In just a six-month span, acclaimed director James Gunn delivered two beloved projects set inside the DC Extended Universe. Gunn's The Suicide Squad was met with praise from fans and critics alike, while spin-off series Peacemaker set streaming records for HBO Max. The latter's success has already been doubled down on, as Gunn and company will be returning for a second season of the John Cena-led series.
Much of Peacemaker's positive word of mouth has to do with the show's season finale, which threw everything and the kitchen sink at the fairly contained narrative. Christopher Smith and his assembly of ARGUS agents engaged in a butterfly bloodbath, taking out the alien race before their invasion escalated to a global scale. While Peacemaker's posse was able to handle business themselves, they nearly had the assistance of the Justice League.
Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and The Flash arrived late to the scene for a quick cameo. The Man of Steel and the daughter of Zeus were just silhouettes, but both Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller shared face time and dialogue.
While these A-List appearances were expected to be a one-off, Gunn himself might have more up his sleeve in future projects.
James Gunn's Justice League
Christopher Smith, you're part of a much bigger world.
On the heels of Peacemaker Season 1, series creator and director James Gunn noted, via Games Radar, that he plans to up the star power in John Cena's sophomore installment:
“I think we’re going to see more connections in some other stuff as we move forward with Peacemaker and other shows at HBO Max. So those [cameos] will keep coming. I don’t know if the Justice League is going to show up in every season of Peacemaker; that might be a one-time thing. We’ll see!”
Fans only got a brief scene with four members of the Justice League in Peacemaker Season 1, and only half of the ensemble had speaking lines. While Jason Momoa's Aquaman and Ezra Miller's Flash exchanged just 14 words, Gunn revealed they filmed "tons of stuff" with the two actors that didn't make the cut:
“I have tons of stuff I didn’t use. Ezra went on – and I’m not kidding – for 16 minutes about Aquaman having sex with fish. It was really funny.”
Like most ambitious aspects of the series, Gunn emphasized that the major cameos were accomplished through his "pure force of will:"
“It was done through pure force of will on my part, of really pushing it to happen. I think everybody read it in the script, agreed to it, and then it became [a thing], and they realized what a big f--king deal it was.”
Peacemaker's Larger World
James Gunn's DCEU tenure is just beginning.
The Guardians of the Galaxy director has only been working with Warner Bros. for a couple of years, but his passion and aspirations for the studio's rejuvenated cinematic universe are apparent.
The Suicide Squad did not deliver the box office receipts it could've done with a theatrically-exclusive release, but it's evident that Warner prioritizes Gunn's creativity over his projects' profits, at least, for now. Giving the keys to DC's biggest heroes to a director that fans are strongly behind will only amplify DCEU anticipation moving forward.
As for who could show up in Peacemaker Season 2, The Suicide Squad sequel, or Gunn's mystery DC project, just about everyone is on the table. The best bet remains Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke, who was initially on Gunn's Task Force X roster. Manganiello's recent Slade Wilson-inspired Instagram makeover only increases chances that fans will see the actor in the blue and orange sooner rather than later.
Peacemaker Season 1 is streaming now on HBO Max.