Let’s take a look at how they could spice up the next season of Peacemaker.
Like an internet meme, Jame’s Gunn’s Peacemaker has gotten into everyone’s head and it’s not likely to go away anytime soon. After the cinematic failure of 2016’s Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer, many believed the team would never return to the big screen and they had good reason to believe it. Then, in 2021, like a true DC Comics superhero, James Gunn, fresh off 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, swooped in to save the team by creating a standalone sequel with an entirely new team that endeared itself to casual and DC Comics fans alike in a way that 2016’s Suicide Squad tried and failed to do.
So successful was this standalone sequel that both Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Films greenlit an HBO Max original spin-off series starring John Cena’s character, Peacemaker. His simple yet oddly complex moral code, level-headed approach to deadly situations and total lack of any filter between his brain and his mouth made him one of the most instantly likeable and loathable characters as he toed the line between hero and villain. With the success of the first season of the Peacemaker spin-off show, it’s safe to say that Peacemaker was here to stay.
Although Peacemaker was introduced to the world in the pages of Fightin’ 5 #40 by writer Joe Gill and artist Pat Boyette in 1966, if you were to ask even some of DC Comics’ most diehard fans who Peacemaker was before 2021, the answer would most likely be, “Who?” Now, after 2021, if you were to ask the same question, the answer you’d probably get is, “Oh, you mean John Cena?” That’s a sign of true success and, with success, there will always be an inevitable demand for more.
Fortunately for new Peacemaker fans, there’s no longer a need to wonder if there will be more, as HBO confirmed on February 20, 2022 that a second season had been ordered with James Gunn returning to direct. However, with the way the first season ended, one has to wonder what might be next for the flamboyant vigilante in a goofy-looking silver helmet. But, as James Gunn proved in Suicide Squad and 2021’s Peacemaker, anything is possible.
John Cena’s Christopher Smith, aka Peacemaker, started the first season of his new spin-off series all alone, with his only real friend being his pet bald eagle, Eagly. Everyone else thinks he’s too crazy, too stupid or just too weird to take seriously. However, by the end of the season, he gains a real human best friend in the form of Danielle Brooks’ character, Leota Adebayo, and the rest of the characters gradually grow closer to him as the series progresses. Unfortunately for Freddie Stroma’s character Adrian Chase, also known as Vigilante, it is still unknown what his number is in the order of Peacemaker’s best friends. While it’s good that Peacemaker has found true friends, some old enemies may start to take advantage of this fact.
The last scene of the final episode of the first season finale shows Peacemaker sitting on his porch enjoying the sunset with Eagly, the last remaining Butterfly Goff, and Robert Patrick’s character, August “Auggie” Smith, also known as White Dragon. Although he is very much dead, Smith continues to haunt Peacemaker’s mind as a physical representation of his guilt. We are likely to see more of August Smith in the future, as he continues to haunt Peacemaker’s thoughts and force him to question every decision he makes.
Not only that, but Nhut Le’s character Judomaster is still very much alive, as is Viola Davis’ character from Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller. While Waller’s daughter Adebayo may have confessed to the audience about Operation: Butterfly and Task Force X at the end of the first season, in the comics, Amanda Waller has killed people for much, much less. So, it’s quite possible that Amanda Waller wants some kind of revenge.
One of the best (or worst depending on your point of view) qualities of the Peacemaker character is that because almost no one knew who he was or anything about him, James Gunn had the creative freedom to do whatever he wanted with the character and make whatever changes he felt necessary. It is a well-known fact that during the filming of 2021’s Suicide Squad, James Gunn did not allow John Cena to read any of the old Peacemaker comics or even research his character because Gunn’s version of the character was completely different. He didn’t want Cena to be influenced by source material that no longer mattered.
The same goes for characters like Vigilante and Judomaster, both of whom are so far removed from their comic book counterparts that they can be considered entirely different characters. With this in mind, as long as James Gunn uses characters no one has ever heard of, he has plenty of creative freedom to do whatever he wants.
Perhaps in the second season of Peacemaker we will see characters like Egg Fu, Orca or even Snowflame, the cocaine-fuelled supervillainess. All of them are real and have had little or no exposure outside of comics and parodies.