‘Peacemaker’ Soundtrack Was the One James Gunn ‘Was Probably the Most Excited to Create Since the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 1′ Soundtrack’

John Cena was a standout in the ensemble cast of The Suicide Squad. His character, Peacemaker, is getting his own streaming series on HBO Max in January. From writer/director James Gunn, Peacemaker will follow in the tradition of his R-rated violent superhero comedy. The Peacemaker soundtrack will also continue to reflect Gunn’s musical leanings, which he’s brought to comic book movies since Guardians of the Galaxy.

Guardians of the Galaxy used classic rock to reflect the era from which Peter Quill was removed from earth. Peacemaker will reflect the title character’s youth. Since he would have grown up in the ‘80s, Gunn promised a soundtrack full of ’80s hair metal.

James Gunn  walks The Suicide Squad red carpet
James Gunn | Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage

“This was a soundtrack I was probably the most excited to create since the Guardians of the Galaxy 1 soundtrack,” Gunn said on a Television Critics Association Zoom panel on Sept. 22. “It really is all hair metal.”

Not that Peacemaker is entirely stuck in the ‘80s. However, his tastes evolved with the darker side of music. 

“It’s a lot of ’80s hair metal but it’s also a lot of modern like sleaze rock and hair metal that comes out of Europe,” Gunn said. “A lot of really great bands that people don’t know about, and I love that stuff.”

Gunn is selective with his music. He promised he culled the volumes of hair metal to find the perfect Peacemaker soundtrack.

“There’s also a lot of really bad hair metal,” Gunn said. “So it was fun finding the really good stuff to inject the series with its flavor, which we keep throughout the whole first season.”

The idea for a Peacemaker series came after Gunn finished The Suicide Squad. Gunn said he had his choice for which character to spin off. 

John Cena sits with his Peacemaker costars
L-R: Steve Agee, Jennifer Holland, Chukwudi Iwuji, Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma and John Cena) | Katie Yu/HBO Max

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“I was not planning to do it at all,” Gunn said. “It was Peter Safran came to me and Walter Hamada from DC and they were like, ‘Hey, if you could do a TV show on any one of the characters from The Suicide Squad, who would you do?’  And I just found something really interesting about Peacemaker, both because I loved working with John Cena and I thought that he had a lot of acting gifts and comedy gifts that we weren’t able to fully utilize in the movie.”

So if you liked Peacemaker’s destructive patriotism in The Suicide Squad, you’ll be getting an entire season of it. 

“Also because I thought he was just a really cool, interesting character that could be pertinent to today and today’s world, in terms of his sort of backwards way of looking at things,” Gunn said. “A lot of the show is about his friendship with these other characters, especially Danielle [Brooks]’s character, Leota Adebayo, and their friendship that emerges out of all of this, even though they very much represent very different parts of America today.”

Cena appreciated Gunn’s Peacemaker soundtrack, too. He has previously said he listened to a lot of BTS while making The Suicide Squad film.

“That’s just because I was in a phase where I was listening to BTS,” Cena said. “I listen to BTS, but it’s not like I have a locker room where I’m listening to fire-up music and I kick the door open and play Peacemaker, Although that might be good. If we do a Season 2, I may have a locker room built.”

Suicide Squad members Joel Kinnaman, Idris Elba and John Cena stand in front of an upside down truck
L-R: Joel Kinnaman, Idris Elba and John Cena | Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Comics

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Cena continued to riff on his musical tastes. Keep in mind he’s joking, so this is not a confirmation of titles on the Peacemaker soundtrack. 

“If said fictional locker room is built, I will be sure to have fire-up music,” Cena said. “And if fire-up music is in said fictional locker room, I then will get you what fire-up music I will use. I’m sure it’ll start something, like, ‘The Final Countdown’ from Europe will be in there, for sure. Something that will rock you for it.”