The Idea For Peacemaker's White Dragon Began On The Set Of The Suicide Squad

If you've checked out the first three episodes of the HBO Max series "Peacemaker," then you know that Peacemaker's dad Auggie (Robert Patrick) is a real jerk. His behavior makes Peacemaker (John Cena) look like a really good guy by comparison, which is part of the reason Peacemaker is so screwed up in the first place. 

In a press junket attended by /Film, series creator James Gunn explained that he first started exploring the character with Cena on the set of "The Suicide Squad." Fatherhood and its impacts were major themes in "The Suicide Squad," and the HBO Max series is set to take those to extremes. 

One Bad Dad

Peacemaker (real name Christopher Smith) has some pretty serious daddy issues. That's really not a surprise, given that his father is the hateful white supremacist supervillain known as the White Dragon. In "The Suicide Squad," there's a scene where Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior), and Peacemaker all have a chat about dads. It turns out that both Bloodsport and Peacemaker have truly awful fathers, and that small moment led into Gunn developing the character of Auggie:

"John and I talked about it on [The Suicide Squad] set. We talked about who his dad was now. At that point, I didn't know he was the White Dragon, but I knew the basics of who the character was. There's two different characters from the comics [that form the character]. There's Peacemaker's actual father in the comics, [Wolfgang Schmidt], which is the old Nazi from World War II. Then there's the White Dragon character, who's a separate character. I just melded those two characters to create a truly awful supervillain with very little chance of redemption."

The "Peacemaker" version of the White Dragon is the combination of two characters: Peacemaker's comic book dad, Paul, and William Heller, the original costumed White Dragon. The character was created by John Ostrander and Luke McDonnell, first appearing in "Suicide Squad" #4 in 1987. Two other characters, Daniel Ducannon and Chop-Chop, also donned the White Dragon alias and "Iron Man" inspired armor. Gunn explained that it was important to differentiate between the awfulness of someone like Peacemaker, who's a bad guy but has empathy, and someone like his dad:

"We come into this knowing that Peacemaker's kind of bad guy, and then we see who his father is and we go, well, you know, generationally, he's a step up, certainly a better person than his father is and maybe gives us a little bit of a little bit more understanding for who he is. In [The Suicide Squad] scene with Bloodsport, you see John nod and smile as he's talking about his own dad and what his dad did. And you see him getting along, empathizing with Bloodsport in that moment."

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