Based on the DC Comics character Peacemaker, James Gunn produced the American television series Peacemaker for the HBO Max streaming service. A spin-off of The Suicide Squad, it is the first DC Extended Universe (DCEU) television series. A year or two after the events of the film, Christopher Smith / Peacemaker, a jingoistic murderer, joins “Project Butterfly,” a black operations unit tasked with hunting out parasitic extraterrestrial butterflies. Producers include The Safran Company, Troll Court Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Television, with Gunn as showrunner.
John Cena, Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, Chukwudi Iwuji, Jennifer Holland, Steve Agee, and Robert Patrick also feature in the film, which is a sequel to The Suicide Squad. While filming The Suicide Squad, Gunn became inspired by Cena’s talent as a dramatic actor and came up with the concept of Peacemaker. He created the first eight episodes of the series while the COVID-19 outbreak was still raging. By the end of September 2020, HBO Max had ordered Peacemaker straight to series, and more casting took place in the months that followed. From January to July 2021, Gunn directed five episodes in Vancouver, Canada.
The first three episodes of Peacemaker broadcast on HBO Max on January 13, 2022. Every week until February 17th, the rest of the series will be revealed. Positive reviews have been given to the series.
Christopher Smith / Peacemaker is forced to join the clandestine A.R.G.U.S. black operations group “Project Butterfly” after recuperating from the injuries he sustained during the events of The Suicide Squad (2021).
In the United States and throughout the world, they are on a mission to detect and destroy parasitic butterfly-like critters in human form.
When The Suicide Squad (2021) wrapped up filming in August 2020, writer and director James Gunn began working on a spin-off television series on Peacemaker, the character played by John Cena in the film.
When Peter Safran, the producer of The Suicide Squad, proposed the concept to Gunn, he stated he’d want to explore it. He knew that Gunn would say yes to the Peacemaker series when DC Films subsequently approached Safran about launching a spin-off series based on The Suicide Squad. Initially, the HBO paid channel and the HBO Max streaming service were considered possible distribution channels for the show.
Gunn believes that HBO Max, a new streaming service that had a demand for content and was prepared to offer Gunn the money he requested, was the final destination for the series. According to Walter Hamada, President of DC Features, the studio was attempting to produce HBO Max spin-off television shows based on all of its planned films.
In September 2020, HBO Max approved Peacemaker straight to series, with Gunn writing and directing five of the eight episodes in the first season. Executive producers Gunn and Safran were named, with Cena serving as a co-executive producer. In cooperation with Warner Bros. Television, Gunn’s Troll Court Entertainment and The Safran Company produce the series. In December, Matt Miller was brought on as an additional executive producer. When HBO Max decided to continue the show in August of 2021, Gunn announced he would produce a second season. Even though he and Cena hadn’t signed contracts for a second season, and Gunn wanted to take some time off after a hectic few years, the series aired in 2022 and he reaffirmed this.
Cena’s strength as a serious actor was revealed to director James Gunn when filming The Suicide Squad’s sequence in which Peacemaker attempts to murder Ratcatcher 2. Cena had previously been renowned for his work as a professional wrestler and as a humorous actor. A tale centered on Peacemaker, according to Gunn, would allow him to show more of Cena’s dramatic side, and he believed the character had not been explored or developed to the same extent as other characters in The Suicide Squad.
In the end, he chose to develop a television show with the character as the lead. In his first television role, Gunn drew on his expertise writing film scripts and his knowledge of television shows that he had watched to tackle the assignment. When it comes to cinema, he thought it had to be less intricate because of the short runtime, whereas television had more opportunities to explore more complex characters and relationships. Better Call Saul had a significant impact on the series, with Gunn noting connections between Saul Goodman, the protagonist of that show, and Peacemaker.
Taking place after the post-credit sequence in which it is revealed that Peacemaker survived an apparently fatal gunshot wound earlier in the film, Gunn’s universe for The Suicide Squad expands in Peacemaker.
For Gunn, this was a chance to investigate contemporary global concerns through the protagonist’s connection with his father, which is hinted at in the film.
“The Suicide Squad” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3″ were both on his plate at the time, so he took eight weeks off to write the first season” (2023).
According to him, the first season’s plot revolved around Peacemaker coming to grips with the disparity between his principles and who he really is.
As with The Suicide Squad, Gunn described the show as “no holds barred,” although he added that it is “a little bit more about society” than the film. According to HBO Max, the excessive usage of “fuck” and a specific sequence in the sixth episode were both causes for worry, but Gunn pushed on keeping them in the show, just as they did with The Suicide Squad.
