John Cena as Peacemaker in 'Peacemaker'.
(Warner Bros. Discovery)

HBO Max Gives Us a First Look at the John Cena Peacemaker Series

John Cena gets trolled by his own team.

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SPOILER ALERT: This post discusses the ending of The Suicide Squad.

HBO Max dropped the first clip from their upcoming Peacemaker series, with John Cena reprising the role he played in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. And much like that film, this brief clip shows that Peacemaker remains a punchline to his co-workers. After all, we would expect nothing less from a man clad in tight white pants and a vaguely phallic helmet.

The scene finds Peacemaker meeting up with his team, comprised of former Belle Reve penitentiary warden John Economos (Steve Agee, who was also the on set stand-in for King Shark), Leota Adebayo (Orange Is the New Black‘s Danielle Brooks), NSA agent Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland, reprising her role from the film), and Clemson Murn (Designated Survivor‘s Chukwudi Iwuji).

The end credits scene of The Suicide Squad saw Christopher Smith/Peacemaker having survived Bloodsport’s gunshot. Meanwhile, Amanda Waller’s (Viola Davis) employees Economos and Harcourt have been relegated to Peacemaker’s care after knocking Waller out and ignoring her orders.

Agee mutters, “Did this dipsh-t really show up in full cosplay mode?” as Peacemaker makes his way to the restaurant, with his trusty pet bald eagle aka Eagly in the backseat. Agee mocks his “uniform” of bright red shirt and white pants, while Cena ignores his jibes.

Peacemaker is an 8 episode limited series written and directed (mostly) by James Gunn, which is set to premiere in January 2022. It will be the first DC Extended Universe TV series for HBO Max, which has several out-of-universe series on its platform. Gunn had previously said that he was inspired to make the series by a certain Marvel relic from the 1970s. “I loved the 1970s Captain America [TV movie] when I was a kid,” said Gunn, “I thought making a really f—ed-up version of that with Peacemaker would be fun.”

Originally, Gunn had planned for Peacemaker to stay dead, and had previously expressed his annoyance with resurrection tropes. “I did exactly the thing I hate when other filmmakers do [it],” said Gunn. “But I did it! I’ll have to live with the repercussions, which is the most incredible TV show people will ever see.”

Little is known about the plot of the series, which Gunn described as “black ops combating something catastrophic that’s facing the planet.” Could it be more Starros? Or something entirely new we haven’t before? Other additions to the cast include Robert Patrick (forever T-1000) as Auggie Smith, Peacemaker’s father. He’s joined by Freddie Stroma as Adrian Chase/Vigilante, a district attorney and crimefighter who can quickly heal from injuries.

Obviously there’s a lot to be excited about with the Peacemaker series, chief among them being Cena’s hilarious deadpan performance as the ultra-patriotic mercenary. While he stole every scene in The Suicide Squad, I’m excited to see Cena headline his own series. We’ll likely hear more about Peacemaker at DC’s FanDome event on October 16.

(image: Warner Bros.)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.