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Peacemaker: 4 Things To Remember About The Character Ahead Of The HBO Max Series

John Cena in Peacemaker
(Image credit: HBO Max)

You could not really count all the standouts from writer and director James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad cast on one hand. Each character had a memorable and serviceable role, no matter how long they may have survived the chaos. However, it is pretty much impossible to deny the scene-stealing power of Peacemaker, who made his DC movies debut (and screen debut in anything outside of the 2013 children’s video game, Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure) in the 2021 blockbuster.

I would actually go as far to say that pro wrestler turned actor John Cena gave one of the best performances (if not the best) of his career to date as the conceited, sarcastic Task Force X member, which is why I am looking forward to seeing his continuing adventures in his own self-titled spin-off when it becomes available to stream in January 2022. Before we do get see Peacemaker on HBO Max, it would not hurt to do a little recap on what we already know about the anti-hero from The Suicide Squad. We shall start with the basics. 

Idris Elba and John Cena in The Suicide Squad

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Peacemaker Is A Highly-Skilled, Extremely Deadly Vigilante

Originally created for Charlton Comics by writer Joe Gill and illustrator Pat Boyette in the mid-1960s before DC Comics acquired the character in the late 1980s, Peacemaker is the alter ego of Christopher Smith. Among the various incarnations of the character from the comics, the silver-helmeted, gun-toting vigilante was the one James Gunn selected for his cinematic version of Task Force X and portrayed by John Cena in The Suicide Squad. Thus, he is the one who is officially canon to the DC Extended Universe.

As Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller explains in the film (with many of the same words used to describe Idris Elba’s character, Robert “Bloodsport” DuBois) and as seen from his stealthy attacks and brutal fighting style, Peacemaker is an expert assassin. After enduring rigorous, lifelong training from his ex-soldier father, Auggie Smith (played by Robert Patrick in the Peacemaker series), he can make a deadly weapon out of practically anything you throw at him. Of course, he is normally armed with a titanium sword, a pair of tomahawks, a blowgun equipped with poison darts, and his trusty Desert Eagle, which apparently takes unusually small bullets.  

John Cena in The Suicide Squad

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Peacemaker Has A Pretty Misguided Morality Complex

To more casual superhero movies fan, it might have sounded odd to hear that a character named “Peacemaker” would be among the “bad guys forced into doing good” in The Suicide Squad. That was, of course, until audiences saw the movie and learned that Christopher Smith is not only an arrogant, self-righteous jerk, but that his methods for obsessively maintaining universal harmony are far from harmonious. When Daniela Melchior’s character, Cleo Cazo - who inherited the Ratcatcher moniker from her late father (Taika Waititi) - asks Christopher Smith to clarify his alias, he replies, “I cherish peace with all of my heart. I don't care how many men, women and children I kill to get it.”

Peacemaker’s personal life goal and philosophical approach to it is both hilariously ironic and deeply disturbing, but it was clearly a joyful noise to Amanda Waller. After Christopher Smith’s self-motivated mission for “liberty” (or, in other words, countless acts of murder) eventually got him captured by ARGUS and sentenced to Belle Reve, ARGUS director Waller recruited him onto Task Force X. However, the shady, ruthless bureaucrat had an ulterior motive for enlisting Peacemaker that she only shared with him, putting the rest of the crew (and, potentially, the world) in danger.

Joel Kinnaman and John Cena in The Suicide Squad

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Peacemaker Killed Rick Flag In Corto Maltese

In The Suicide Squad, the new Task Force X (also including David Dastmalchian’s Polka-Dot Man and Sylvester Stallone voicing King Shark) are assigned to kidnap mad scientist Gaius “The Thinker” Grieves (Peter Capaldi), use him to break into Corto Maltese’s former Nazi prison, Jotunheim, and destroy any evidence of the top secret Project Starfish. However, when leader, Col. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), learns it is really research of an unstoppable alien called Starro that is funded by the U.S. government, he conspires to expose the evidence to the public, partially out of spite for Amanda Waller’s manipulative ways. Little does he know that she still has him in her grasp, courtesy of Peacemaker.

Waller had personally tasked Christopher Smith with making sure the evidence of Starro would never see the light of day by any means necessary, even if it meant that he had to do what he does best: kill. Thus, after Peacemaker reveals his secret, he and Flag engage in a brutal brawl for control over the evidence that, unfortunately, Flag does not survive after suffering a direct stab into the heart with a piece of debris leftover from an earlier explosion. The only witness to Flag’s murder is Ratcatcher II, who then steals the Project Starfish data and runs from Peacemaker until he eventually catches up with her, but is stopped by Bloodsport.

John Cena as comatose Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Bloodsport Put Peacemaker Into A Coma

Bloodsport and Peacemaker maintained a somewhat professional rapport as Task Force X members despite their personal issues, but after seeing the fellow assassin threatening to kill Ratcatcher II and learning he had just killed one of the few people he was willing to call a friend, the gloves came off. Taking a cue from his rival, Robert DuBois shoots Christopher Smith with a bullet small enough to pass through his round, which hits him in the neck, much to his bewilderment. Bleeding out, the traitor finally falls to the ground and is officially assumed to be dead by the surviving Suicide Squad members as what is left of Jotunheim collapses on top of him.

However, in the Suicide Squad end credits scene, ARGUS agents John Economos (Steve Agee, who also performed mo-cap for King Shark) and Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) find a comatose Peacemaker at the Mouth Rouge Hospital, where they are assured that a little surgery will “get him back to speed.” Economos and Harcourt feel that Amanda Waller is only teaming them with the “douchebag” to get at them for helping Task Force X save Corto Maltese from Starro. Yet, as Harcourt begrudgingly admits, they need him “save the fucking world.”

What will Peacemaker be tasked with saving the world from this time? Will he be able to get along his teammates better? And, is it possible that he could realize the error of his ways and become less of a self-centered, homicidal maniac? You will have to find out when Peacemaker premieres on HBO Max on Thursday, January 13, 2022.

Jason Wiese

Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.