Peacemaker is just around the corner – The Suicide Squad spin-off series is set to premiere on HBO Max in a matter of weeks, and there's plenty of information out there to tide us over while we wait. For one thing, we have two trailers to pore over now (you can find our full breakdown on both of them below), as well as set photos to give us a good look at the new ragtag bunch of antiheroes led by John Cena's title character.
We've also got the lowdown on who's who in the cast, from new characters to familiar faces, along with the people involved behind the camera – director James Gunn has had a few interesting things to say about the show, too, which we've compiled here. And that's just the start of it – so, for all that and more, scroll on to find out everything we know so far about Peacemaker.
Peacemaker release date
Peacemaker now has an official release date: the series will land on HBO Max on January 13.
It's also not clear if all eight episodes will stream at once, or if we're looking at a weekly release schedule. HBO Max Originals do tend to stream one episode a week, though, so that seems the likeliest possibility.
John Cena is back as the titular character, a man so dedicated to peace he doesn't care who he has to kill to achieve it. He'll be joined by some other cast members returning from The Suicide Squad: Jennifer Holland is back as Emilia Harcourt, who worked with Amanda Waller in the movie, as is Steve Agee – who was both the physical stand-in for King Shark and Emilia's co-worker John Economos (he'll be playing the latter in the series).
"Every character has their own story," Gunn told Collider. "So there's the six main characters of Peacemaker, Leota Adebayo, who's Danielle Brooks, Emilia Harcourt, who's Jennifer Holland, Vigilante, who's Freddie Stroma, Clemson Murn, who is Chukwudi Iwuji, and John Economos, who is Steve Agee. It's really an ensemble about those six characters."
Also in the cast is Elizabeth Faith Ludlow as Keeya, and Rizwan Manji as Jamil. Apart from their names, nothing else is known about these two just yet.
Other cast members are Christopher Heyerdahl as Captain Locke, Nhut Le as Judomaster, Annie Chang as a detective named Sophie Song, Lochlyn Munro as her partner Larry Fitzgibbon, Alison Araya as Amber, and Lenny Jacobson as Evan. Robert Patrick plays Peacemaker's father.
A few clues can be gleaned about the series from the character line-up. Vigilante, AKA Adrian Chase, is a district attorney turned – you guessed it – vigilante in DC Comics. One of his friends is killed by Peacemaker, and Chase sets out for revenge. Though he started out careful to be non-lethal, he steadily becomes more violent, and his mental state deteriorates. Per Deadline, in the series, Chase has super-healing abilities, and he's looking for justice after his wife and children were murdered by mobsters.
Meanwhile, Judomaster is a superhero moniker that four people have gone by in the comics, with the original a World War 2 sergeant, and the second his son. Until we find out Judomaster's real identity, it's trickier to predict where this character might be headed.
The first Peacemaker teaser dropped during DC FanDome. The new trailer gives us our best look yet at the new cast of characters – it looks like we can expect plenty of fights, jokes, and... Peacemaker dancing in his underwear? The teaser was prefaced by a panel discussion between the cast, director James Gunn, and executive producers Peter Safran and Matt Miller – according to them, Peacemaker is "like The Office, but as a superhero show... but with more people getting shot in the face".
A second trailer showcases the bond between Peacemaker and his eagle, and features the rest of the team, including new characters like Vigilante. It even hints at the villains, called 'Butterflies' and described as "a serious threat to the safety of American citizens." Interestingly, despite his declaration that he'd kill men, women, and children for peace, Peacemaker hesitates over pulling the trigger on some kids in the trailer.
James Gunn tweeted a behind the scenes look at the cast of the series, and it looks like everyone is having a great time onset.
Are you ready for what the #Peacemaker crew is cooking up? @DCPeacemaker @hbomax #teampeacemaker @thedanieb @JohnCena @jennlholland @steveagee @CConradTweets pic.twitter.com/Yo5hfHhHLJFebruary 18, 2021
The director also shared more pictures on Instagram, including one of a frog that apparently occupies Peacemaker's porch.
Plus, a cryptic teaser image showcasing Peacemaker's deadly commitment also made its way to Instagram.
The biggest question about the Peacemaker series is whether it's a prequel or a sequel, and it turns out it's a bit of both. Despite initially seeming like an origin story, Gunn clarified on Twitter that "'Exploring the origins' does not necessarily mean prequel.'" Then, he told Variety a bit more about the premise: "Through the story, you learn where Peacemaker came from. There's a moment in the movie where Bloodsport talks about his father and what his father was like, and you cut to a shot of Peacemaker, and Peacemaker nods. That's the seed of the entire Peacemaker series. So we get to see Peacemaker with his father, who's played by Robert Patrick, where he came from, what he's done, what that means to him, and where he's going after all of this."
He continued: "He's not an evil person, he's just a bad guy. He seems sort of irredeemable in the film. But I think that there's more to him. We didn't get a chance to know him [in The Suicide Squad] in the way we get to know some of the other characters. And so that's what the whole show is about. I needed eight episodes to do it, at least."
Gunn also indicated to The Hollywood Reporter that Peacemaker wouldn't be quite as high-octane as The Suicide Squad, but still has a grand sci-fi plot. "It's very specifically about a different group of people, so it's a little bit more about society," he said. "One of the leads is Peacemaker and one of the leads is Danielle Brooks, who plays Leota Adebayo. And she has a very different political view of the world than Peacemaker does. So it's just a little bit about what's going on in the world, but also being a TV show, you really do have more time to delve much deeper into these characters and much more deeply into the drama and comedy of them."
He added: "So it has a lot of similarities, but it's even more grounded, more natural and more real. But it's still within a big science-fiction storyline that lasts for one season. The main storyline lasts for that season, so that doesn't mean there's only one season of Peacemaker." Gunn also indicated that the series "ends up being connected to other DC properties," though which exactly remains to be seen.
Then there's The Suicide Squad's post-credits scene, which revealed Peacemaker actually survived his tussle with Bloodsport. We find out in the sting that Cena's character is going to save the world – which seems like clear set-up for his solo series.
Peacemaker writers and directors
The Suicide Squad director James Gunn wrote all eight episodes of the series, and directed five of them, including episode one. The others hopping into the director's chair are Jody Hill, Rosemary Rodriguez, and Brad Anderson, who each helm an episode each – Anderson took the seventh installment.
Peacemaker: will there be a season 2?
There's no official word yet on if Cena's violent anti-hero will return for round two. Gunn has suggested that Peacemaker could be back, however. "The main storyline lasts for that season, so that doesn't mean there's only one season of Peacemaker," he told The Hollywood Reporter. So, the outlook is pretty good for this series to be a multi-season affair, but we'll have to wait to find out for sure.