‘The Suicide Squad’: Dave Bautista Was Supposed to Play Peacemaker, but Turned It Down to Work With Zack Snyder

The Suicide Squad sequel just dropped, and fans saw new faces, including Cena’s who plays Peacemaker. Interestingly, Cena wasn’t the director’s first choice for the character as James Gunn had Cena’s fellow WWE star Bautista in mind.

Actor Dave Bautista has had a successful transition from wrestling into acting much like those before him, including Dwayne’ The Rock’ Johnson and John Cena. In recent years, the actor has been busy and has primarily found success in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, where he plays Drax the Destroyer.

Dave Bautista smiling in front of a blurred background
Dave Bautista | David M. Benett/Getty Images

Bautista was Gunn’s first choice for Peacemaker

Bautista has enjoyed a great run as a comic book superhero or anti-villain if you like. His role on the Guardians of the Galaxy has given him a lot of exposure and has increased his bankability as an actor. Bautista almost became one of the few actors who have appeared in both DC and Marvel movies had he accepted Gunn’s request to have him on The Suicide Squad.

Screen Rant reported in 2019 that Gunn had chosen his Guardians of the Galaxy colleague Bautista to appear in the movie. It makes sense why Gunn would feel Bautista was the best choice as the two had worked on the previous two installments of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, and they had an existing working rapport.

Additionally, Bautista had proven his loyalty to Gunn, having stood by his side when the director’s old controversial tweets resurfaced, forcing Disney to cut him loose. It also made sense as Bautista had at the time hinted at his disgruntlement at Marvel, claiming that his Guardians of the Galaxy contract stipulated that he return to film the sequel regardless of his choice to play Drax or not.

Bautista declined the offer to work with Zack Snyder

Although Gunn’s choice wasn’t set in stone, it would have been a sure deal for Bautista had he chosen to work once again with his former director. However, the actor decided to decline Gunn’s offer and instead decided to work with Justice League director Zack Snyder on Army of the Dead.

Entertainment Weekly notes that Bautista initially declined Snyder’s offer to appear in his zombie heist movie, saying:

“I had this chip on my shoulder and was looking for juicy (dramatic roles). Then I read the script, and it was a lot deeper and had more layers than I thought. And also, to be quite frank, I wanted to work with Zack.”

Bautista then ended up dropping his offered role on The Suicide Squad for Snyder’s offer on Army of the Dead. All in all, Gunn gained a good actor as he called Cena “the best improvisational actor I’ve ever worked with in my life.”

Cena stands out as Peacemaker on ‘The Suicide Squad’

Cena’s character on The Suicide Squad gets his name from his peacemaking efforts. Although most peacemakers usually employ mediation as a tactic to ensure peace and calm, Cena’s character believes in achieving that at all costs, including killing anyone who stands in his way.

IGN describes Peacemaker as “a douchey Captain America.” However, director James Gunn described him as a “guy who believes in peace at any cost, no matter how many people he needs to kill along the way.”

Peacemaker first appeared in Charlton Comics, where he only had non-lethal weapons to use for peacekeeping. However, the character got an upgrade when he appeared in DC with the comic powerhouse portraying him as a dedicated peacemaker who is paradoxically willing to kill everyone to do it.

Cena seems at home with the role, and fans can’t help but love him in the film. In the Suicide Squad, Peacemaker appears dead, but viewers learn that he is very much alive in a post-credits scene.

Gunn reportedly negotiated for Peacemaker’s story to be allowed to continue, and if things go well, viewers might see a detailed story regarding the character in an upcoming TV show.

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