Of all the insults and (sometimes very) sordid gossip that Peacemaker directs at fellow superheroes in his eponymous HBO Max series, it is a dig at the Dark Knight that most raised hackles over at DC.
In the fourth episode of the Suicide Squad offshoot (streaming Thursday, Jan. 20), Peacemaker (played by John Cena) again trades barbs with his father’s next door neighbor (Mel Tuck), who claims that Peacemaker ain’t no hero if he kills people — unlike Batman.
Peacemaker stops in his tracks, spins around and snaps, contending that Batman never crosses that line because “he’s a p—y! ” He then launches into a detailed argument to support that POV.
Series creator James Gunn told The Hollywood Reporter‘s always-excellent TV’s Top 5 podcast this week that putting Batman on blast like that almost didn’t fly at DC.
“I was very surprised, because they were not too fond of Peacemaker calling Batman a p—y,” Gunn shared. “I’m like, ‘But he talks about all these other terrible things about all these other superheroes that are much worse than calling Batman a p—y.’ Not only that, Batman is the only one he makes a fair point about; everybody else he’s really just believing stuff that he read on the Internet. Everything that he believes is kind of nonsense, and Batman is the only one has has a point of view on that makes any sense whatsoever.”
In the end, the DC overlords “were great,” Gunn said. “They let me get away with what I got away with at the end of the day.”
As for why DC took issue with a dig at Batman’s masculinity and not the alleged and very specific fetishes Peacemaker assigns to Aquaman and Superman, “I don’t know. You’d have to ask them,” Gunn said with a chuckle. “I don’t know why him calling Batman a p—y is potentially more offensive than him saying Superman [has a poop fetish]. I don’t understand why one was brought up and one wasn’t.”
HBO Max, meanwhile, expressed “some concerns” about Peacemaker’s father being a white supremacist. (“That was a delicate situation,” Gunn said.) “The only other thing that HBO Max ever said to me at all was, ‘We’re HBO and you guys are saying the F-word so many times.’
“It was scripted a lot,” Gunn noted, “but Steve Agee (who plays Economos) tends to put the word in a bunch of extra times, and it got over the top at times.”
And as for the violence and the sex? “There was one moment they were afraid of us showing that comes in Episode 6 that I pretty much insisted on keeping,” Gunn teased.