Cena also reflects on ‘The Suicide Squad’ moment that reverberates throughout the series: “Peacemaker’s entire existence is turned upside down.”
Peacemaker stars John Cena and Jennifer Holland didn’t bat an eyelash when series creator James Gunn announced that he wanted the show’s title sequence to be an elaborate dance set to Wig Wam’s “Do Ya Wanna Taste It.” The trust they showed in Gunn has already paid off as many are calling the sequence one of the greatest opening credits in TV history. The title sequence truly sets the tone for the HBO Max series’ many surprising developments, including the unique relationship between Christopher “Peacemaker” Smith (Cena) and Emilia Harcourt (Holland).
“Man, [James Gunn] found a way to get people not to hit the ‘skip intro’ button. That’s a feat in modern entertainment engineering,” Cena tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Holland adds: “When [Gunn] first told me about it, I had no idea what he was talking about. He told me about some sort of dance where everyone was going to be very stoic and kind of robotic. And I was like, ‘Cool! This is another one of those James Gunn things that you’re just going to have to see.’ But if you know James and you like his work and he tells you to jump, you’re going to say, ‘How high?’ So I was really stoked to take it on.”
One of the defining moments of Peacemaker’s predecessor, The Suicide Squad, is the death of Joel Kinnaman‘s Rick Flag at the hands of Peacemaker, and in his final moments, Flag uttered the words, “Peacemaker, what a joke,” which clearly struck a chord with Smith. Flag’s last words reverberate throughout Peacemaker’s entire season, and Cena knew early on that they would serve as a catalyst for the series.
“It’s that one moment where Peacemaker’s entire existence is turned upside down, and I think that’s a great start,” Cena shares. “The final moments of his journey in Jotunheim are so very interesting and filled with so much, and there’s more than enough material there to go on a character journey. So it set us up pretty nicely to make the series, and certainly James thought the same because he wrote it rather quickly as well.”
Earlier this week, Gunn explained to THR that one of the key differences between his feature writing and his TV writing is that he was able to let things “play out” a little bit more on Peacemaker, especially in the case of Peacemaker and Harcourt’s “complicated” relationship. Keep in mind, Harcourt worked with Flag prior to the events of The Suicide Squad, and since she’s now forced to team up with Flag’s killer (Peacemaker), their relationship evolves in a rather unexpected way.
“As far as my thoughts on [Peacemaker and Harcourt’s evolving dynamic], I’m anticipating what the world has to say about it after they watch our show,” Cena says. “The series is written well enough that every person you see on screen — with the exception of Auggie [Robert Patrick], Peacemaker’s dad — goes through a character arc and a journey, and I look forward to seeing what the world has to say as the buzz hits a peak on Peacemaker.”
Because of Peacemaker‘s rave reviews from critics and audiences, the demand for season two continues to grow. At the moment, Cena and Gunn do not have deals in place to do more, but in the event that HBO Max orders another season, Holland and the rest of the cast have already reached an agreement.
“It would be my pleasure!” Holland asserts.
Peacemaker’s first three episodes are now streaming on HBO Max.