For a little over a decade now, the film industry has seen nothing short of a complete overhaul and revival of the superhero universe. This really began when Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009, since which we have seen the release of dozens of superhero films from reboots of old franchises to the birth of new franchises on the silver screen. Disney has not been alone on this venture however as Warner Brothers owns DC Entertainment, home to legendary superheroes such as Superman and Batman, and have been steadily producing content as well. An example of Warner Brothers’ efforts and arguably one of the more intriguing films to be released throughout this revival was 2016’s Suicide Squad directed by David Ayer, a unique film where a team of villains, not heroes, is enlisted to fight crime instead of causing it. While a sequel, this time directed by James Gunn, has been in production for some time now and is set to hit theaters next year, we have also received news that a spinoff series is now in production, with John Cena set to star in the titular role.
The original Suicide Squad was star studded to say the least, with Jared Leto and Margot Robbie starring as the dynamic Joker and Harley Quinn, and Will Smith starring as Deadshot, a lesser known villain from the Batman series. While it has been confirmed that Smith will not be reprising his role in the sequel, Gunn has been hard at work expanding upon the Squad, with the latest addition being WWE superstar turned actor John Cena who is set to play Peacemaker. Though the name “Peacemaker” may be contradictory to the premise of Suicide Squad, this character has been described as, per the series’ synopsis a “man who believes in peace at any cost – no matter how many people he has to kill…” and Gunn apparently has so much hope for said character that he has begun working alongside HBO on a spinoff series centered around the character with Cena set to continue on as Peacemaker to premier exclusively on HBO Max.
Signed on for an initial eight episode run with Gunn set to produce, write and direct every episode to some extent, the new series will begin filming in Canada this upcoming January and wrap up at the beginning of the summer. It is unclear as of right now where the series will reside within the original film’s timeline, however Gunn has alluded to the fact that this series is unlikely to be a prequel to the films and will include cameos from other Suicide Squad members, only piquing fans’ interest even further. Cena will also not be joining the Squad alone, with Idris Elba set to star as Bloodsport and David Dastmalchian as Polka Dot Man in the upcoming sequel, both characters absent from the original film but surely just further adding fuel to fans’ fire. Gunn is no stranger to the realm of superheroes in film either, having directed the fan favorite Disney series Guardians of the Galaxy; this time he will simply be working for the other side of the superhero universe. With the sequel set to hit theaters next August, barring any further delays stemming from the COVID pandemic, the schedule for the Peacemaker series seems perfectly planned as the series should reach televisions shortly after the sequel premieres.