Peacemaker doesn’t premiere on HBO Max until January, but creator James Gunn, star John Cena and the cast gave a Zoom panel for the Television Critics Association on Sept. 22. Introducing the panel, HBO Max played a sizzle reel of scenes from the upcoming The Suicide Squad spinoff. Snippets appeared in an HBO Max trailer that aired during the Emmys, but this was several minutes of Peacemaker footage.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for The Suicide Squad.]
Peacemaker seems to pick up from the post-credits scene of The Suicide Squad. Bloodsport (Idris Elba) killed Peacemaker (Cena) in the film, but after the credits we see he him on life support in the hospital. The sizzle reel shows Peacemaker wake up in the hospital and argue with a janitor who does not believe he’s a superhero. They exchange a lot of F words and you see Cena’s bare butt in his hospital gown.
Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) becomes Peacemaker’s new handler. It seems there will be a will they/won’t they. Harcourt scolds Peacemaker saying, “Just because you’re handsome doens’t mean you’re not a piece of sh*t.” All Peacemaker gets from that is, “You think I’m handsome?”
Peacemaker visits his father, Auggie Smith (Robert Patrick) who doesn’t seem to share his son’s perception of himself as a badass. A very gruff Patrick plays up his disapproval, calling his son a nancy boy. However, Peacemaker bonds with an eagle in Auggie’s garage. The eagle actually hugs Peacemaker with his wings, but Auggie is not amused when his son wants a photo with it. Earlier in the reel, he drove with the eagle in the passenger seat.
Eventually, Peacemaker goes on a mission with his new team. On the ride, he expresses his theory that there are regular babies and “butt babies.” If regular babies are born out of a woman’s vagina, well, Peacemaker believes there are some babies that come out the butt. Peacemaker even admits he believed he was a butt baby until he was 14. The eye rolls are palpable.
Peacemaker is a comic book show in the world of The Suicide Squad. So as much as you want humor, you want to see some action, too. Action includes target practice with Crimson Mum (Chukwudi Iwuji). Peacemaker has a new marksman rival after Bloodsport. The target of their new mission is a senator.
After the popularity of the campfire scene in The Suicide Squad in which Cena wore nothing but briefs, the HBO Max series features a scene of Peacemaker dancing around his house in tighty whities. That dance turns into a fight scene. So action and comedy combine as Cena defends himself with no cover or padding.
The HBO Max show embraces Peacemaker’s antihero nature. On The Suicide Squad he was Mr. patriotic. He killed a lot of innocent people in the name of his country, especially the rebels in Corto Maltese the whole squad assumed were bad guys because they just didn’t ask. In the end, he betrayed the Suicide Squad, too.
It turned out Peacemaker’s mission was not to stop Starro, the killer starfish. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) sent him to make sure he destroyed all evidence of the U.S.’s involvement with Starro. To him, protecting America meant covering up their involvement in corrupt alien technology.
From the janitor to his handler and teammates, the HBO Max series continues Peacemaker’s questionable allegiances. He may be a bit delusional about his own heroism, but it’s fun to watch him believe his own hype.