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John Cena & James Gunn Developing 'Absurd' Suicide Squad Prequel Show for HBO Max

James Gunn, Peacemaker, John Cena

James Gunn's The Suicide Squad is an intriguing entry in the DCEU slate. The hybrid reboot/sequel made headlines during last month's DC FanDome, providing fans with a sneak peek of the massive cast and the work behind-the-scenes. 

Not much is known about the plot details of the film, but it is expected that it will be Rated-R. On top of that, the fates of many characters beyond the film are unknown as well, but a new report has confirmed that fans will witness the journey of an intriguing villain before the events of the DCEU flick. 

CONFIRMATION 

John Cena as Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad
John Cena as Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad

The Hollywood Reporter shared in a report that HBO Max "has given a straight-to-series order" for Peacemaker, which will star John Cena in the titular role alongside James Gunn as the show's writer and director. The report revealed that it will have an "eight-episode first season:"

HBO Max has given a straight-to-series order for an eight-episode first season with Gunn writing all eight and directing several episodes, including the first. Cena will reprise his role from the upcoming movie for what will explore the origins of the character.

Peacemaker will serve as a prequel series spinoff for The Suicide Squad, and it is being described as an "action-adventure-comedy" series for the HBO Max streaming platform. 

The Suicide Squad director James Gunn shared the exciting news on his Twitter account as well. 

Peacemaker actor John Cena also hyped up the prequel spinoff series. 

WarnerMedia shared an official press release about Peacemaker, giving fans more details about the John Cena-led prequel. The statement revealed that Gunn and The Suicide Squad producer Peter Safran "will serve as executive producers of the series" while Cena will be the co-executive producer. 

The studio also mentioned that production for the series is scheduled to begin "in early 2021" before Gunn eventually moves to MCU's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: 

HBO Max is set to explore the origins of the Peacemaker character, the master of weapons from the highly anticipated upcoming The Suicide Squad film, in the new Max Original action-adventure-comedy series Peacemaker. HBO Max has given a straight-to-series order of eight episodes for the first season of the show. John Cena will reprise his role from The Suicide Squad movie to star in the series, and the film’s acclaimed writer/director James Gunn will write all eight episodes of Peacemaker and will direct multiple episodes, including the first. Gunn and The Suicide Squad producer Peter Safran will serve as executive producers of the series, with Cena as co-executive producer. Based on characters from DC, Peacemaker will be produced by Gunn’s Troll Court Entertainment and The Safran Company in association with Warner Bros. Television. Peacemaker is scheduled to begin production in early 2021, prior to Gunn beginning work on the next Guardians of the Galaxy film.

The press release from WarnerMedia also bared that the series "will extend the world that Gunn is creating for The Suicide Squad," teasing what to expect for Peacemaker

While details about Peacemaker are being kept under wraps, the series will explore the origins of the character that Cena will play in the upcoming film, a man who believes in peace at any cost — no matter how many people he has to kill to get it. The series will extend the world that Gunn is creating for The Suicide Squad movie, which is scheduled to be released in theaters by Warner Bros. Pictures on August 6, 2021.

Gunn admitted that Peacemaker will serve as an "opportunity to delve into the current world issue through the lens of this superhero/supervillain/and world's biggest douchebag:"

Peacemaker is an opportunity to delve into current world issues through the lens of this superhero/supervillain/and world’s biggest douchebag. I’m excited to expand The Suicide Squad and bring this character from the DC film universe to the full breadth of a series. And of course, to be able to work again with John, Peter, and my friends at Warner Bros. is the icing on the cake.”

Meanwhile, Cena is "unbelievably excited" to team-up with Gunn once again for Peacemaker. 

“I have said before that it has been a tremendous honor and an incredible opportunity to be part of The Suicide Squad and to work with James on what is going to be a fantastic movie. I am unbelievably excited to have the chance to team up with him again for Peacemaker. We can’t wait for fans to see this.”

Lastly, Chief Content Officer for HBO and HBO Max Casey Bloys praised Gunn's "unique ability to create an expansive universe," expressing his enthusiasm for Peacemaker

"James Gunn has the unique ability to create an expansive universe while also bringing to life the soul and wit of each character. We look forward to a deep dive into the world of Peacemaker,” 

Update: While answering a question from Comicbook's Brandon Davis, Peacemaker and The Suicide Squad director James Gunn further opened up on why he chose Cena's character as the main focus of the new HBO Max Project: 

THR also shared that their sources say that Cena's Peacemaker is already a scene-stealer in early cuts of The Suicide Squad, becoming a favorite among WB executives and producers.

WHAT THIS MEANS

As is, the news of John Cena's Peacemaker character receiving his own prequel spinoff series came out of nowhere, but this presents a rare opportunity for the DCEU to do something different for the franchise. More so, this development somewhat confirms that Peacemaker is an integral part of The Suicide Squad, and it will be interesting to see how huge his role is in the narrative. 

It remains to be seen if other characters from The Suicide Squad will receive their own spinoffs, but the imminent arrival of Peacemaker provides strong evidence that more stories could be unraveled down the line. Given that production for Peacemaker will not start until early next year, it's a safe bet that the series could arrive after the debut of The Suicide Squad (barring any delays). That said, this means that the prequel series will provide an in-depth look at Cena's anti-hero character while also giving more context on what The Suicide Squad already presented to fans. 

From the get go, The Suicide Squad has been poised to deliver an intriguing superhero adventure, and the promise of an exciting spinoff in the form of Peacemaker could signify that more storylines will be explored moving forward.