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The team behind HBO Max’s Peacemaker showed off new footage in a banter-filled panel Wednesday at the Television Critics Association press tour.
A trailer screened for press included Christopher “Peacemaker” Smith (John Cena) in the hospital following the events of The Suicide Squad. He explains to the orderly that he’s supposed to be in jail for “superhero shit,” and says he’s Peacemaker. The orderly laughs, insisting there’s no superhero named Peacemaker. There are also glimpses of Robert Patrick as Peacemaker’s disapproving father (it involves a bald eagle) and also some of the onscreen chemistry between Peacemaker and his handlers, including Jennifer Holland’s Squad character, Emilia Harcourt. “Just because you’re handsome doesn’t mean you’re not a piece of shit,” Harcourt tells Peacemaker at one point. His response? “You think I’m handsome?”
James Gunn, who wrote all eight episodes of Peacemaker, is directing multiple installments of the spinoff to The Suicide Squad. He noted that producer Peter Safran and DC Films president Walter Hamada came to him during the making of Squad to ask which character he’d like to tackle for a potential spinoff. He quickly settled on Peacemaker. Gunn said his lead character has a lot to learn — enough to last more than one season of television.
“At the end of The Suicide Squad, [Idris Elba’s] Bloodsport learns a lot. He’s a better person than he was at the beginning. A lot of the characters are much better than they were at the beginning, and Peacemaker has a lot to learn,” said Gunn. “It’s that ability to learn that for me makes him a little bit more likable. His blindspots in some places are pretty terrible, and in some places are him being ignorant. I think that’s an important distinction to make as well. He is open at the same time, sometimes.”
Peacemaker has a cast that also includes Danielle Brooks (Adebayo), Steve Agee (Economos), Freddie Stroma (Vigilante) and Chukwudi Iwuji (Murn). Cena developed such an affection for the character of Peacemaker that he has been known to appear on talk shows and at Hollywood events in costume. He said that like Squad, Peacemaker will feature the character in his underwear and dancing, something that has become a Gunn staple.
“One: He’s obsessed with my tighty whities, and two: He likes to see me dancing around,” Cena said of what he’s learned from working with Gunn.
Gunn previously opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about Peacemaker.
“There are a lot of similarities to The Suicide Squad in that it’s no holds barred, but there are also a lot of things that are very different, in that it’s quieter in some ways,” Gunn said in August. “It’s very specifically about a different group of people, so it’s a little bit more about society.”
Gunn is gearing up to film Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and likely has more DC in his future down the road, with both him and DC Films’ Hamada acknowledging they are talking about doing more.
Peacemaker is slated to hit HBO Max in January.
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