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John Cena Explains Why The Peacemaker From The Suicide Squad Will Be Different In His New HBO Max Series

The following story is going to contain some spoilers for James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, as well as the upcoming HBO Max series Peacemaker. If you haven’t seen Gunn’s movie, you might want to back out now. 

The version of Peacemaker that we meet in the upcoming HBO Max differs greatly from the one we met in the ensemble feature The Suicide Squad. John Cena brings deeps emotional levels to the complicated killer, peeling back unexpected layers to the DC comics villain who has trust issues, daddy issues, a more complex moral code than we might have imagined, but still that staggering amount of self-confidence leading to a crippling state of delusion

Oh, and he’s still alive… as we saw in the mid-credits scene of The Suicide Squad. James Gunn’s Peacemaker isn’t a prequel. It continues the story of this off-kilter anti-hero, setting him on a dangerous new mission that has him confronting numerous emotional and psychological damages he’s probably hiding from as he kills people in the name of peace. And in speaking with John Cena about the significant changes brought to the character of Peacemaker in the new program, the actor explains that all of this was there under the surface of The Suicide Squad. They just needed more time to be able to flesh it out. 

John Cena tells CinemaBlend:

If you look at The Suicide Squad, and you specifically focus on Peacemaker, you see moments of him contemplating his core values. You see his human behavior. He buys a rat a drink. He kills someone he admires, and it shakes his very foundation. And he’s certainly willing to eliminate Ratcatcher 2 at any and all costs, strictly because of the concept that he’s thorough. This is all information that is out there in the movie that we know already. But it also… it does shed light that there may be some contradictions in terms.

Those contradictions are able to be explored when your TV series has eight episodes, each one running just short of an hour, and you are the main focus instead of just being part of a larger ensemble. John Cena’s Peacemaker is able to probe deeper territories because he’s living under James Gunn’s proverbial microscope for a longer period of time. And while it’s still incredibly funny, Cena wants to emphasize that these changes made to the character probably were in him the entire time. He says:

I don’t think that it’s a 180 (degree turn) in Peacemaker. I just think it’s just the time to dive into, ‘What does he think when he’s not in (the) process of saving the world on a mission? What does he think when the lights go out? What does he think when there’s no one around?’ I think we get a lot of time to explore that.

The answers that John Cena finds is a big part of the reason why James Gunn’s Peacemaker is somehow exactly what I expected from the mind of the man  who made Super, Slither and The Suicide Squad, but also not what I was expecting from this series at all. Find out for yourself when the first few Peacemaker episodes land on HBO Max beginning on January 13.  

Managing Director at CinemaBlend. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.