James Gunn Says Peacemaker Isn't Straight, In Case All The Sex With Men Didn't Make That Clear

It's Valentine's Day and love is in the air, and for everyone's favorite toilet-bowl-helmet-wearing lunatic, that love could be from someone of any gender. In an interview with Empire magazine (hitting newsstands February 17, 2022), "Peacemaker" creator James Gunn and star John Cena explained that Peacemaker's sexuality was something that developed naturally while making "The Suicide Squad." As I guessed earlier this week in an article titled "Peacemaker is the Messy Bisexual Hero We All Need," Peacemaker is interested in sex with just about anyone as long as they're a consenting human adult, and his budding bisexuality likely had something to do with his father's hatred of him. As a result, he turned to the androgynous sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll world of hair metal, finding peace in the jams. 

"Nah, he's not straight"

In the interview, Gunn digs back into his idea that the central relationship of "Peacemaker" season 1 is Peacemaker's relationship with Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks). He explains that she's his opposite in almost every way, and that Cena brought something different to the role than he had initially imagined:

"She is his polar opposite in so many ways, politically. She's a Black, gay woman. He's a white, straight — nah, he's not straight [laughs] — white, whatever-he-is male. And yet they really like each other. They have a lot in common. [...] Peacemaker is an interesting character because he's so f*****-up in so many ways, and then in other ways, he is kind of weirdly forward-thinking. John does improv all the time, and he just turned Christopher Smith into this hyper-sexualized dude that is open to anything sexually. I was surprised by that. But I thought, 'I guess it makes sense that this guy isn't one-dimensional.'"

Cena shared that his perspective was that Peacemaker had been brought up a certain way, but later realized that he was more open-minded than he had been raised. His time in prison served as a "period of experimentation" that opened his mind to other experiences. "Also," Cena says, "I view him as willing to do anything." Well, almost anything. There's one very specific no-go for Peacemaker according to Gunn, and it's a reasonable one: 

"We see in the show that he doesn't have any issues with sexuality. As long as you're not f****** animals — that he's not into. But besides that, he's pretty open. And yet other things he's completely close-minded on."

Music as an Escape

"Peacemaker," at its core, is a redemption arc for Christopher Smith, aka Peacemaker. He's an unlovable jerk in "The Suicide Squad," but the events of that movie force him to change, and throughout the first season of "Peacemaker," we watch him grow into an empathetic adult. One thing that defines Smith is his love of hair metal and glam rock, which gives him an escape from the toxic masculinity of his upbringing. Gunn explains:

"I think the hair metal is actually kind of a beautiful thing about Peacemaker. It does have that cocky male swagger that he has, but hair metal is also a way he rebelled against his father. There're the androgynous aspects of it, and his dad probably called him all sorts of homophobic slurs because he was listening to it. But he owned it. It was his. Something that was outside the realm of his father. He loves that music and he's able to just escape into it and rock out and be okay. I think he's grateful to the music for that."

Peacemaker is defensive when Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) makes fun of the appearance of the band Poison, and this bit of background makes that moment make a lot more sense. His retort, "I believe their preferred pronoun is long live rock, and you are sounding awfully awesomephobic," is him defending his own sexuality as much as he's defending the band behind "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." 

One of the best things about Peacemaker's sexuality is that it's not shoehorned in or made explicit. Much like real life, his sexuality is just a part of who he is, and he expresses that in his own individual way. He truly is the bisexual hero we all need and deserve.