A Hilarious Peacemaker Episode 5 Scene Was Improvised By John Cena

"Peacemaker" isn't your average superhero show. It's not even really a superhero show, just a series about a bunch of misfits who happen to live in a world where superheroes and villains are completely real. The series from filmmaker James Gunn is also wickedly funny, with lots of improvised dialogue between the members of Project Butterfly. Gunn's work has always given the actors a bit of room to goof around, and "Peacemaker" is no different. In fact, one of the series' funniest sequences was entirely improvised by star John Cena on the spot. In an interview with ScreenRant, co-star Steve Agee, who plays tech guy John Economos, shared the details of that hilarious day on set. 

Minor spoilers for "Peacemaker" episode 5 ahead. 

A Who's-Who of Pop Culture, Ripe for Framing

In "Peacemaker" episode 5, Peacemaker (Cena) is furious with Economos for framing his dad Auggie (Robert Patrick) for a murder Peacemaker committed. (It was really self-defense, but that's a whole other thing.) He starts berating Economos, listing all of the people that he could have chosen to frame instead. Among them? Ariana Grande, Drake, Brad Pitt, Doug the Pug, the red tiger from Voltron, Joe Montana, Eddie Murphy, BTS, Eugene Levy, Danny DeVito, Alice Cooper, Bill Cosby, Optimus Prime, Cobra Commander, and the "f***ing c***s from 'Riverdale.'" The rant is impressive, and apparently completely improvised. Agee elaborated:

"I think in the original script, he's mad at me for framing his father – rightfully so, that was stupid – but in the script, it was just like, 'Why couldn't you have framed somebody like Ariana Grande?' And there was one other name, like Tom Hanks or something, and I was like, 'You want me to frame Ariana Grande for murder? Are you insane?' But James was like, 'Just keep going. Start naming names. Just name people.' I mean, we shot it for like 20 minutes of John just shouting random names – sports figures, celebrities, singers, politicians – and I would start to say something and he's just like, 'Let me finish!' He just kept going and it was phenomenal. I haven't seen the end credits scene yet, but I think there's more of it in the end credits, seeing him just spouting names."

The episode's post-credits sequence is in fact more of Cena going off the deep end naming names, and it's fantastic. Cena's comedic chops are really shining through, and it's a blast getting to see him go all-out with improvisation. His delivery of the line, "Who knows why mad men do what they do," in "The Suicide Squad" was my first inkling of his talents, but "Peacemaker" has allowed him to really up the ante. 

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