Peacemaker has a lot to learn — but luckily for fans of the problematically heroic “douche” and “[a–]hole” (as The Suicide Squad‘s James Gunn himself has put it), he won’t smooth out too many of those rough edges in just one season of TV.
Set for a January 2022 premiere, HBO Max’s Peacemaker is described as an action-comedy that explores the origins of John Cena’s “toilet seat”-wearing character, “a man who believes in peace at any cost — no matter how many people he has to kill to get it.” Gunn wrote all eight episodes and directed several (including the first), and exec-produced alongside TSS producer Peter Safran. Cena has a co-EP title.
Jennifer Holland and Steve Agee reprise their The Suicide Squad roles as ARGUS agent Emilia Harcourt and ARGUS aide John Economos, while the cast also includes Chukwudi Iwuji (Designated Survivor) as Amanda Waller’s No. 1, Clemson Murn; Danielle Brooks (Orange Is the New Black) as new ARGUS recruit Leota Adebayo; Robert Patrick (Scorpion) as Peacemaker aka Chris Smith’s dad, Auggie; Freddie Stroma (UnREAL) as Vigilante aka Adrian Chase; and Nhut Le (Kroll Show) as Judomaster.
As teased in The Suicide Squad‘s second bonus scene, Peacemaker is now needed by ARGUS to no less than “save the f–king world” — and along the way, evidenced by the series premiere alone, he will utter any number of politically incorrect or borderline atrocious things to friends, enemies and waitresses alike.
“In terms of lines that won’t be crossed,” Safran told TVLine at the show’s TCA press tour panel, “I think that when you’re working with James Gunn as a creator and the guy who wrote all eight episodes, it’s pretty hard to find a line that he won’t cross.
“I know there is one,” Safran added/suggested, “but we didn’t discover it in the shooting of these eight episodes.”
Gunn himself was asked at TCA about the challenge in making what a reporter called a “jingoist, racist American hero” into anyone to root for.
“Peacemaker has a lot of issues,” Gunn acknowledged, “and I don’t sit down and say, ‘Well, I’ve got to make this character likable.’ I just sit down and try to make a character as fully fleshed as possible.
“One of the things though that made me want to tell the story of Peacemaker is that he has a lot to learn…. a lot to learn,” Gunn added. “And it wouldn’t take just one season of TV for him to learn that. But it is that ability to learn that he does have that for me makes him a little bit more likable. His blindspots in some places are pretty terrible, and in some places they’re just him being ignorant. And I think that’s an important distinction to make.”