The ‘Peacemaker’ ‘Riverdale’ Jab Improvised By John Cena Left the Crew in Stitches

Peacemaker Episode 5 features an epic rant in which the superhero lists off the names of dozens of celebrities. And as it turns out, most of that scene was improvised by John Cena, including that jab at Riverdale

Peacemaker takes a Jab at ‘Riverdale’ 

John Cena as Peacemaker in HBO Max's 'Peacemaker' show
John Cena in ‘Peacemaker’ | HBO Max

The fifth installment of Peacemaker, “Monkey Dory,” finds the unlikely team getting ready to raid a factory potentially linked to the alien butterflies. And as they sit around a table to prepare for the mission,  Chris (John Cena) lets loose on Economus (Steve Agee). 

The superhero points out that he could have framed anyone else but his dad. And when Economus defensively asks who would have made a better scapegoat, Peacemaker begins listing off celebrity names and fictional characters, starting with Ariana Grande

After angrily listing dozens of names, including the Kardashians, a transformer, and few dead celebrities, Peacemaker concludes his rant with “the f***ing c****s from Riverdale.”

John Cena Improvised most of that scene

In a recent interview, Steve Agee, who plays Economus, revealed that writer/director James Gunn had only written a few celebrity names in the script. But while filming, he let Cena improvise, which is how that long rant ended up in the scene. 

“That was all Improvised,” Agee told Screen Rant. “James was like, ‘Just keep going. Start naming names. Just name people.'” 

“I mean, we shot it for like 20 minutes of John just shouting random names,” the actor added. “Sports figures, celebrities, singers, politicians – and I would start to say something, and he’s just like, ‘Let me finish!’ He just kept going, and it was phenomenal.”

In a tweet, Gunn also addressed the scene. And he revealed that Cena’s Riverdale jab had the entire crew laughing. 

“Some of the list was scripted, some was John improving, and some was me improving and throwing names at John,” Gunn wrote. “It went on forever, and we lost it a lot. Our usually-professional crew fell apart at the Riverdale mention.” 

Funnily enough, the Peacemaker cast features former Riverdale star Lochlyn Munro, as Detective Fitzgibbons. He appeared on the first few seasons of Riverdale as Betty Cooper’s father, the Black Hood

James Gunn wants Peacemaker to grow

Peacemaker is admittedly a grower, not a shower, when it comes to his emotional depth. And according to Gunn, that’s how the hero will redeem himself and recognize why some things he says and does are so wrong. 

“Peacemaker has a lot of issues,”  the showrunner told TV Line. “And I don’t sit down and say, ‘Well I’ve got to make this character likable.’ I just sit down and try to make a character as fully fleshed out as possible.”

“One of the things though that made me want to tell the story of Peacemaker is that he has a lot to learn,” Gunn added. “It is that ability to learn that he does have that for me makes him a little bit more likable. His blindspots in some places are pretty terrible, and in some places, they’re just him being ignorant. And I think that’s an important distinction to make.”

Peacemaker airs Thursdays on HBO Max. 

RELATED: The ‘Peacemaker’ Intro Is There to ‘Vanquish the Skip Forward Button’