Peacemaker Star Chukwudi Iwuji Explains Murn's Butterfly Twist

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Peacemaker, Chukwudi Iwuji, Clemson Murn

Last year DC fans got the wonderful film that was James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. The project received a far better reception than the franchises’ previous installment. The story introduced an entirely new band of misfits to the world, all obscure yet oddly loveable—one who even went on to become the star in the biggest series currently airing.

Of course, that honor went to John Cena’s Peacemaker, somebody who seemed to have perished by the end of his debut. However, the post-credits scene had other ideas.

Once again led by writer and director James Gunn, the show introduced yet another tag group forced to work together. Steve Agee and Jennifer Holland both returned to their roles from The Suicide Squad and were joined by newcomers Danielle Brooks’ Leota Adebayo and Chukwudi Iwuji’s Clemson Murn.

The most recent episode came off the tails of a massive cliffhanger: Leota discovered Murn’s big Butterfly secret.

The show’s sixth episode put the time in to explain what was up with the whole situation, revealing that he is the sole member of his race who rebelled against everyone else’s world-dominating plans. 

What did the man behind the Butterfly think about all of this?

The Murn Butterfly Twist in Peacemaker

Butterfly Murn

Talking in a press roundtable with various outlets, The Direct included, Peacemaker actor Chukwudi Iwuji discussed the big Butterfly twist with his character Clemson Murn and answered if he knew about it when he signed onto the role.

The actor confirmed “[he] was” and that the reveal “was a big selling point with James [Gunn] and [executive producer] Peter [Safran].”

However, even knowing his character’s true identity, he never let that information inform his performance as Murn. 

The actor made it clear how he “[doesn’t] believe in playing an arc on a character, and that for him, it’s “all about [the] moment to moment:”

“I have always said that, as an actor, I don’t believe in playing an arc on a character, but it’s all about moment to moment. So it was wonderful to know I was going to have that, but it was really important that I played it as Clemson Murn, and that was it. You know, with all his dark past, his taciturn and dry, drive—Amanda Waller qualities…”

Iwuji also revealed that he didn’t try to incorporate teases of the twist into how he embodies the character on screen. He declared he “[doesn’t] believe in drip-feeding the audience like that:”

“If there were any clues about him being a Butterfly, it was more about [them being] in the writing, certainly not in my performance. Because I don’t believe in drip-feeding the audience like that cause it’s so much more fun to play each moment as its written and go for it.”

When it comes to the key aspect the actor focused on when tackling the character, it all came down to one word: “commitment:”

“I took all my clues—good writers give actors all their clues within the writing. So what I chose to do with Murn was that complete commitment, 150% commitment to the mission. Even if that mission includes killing what looks on the surface like kids, so that was commitment. If I were to use one word to describe Murn, [it would be] commitment. That was [the word] I used with my dialect coach, [for] the way he spoke… my trainer for trying to get that strength—he has a block ops [way about him]... [in] drilling those lines. I just feel commitment is a big word for Murn… It was commitment moment to moment. You go in there and kill them. You go in there and pull the trigger. You shut the eff up; you know what I mean? It was always 100% for him.”

The Butterfly Effect

It would have been easy for Murn to have been a bad guy in disguise, so it definitely subverted expectations that he was, despite his Butterfly nature, still an ally to the team.

It’s interesting Chukwudi Iwuji decided not to use that twist in how he played the character instead of leaning into the actual Clemson Murn, whom the Butterfly was impersonating.

So what’s next for the team leader? Now that most of the team is up to date on his secret, except for Peacemaker and Vigilante, will dynamics change? It’s probably not likely, seeing as Emilia and John have known this whole time.

Hopefully, in the next episode, there will be some room to explore some of Murn’s Butterfly history and just why he chose to push back against his kind. With him being the only one to do so, it certainly seems worth exploring.

Peacemaker is now streaming on HBO Max.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.