," we're introduced to yet another unconventional love story, and this one could change Peacemaker (John Cena) forever. 

Minor spoilers for "Peacemaker" episodes 1-3 follow.

An Unlikely Duo

At a press junket for the series, Gunn explained that the show's central love story is between Peacemaker and his new teammate, Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks). The two are forced to work together as part of Project Butterfly, under the orders of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). Adebayo and Peacemaker, real name Christopher Smith, are about as different as two people can get. Smith is a straight-ish white guy who's a violent murderer with a bad habit of saying the worst possible thing at any moment. Adebayo is a married lesbian with a family of small dogs who has never killed anyone. They come from two completely different worlds, and yet they each see something in one another that no one else sees. By showing each other kindness, they realize that there's more to both of them than meets the eye. 

Peacemaker doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would have friends, especially in "The Suicide Squad," where he's a brash, abrasive jerk. Somehow, the series posits that not only does he need friends, he deserves them, and can become a better man because of them. Gunn explains:

"In the very first episode, we see Leota talking about how Peacemaker is sad, and that is the thing that she sees in him that the other characters don't see. In the scene right after this one, two scenes after this one, we see the two of them talking for the first time, and she's the first person to be nice to him and the first person to laugh with him instead of just at him, not only in this show, but in 'The Suicide Squad' as well. So I think it's more about, if there's anything, I think it's seeing what a relationship could be like from people who disagree adamantly about all sorts of things. The way to maybe initiate change is not by screaming at each other, which only further radicalizes people."

Gunn's spent enough time on Twitter to learn a thing or two about folks screaming at one another, so he's probably onto something here. While Adebayo and Smith don't always see eye-to-eye, they learn from one another and grow by showing each other empathy. Sometimes the only way to understand is to listen without judgment, even if you're listening to a murder himbo in a toilet bowl helmet. 

New episodes of "Peacemaker" debut Thursdays on HBO Max.