John Cena will lead the first DC Extended Universe streaming television series as the title character in Peacemaker on HBO Max, and fans now have their first look at the series. Empire magazine released an image of Cena on set and in costume while working on the show. Cena will debut as Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad, directed by James Gunn. Gunn is also running Peacemaker and directed five episodes of the eight-episode series, which received a straight-to-series order from HBO Max in September 2020. He spoke to Empire about why the character lends himself to an extended story in the television format.
“Peacemaker has a clear set of ideals that I find really interesting,” Gunn says. “You know: ‘I want peace no matter how many men, women and children I need to kill to get it.’ Sounds like nonsense, but it also makes a lot of sense. And you see in John’s performance how he does not feel good about it – something I thought was the seed of an entire eight-episode show.”
Peacemaker is also a regular guy — relatively speaking — who has to reckon with living in a universe of superheroes. “He lives in the world of Superman, Batman and Aquaman, and that is not an easy thing for him to contend with,” Gunn says.
Gunn also describes the series as involving “a big science-fiction story” tie into relevant themes. “He represents a part of the world populace that is problematic to say the least,” says Gunn, “and puts him in a situation where he has to face the choices he’s made throughout his life and the extremity of his views.”
When HBO Max announced the series, Gunn said in a statement, “Peacemaker is an opportunity to delve into current world issues through the lens of this superhero/supervillain/and world’s biggest douchebag. I’m excited to expand The Suicide Squad and bring this character from the DC film universe to the full breadth of a series. And of course, to be able to work again with John, Peter, and my friends at Warner Bros. is the icing on the cake.”
Cena said, “I have said before that it has been a tremendous honor and an incredible opportunity to be part of The Suicide Squad and to work with James on what is going to be a fantastic movie. I am unbelievably excited to have the chance to team up with him again for Peacemaker. We can’t wait for fans to see this.”
“James Gunn has the unique ability to create an expansive universe while also bringing to life the soul and wit of each character. We look forward to a deep dive into the world of Peacemaker,” added Casey Bloys, Chief Content Officer for HBO and HBO Max.