HBO Max’s Peacemaker has kind of been killing the game. It’s been well-documented that DC has been lagging when it comes to content that draws in a large audience. While they have a rolodex of amazing characters, it seems as if they are at a loss when it comes to creative direction. In recent years, that narrative has changed. With the recent releases of the animated Harley Quinn series, Birds of Prey, James Gunn’s Suicide Squad, and now the Suicide Squad follow-up series Peacemaker, we are seeing a pretty significant shift in DC content.
John Cena’s Peacemaker has widely expanded his depth since the end of Suicide Squad. A character who seemed almost unredeemable has shown himself to be just like the rest of us—someone who deals with a ton of trauma, daddy issues, the uncommon longing to be loved, and exploring their sexuality.
During an Empire magazine interview in the publication’s latest release, Gunn and Cena discussed how they integrated bisexuality into Peacemaker’s story and how the process was surprisingly easy. “John does improv all the time,” Gunn said, “and he just turned Christopher Smith into this hyper-sexualized dude that is open to anything sexually. I was surprised by that. But I thought, ‘I guess it makes sense that this guy isn’t one-dimensional.'” According to Gunn, some of this assisted by Smith’s relationship with Danielle Brooks’ Leota Adebayo, a close yet complicated friendship that blossomed early in the series.
“She is his polar opposite in so many ways, politically,” Gunn went on to explain. “She’s a Black, gay woman. He’s a white, straight — nah, he’s not straight [laughs] — white, whatever-he-is male. And yet they really like each other. They have a lot in common… Peacemaker is an interesting character because he’s so f*cked-up in so many ways, and then in other ways, he is kind of weirdly forward-thinking.”
While director James Gunn gives John Cena most of the credit for this character’s development, Cena bounces the credit back to Gunn in an interview with People.
“I’ve got to give James the credit for grabbing the ball and running with it. What I like most about it, it just is. It allows the audience to come to their own conclusions and that’s okay. Very much of our show certainly approaches a lot of sensitive subject matter, but it simply just is. Again, it allowed the audience to make their own conclusions.”
Peacemaker has been confirmed for a second season and you can find all of season one streaming on HBO Max.
Venom also explored sexuality in Marvel’s latest film about the alien symbiote.
Photos via HBO Max