Other notes Gunn received included questions about his references to certain characters, such as Bat-Mite, who is now canonically part of the DCEU because of this series referencing him; Gunn acknowledged these questions but was mostly able to make the references that he wanted to make, and was never required to make any specific connections to other projects or set up future DCEU stories. This episode featured a newspaper article describing the Intergang’s actions in Kahndaq, a nod to the events of Black Adam, which Gunn has said would appear in a forthcoming DCEU film. (2022).
The opening hospital scene and the dance performance that serves as the series’ opening title sequence were both conceived by Gunn on the first day of writing.
For the sake of joking about and to let the public know that the show will be different from other superhero television shows, Gunn included a dance sequence in the screenplay. the best opening credits scene of all time,” and the “weirdest dancing ever witnessed, and everyone in it is totally serious,” the screenplay says of the dance performance. It was Gunn’s desire that viewers would not utilize the “Skip Intro” option on streaming platforms because he believed it was crucial that viewers see the names of everyone who worked on the series.
A post-credits sequence was also included by Gunn as a gesture to thank viewers for sticking with the show to the end credits every time. While playing with pals as a youngster, Gunn and his buddies would engage in similar activities such as shooting and blowing up stuff in the woods.
John Cena’s return to the character of Peacemaker from The Suicide Squad was announced when the series was ordered for September 2020.
Next, Gunn’s longtime buddy Steve Agee appeared as John Economos, a character he played in the movie.
Emilia Harcourt from The Suicide Squad was played by Gunn’s fiancée Jennifer Holland, along with Danielle Brooks, Robert Patrick, and Chris Conrad in November. The Vigilante was played by Chris Conrad.
When Gunn invited her character back for the series, Holland was stunned, expecting her participation in The Suicide Squad would be a one-off.
In December, Chukwudi Iwuji was cast in the role of Clemson Murn. Making the show with Holland and Agee was a highlight for Gunn, and he quickly became friends with the rest of the group as well.
Lochlyn Munro played Larry Fitzgibbon, Annie Chang played Detective Sophie Song, and Christopher Heyerdahl played Captain Locke in December’s cast.
Before Matthew Lillard was cast as Shaggy Rogers in Scooby-Doo (2002), Gunn had considered casting Munro as Fitzgibbon, based on his audition tapes for the character. Elizabeth Ludlow was cast as Keeya, Rizwan Manji as Jamil, Nhut Le as Judomaster, Alison Araya, and Lenny Jacobson were cast as Amber and Evan, respectively, in February 2021. After Conrad quit the show owing to creative disputes, Freddie Stroma was cast as Adrian Chase/Vigilante in late May. After voicing Sebastian in Ratcatcher 2 and Amanda Waller in The Suicide Squad, Viola Davis returns as Amanda Waller in Peacemaker, and Dee Bradley Baker reprises her role as Pet Eagle Eagly in Peacemaker.
A two-week quarantine period for Gunn had begun by early November 2020, when he landed in Canada to begin filming on the series.
Michael Bonvillain served as cinematographer for the film, which began filming on January 15, 2021, in Vancouver, Canada, under the working title The Scriptures.
Vancouver was chosen by Gunn because he wanted to film in the Pacific Northwest and because he thought the filming would be safer there because Canada was purportedly better at handling the epidemic than the US.
Jody Hill, Rosemary Rodriguez, and Brad Anderson each directed one episode, with Gunn directing five of them. Following The Suicide Squad’s post-credits sequence, Peacemaker’s production began filming its first scene:
The dance performance for the show’s opening credits was shot at a high school auditorium during the midst of the series’ production period on a single day.
Rizwan Manji, who flew to Canada for the third time and endured two weeks of quarantine specifically to appear in the sequence, is one of the series’ regular cast members as well as various guest stars from previous episodes. During rehearsals, they discovered that Gunn had initially intended for the sequence to take place in the Project Butterfly headquarters, but that it was simply too tiny. His first request to production designer Lisa Soper was to make the auditorium seem like a stage from a 1970s variety show when they finally found it. As a result, they shifted to more 1980s-inspired designs, like those used by the band Kraftwerk.
He wanted the dance to look outrageous and robotic, yet he wanted the performers to do it stoically and solemnly. As he believed that reflected the series’ combination of seriousness and fun, Although he knew she was married to Gunn’s friend Alan Tudyk who did many of the movements for Barton when she was choreographing the dance, he was surprised to learn that she had hired Charissa-Lee Barton to assist him in planning the routine.
