After the failure of The Flash at the box office, some fans have been encouraging DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn to abandon his plans to keep any part of the DCEU in his upcoming DCU reboot, including Peacemaker.
The second season of Peacemaker on Max has been "postponed" until Gunn finishes Superman: Legacy, meaning that it won't be coming until at least 2026. On top of that, Viola Davis' Amanda Waller will have her own series called Waller, carrying over her role from The Suicide Squad and brief appearances in Peacemaker, which Gunn hopes would be out before Legacy releases.
After Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman 1984, Black Adam, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and The Flash crashed and burned at the box office, fans are concerned this string of bombs is a sign that audiences are disinterested in anything related to the DCEU.
The Stench of the DCEU Shouldn't Linger
There are multiple reasons why Gunn's The Suicide Squad fizzled at the box office. It was released during the height of a new variant of COVID, simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters, was part of the diminishing franchise that is the DCEU, and worse of all, it was the sequel to a poorly received film in that franchise with an almost identical title.
Make no mistake, The Suicide Squad is a great film, but it also contains many leftovers of the old universe, such as former Suicide Squad members Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, Joel Kinnaman's Rick Flag, Jai Courtney's Captain Boomerang, and their handler, Viola Davis' Amanda Waller. So it can't be helped that audiences drew connections to David Ayer's Suicide Squad and decided not to see it.
The same goes for The Flash when it starred Ezra Miller's Barry Allen, who last appeared in (to general audiences) the mediocre Justice League in 2017. Yes, they were wrapped up in multiple controversies, too, but it's unlikely that greatly affected audiences' desire to see The Flash in theaters.
Audiences are simply tired of the DCEU, and some fans fear that if Gunn leaves even a whiff of it on the upcoming reboot, the new universe will fail before it even starts. That's why some fans are pushing for Gunn not to move forward with the next season of Peacemaker, especially after both Miller and Jason Momoa's Aquaman made a cameo in the first season's finale.
DC Needs To Be Consistent With Recasting
It's understandable why neither Gunn nor his co-CEO Peter Safran were forthcoming with Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, and Jason Momoa being recast in the DCU with The Flash and Aquaman the Lost Kingdom on the horizon, but now that the former is nose-diving in theaters, why not cut their losses?
Gadot's future as the Amazonian superhero is already uncertain, and the two CEOs have been evasive whenever talking about Momoa being recast as a different character like Lobo. But, on the bright side, The Flash tanking at the box office has no doubt made the choice of recasting Miller for them.
But what does that mean for shows like Peacemaker and Waller and the other DCEU actors who plan to stick around? Should they all be recast or dropped to disconnect the DCU from the DCEU completely? In the past, Gunn has said that it isn't certain anyone from The Suicide Squad won't be recast.
Of course, it'd also be the safest option and would assure that no lingering presence of the previous failed universe and franchise could potentially confuse or put off audiences.
However, it appears Gunn is sticking to his guns and bringing multiple actors from The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker into the new DCU. So there are a few things he and DC Studios could do to mitigate their connections to the DCEU.
Peacemaker Pulling a Psycho-Pirate
When Gunn was asked on Bluesky shortly after The Flash released how Peacemaker would "work" in the new DCU, he said "You'll have to wait and see!"
If the plan is for John Cena and the rest of the cast to be ported into the new DCU, some fans have proposed another idea to cement it as separate from the DCEU to audiences.
In the comics, after the universe was rebooted in the aftermath of Crisis on Infinite Earths, few remembered there was a Multiverse with a supervillain named Psycho-Pirate being one of the few. But there were scrapped plans for Peacemaker to be the only one to remember it. Fans have therefore pushed the idea that John Cena's Peacemaker could be the only character to know about the old DCEU as a plot point.
However, the issue with this idea is that general audiences aren't going to care about this obscure fun fact from the comics. All that's going to matter to them is seeing the same actors that appeared in Peacemaker and bombs like Black Adam, which will just remind them of the DCEU.
What will get it through the heads of general audiences that it's a reboot isn't the context presented in the shows or films but if it's directly marketed as one.
Market Peacemaker & DCU as a Reboot
If there's something that Warner Bros. Discovery and DC Studios desperately have to do in the lead-up to the release of Waller and the next season of Peacemaker, it's marketing them as reboots by whatever means necessary. They have to totally disassociate them from the previous films made by the last regime.
Blue Beetle is already off to a good start by being a story completely separate from anything from the DCEU, aside from one name drop of Batman. Not only has Gunn called Blue Beetle "the first DCU character," but director Angel Manuel Sotohas also claimed that the film is "part of the plans that they have been creating for the future installments of the DCU."
It also helps that Waller and Peacemaker are still years away, not to mention the rest of the DCU after Superman: Legacy, which is expected to release in theaters on July 11, 2025. Hopefully, by then, it'll better help audiences separate those projects even further from the old universe.
All that's left of the DCEU is Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which premieres in theaters on December 20.