Director and DC Studios chief James Gunn is all set to revamp the DCU with his new and improved shared universe. Gunn is set to give the franchise a makeover, where the movies and actors from the Snyderverse might still linger in the upcoming films, but would mostly be old news.
James Gunn got into the DCU with the film The Suicide Squad which was the most streamed DCU film on HBO Max. Gunn then worked on the successful spin-off series Peacemaker which saw John Cena reprise his role. Talking about his influences, Gunn mentioned that his own experiences as a kid and a classic Marvel film inspired him to make the series. Spoilers ahead for both the film and the TV show.
John Cena and James Gunn
James Gunn was hired by WB to work on a DC film after Gunn was fired from Marvel/Disney due to old tweets that supposedly contained racist, homophobic, and other controversial opinions. He was quickly headhunted by WB to make a Superman film, but the director instead chose to film a take on the Suicide Squad as he felt he was not ready to take on the iconic superhero yet.
While filming for The Suicide Squad, director James Gunn reportedly started working on a spin-off on the Peacemaker played by John Cena ‘just for fun’. He wanted to explore the character’s motivations as he turns irredeemably evil in the film. Gunn said in an interview with Variety,
“Because 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.”
Gunn reportedly wanted to make a spin-off on Peacemaker after watching John Cena’s dramatic range as an actor. Cena was till then mostly known for his wrestling career and as a comedic actor, and Gunn is no stranger to identifying potential in wrestlers-turned-actors. Peacemaker opened to positive reviews and broke the record for the highest single-day viewership of an original HBO Max episode.
Still from Peacemaker
One of the main reasons for James Gunn to create Peacemaker was to explore Peacemaker’s past and his relationship with his father, August Smith a.k.a White Dragon, who is played by Robert Patrick. Gunn reportedly based this story arc on a scene from The Suicide Squad, which refers to the Peacemaker’s troubled relationship with his father. Gunn said to Variety,
“Well, 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.”
Still from Captain America (1979)
James Gunn attributed the creative direction behind the series to a number of media as well as his personal life. In a since-deleted tweet, Gunn responded to a fan who asked him about the inspirations and influences behind the show. Along with his own childhood experiences, Gunn credited the 1979 Marvel film Captain America to be a notable influence on the show.
“My biggest inspiration is @JohnCena taking a costume home to see what it’s like to nap in it. Other big inspirations are Better Call Saul, Dance Dance Revolution, tightie-whities, Def Leppard, the 1970’s Captain America TV movie, and a rotten childhood.”
After the success of Peacemaker, Gunn was hired along with Peter Safran to revamp the DCU and give it a new direction. The show was still renewed for a second season, with Gunn stating that the series would be picked up after he had finished directing the first entry in the new DCU Superman: Legacy.
Peacemaker is streaming on Max.
DCU chief James Gunn credited the success of his hit series Peacemaker to his ‘rotten childhood’ and a classic 70s Marvel film. Read More