“Peacemaker” was played by Tudyk in rehearsals when wrestler John Cena was unable to appear. After the premiere of the series, Gunn stated that they intended to “raise [their] game” for a possible second season after the sequence garnered favorable feedback.
When Conrad quit the show, Gunn had already shot five and a half episodes of Vigilante with Stroma, who had been recruited to replace Conrad.
In the series, Davis’s appearance as Waller is through Zoom call; instead of having her make a Zoom call to Vancouver, the crew traveled to Davis in LA to film her role.
The first season’s production ran for 131 days, concluding on July 11th.
The visual effects
It was far easier for Gunn to create Eagly for Peacemaker than it was to create King Shark for The Suicide Squad, which required a lot of visual effects. When it came to the visual effects for Eagly, Weta Digital, who worked on King Shark, repurposed an existing model they had previously employed.
Following the completion of John Murphy’s soundtrack for Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in June 2021, he confirmed that Clint Mansell and Kevin Kiner would be creating the score for the series.
For the series, Murphy reworked Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” with Ralph Saenz and released it as a single in 2022.
As soon as the episode aired, Gunn made a Spotify playlist of music from the show, which included a cover of “Pumped Up Kicks” by Murphy. Gunn planned to add new songs to the playlist as the series continued.
All of the songs for the series were chosen by Gunn himself and incorporated into the plot.
It was because he had spent the last several years investigating hair metal despite previously not being a fan that he decided to utilize it as the soundtrack for his series.
With the new series, he was eager to offer those songs, including some from new and unknown bands, to a wider audience, like the pre-1980s pop music he used on the soundtrack for Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).
Wig Wam’s “Do Ya Wanna Taste It” is included in the series’ opening title sequence.
After discussing with composers Mansell and Kiner the “unapologetically melodic ballads” created by these bands, Gunn offered them playlists of hair metal tunes to use as inspiration for the series’ music. This piece’s music was conceptualized by Mansell, but it was filled out by Kiner.
A member of the Queen’s band, drummer Fred Coury, contributed to the series’ score, which they characterized as a hybrid of rock, orchestra, and choral music. Even in the more dramatic passages, the primary theme of Peacemaker is predominantly played on electric guitar. Kiner was proud of their work since they thought they had come up with an original theme for the show and its eponymous protagonist.
Gunn heard that his dog was dying while producing for The Suicide Squad in Panama, which he described as one of the darkest days of his life. Cena performed a piano version of Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” while he waited in a hotel to be driven to the airport to see his dog. A scene where the protagonist plays the piano and expresses himself as an “artist” for the first time in Peacemaker was inspired by Gunn’s own personal experience, which “crushed me and then calmed me,” he said.
A rendition of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home” prepared by Murphy and issued as a single on February 4 is performed by Cena as Peacemaker in the scene. On February 18, Mansell and Kiner’s score for the show will be featured on a soundtrack album.
The series’ debut teaser trailer and some behind-the-scenes footage were shown during the virtual DC FanDome event in October 2021.
Commentators praised the teaser’s comic tone, saying it was similar to Gunn and Cena’s work in The Suicide Squad, as well as the suggestions that Brooks’ Leota may help Peacemaker grow as a character. The teaser also included Peacemaker’s pet eagle, Eagly. Eagle’s life-size replica was part of a new exhibit at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood that ran from January 6 to May 27, 2022.
The first three episodes of Peacemaker premiered on HBO Max on January 13, 2022.Through February 17, the remaining five episodes will be published one at a time.
Peacemaker: Reception Date
With an approval rating of 94 percent and an average rating of 7.7/10 based on 70 reviews, Rotten Tomatoes is the leading review aggregator on the web. One critic wrote, [John] Cena is still in excellent form as Peacemaker, leading a gory good time that allows writer-director James Gunn full freedom to let his freak flag fly. Metacritic awarded it a “generally favorable” rating of 69 points out of 100, based on the reviews of 24 critics.
In the first three episodes, IGN praised the cast’s performances and comedy, noting, “The three-episode launch provides a humorous satire of vigilantism.”
With a 3/5 rating, The Guardian said, “James Gunn’s Suicide Squad persona gets his own HBO Max series with mixed results but a winning primary performance.” in the first three episodes.
Podly is an official, aftershow-style video podcast produced by HBO Max and DC in partnership with Rooster Teeth. Ify and Fiona Nwadiwe from Rooster Teeth are the hosts of the podcast, which features episode recaps and interviews with cast and crew members. Both the video and audio versions of the podcast are available to view on HBO Max and YouTube.