HBO Max’s Peacemaker trailer was revealed at DC FanDome – and here’s a full breakdown of everything revealed. Played by John Cena, Peacemaker made his DCEU debut in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. Although Peacemaker considers himself a superhero, he still wound up in Belle Reve – presumably for killing the wrong people. Amanda Waller will have been delighted to get her hands on Peacemaker, because she could be confident he’d obey orders – especially if he felt those orders protected America’s reputation.
The Suicide Squad may not grossed as much as Warner Bros. hoped, but they nevertheless greenlit a spinoff TV series set up in The Suicide Squad‘s post-credits scene, helmed by James Gunn himself. This is the first TV series to take place in the DCEU, meaning the franchise is once again imitiating the MCU by embracing the potential of transmedia. But Peacemaker has a very different tone and style to anything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; indeed, the only thing tonally similar to it in the DCEU is Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.
DC released a full trailer for Peacemaker at the DC FanDome event, giving a taste of the brutal vigilante’s ongoing story – and hinting he may not be fighting on the side of the angels after all. It’s full of humor, introduces a number of new characters, and features just as many gunshots as you’d expect. Here’s our full breakdown of the Peacemaker trailer.
The opening scene in the Peacemaker trailer reveals the story picks up straight from the end of The Suicide Squad. Although Peacemaker considers himself a superhero, in reality he was the one who turned on the rest of the team – and he almost died as a result. He’s still in hospital, and he can’t resist telling a random cleaner about his being a hero; he doesn’t get the reaction he expects. This serves as the perfect setup for the Peacemaker series, given realistically he’s the last person any comic book reader would have expected to get their own show.
The Peacemaker trailer moves on to show Peacemaker training with Vigilante, his brother-in-arms. Played by Freddie Stroma, Vigilante is a district attorney who fights crime with the law by day, before taking the law into his own hands by night. He’s often teamed up with Peacemaker in the comics, and the two appear to have the same kind of skillset. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Peacemaker ultimately end in the two going head-to-head, with Peacemaker forced to take down his one true friend.
The Peacemaker trailer moves on to establish its basic premise, Peacemaker’s central mission; to perform black ops missions on behalf of Amanda Waller’s team, and in doing so to stay out of prison. This is a logical extension of Task Force X, and in part it’s been put together by Waller to punish members of her team who rebelled during The Suicide Squad. This particular project is led by Clemson Murn, a mercenary hired by Waller because of his specific skillset. It’s likely Waller believes he possesses the skills to take Peacemaker out if necessary.
Emilia Harcourt is the NSA agent who led the rebellion against Amanda Waller in The Suicide Squad, and she’s now Peacemaker’s handler. In the comics, she was a terrorist who infiltrated ARGUS and took control of Task Force X; she was eventually killed by Waller, who had carefully manipulated events to expose Harcourt’s treachery. She’s now serving as Peacemaker’s handler, and he’s clearly smitten with her, in large part because of her stunning combat skills. Given Harcourt’s comic book background, she may well turn out to be a traitor.
Every team needs a “man in the chair,” and in Peacemaker that’s John Economos – another operative who used to work for Amanda Waller as part of Task Force X’s support team. Unlike Harcourt, John Economos has no basis in the comics; he’s an original character. He appears to be well-meaning, and if Harcourt does indeed prove to be a traitor he’ll presumably be a key part in bringing her down.
Finally, Leota Adebayo is a brand new recruit to this particular ARGUS program. Described as “smart, driven, full-figured and capable, but with her fair share of insecurities,” she’s a relatively inexperienced field operative who nevertheless finds herself drawn into action – even shooting someone straight after Peacemaker has killed her. The relationship between Adebayo and Peacemaker is expected to be a fun one, with the murderous vigilante taking her under his wing.
The final member of this mismatched team is one Amanda Waller never expected to recruit; Vigilante, who seems to turn up simply to check up on his pal Peacemaker and decides he wants to help out. The team’s introduction to Vigilante is played for laughs, with Vigilante encouraging Harcourt, Economos and Adebayo to underestimate him. It’s possible he isn’t quite so ridiculous as he seems, though, and instead he winds up a threat.
Peacemaker’s first target is a United States senator, Royland Goff (explaining the title of episode 3, “Better Goff Dead”). This certainly raises a number of red flags, suggesting this mission may have gone off the rails right from the start, but Peacemaker is too naive to question the idea of assassinating a U.S. senator. Again, Goff is an entirely original character, meaning there’s no way to know whether Amanda Waller has targeted him for specific reasons – say, due to criminal connections or corruption – or whether he’s instead been targeted by Harcourt for more nefarious purposes. The episode titles suggest it will take three episodes to bring this particular mission to a climax, so clearly the team aren’t particularly efficient.
In a surreal intervention that demonstrates James Gunn’s trademark humor, Peacemaker sidetracks the mission debrief by discussing “butt babies.” Apparently his brother managed to persuade him particularly ugly children are birthed from a mother’s backside, and for years Peacemaker assumed he was a “butt baby” himself. It’s a perfect demonstration of Peacemaker’s stupidity and naivete, suggesting he really will believe anything he’s told. It’s no wonder he wound up in Belle Reve, given he’d believe anything he saw on the news and take lethal action as a result.
It seems the HBO Max TV series will actually explore Peacemaker’s origin, which is something of a surprise. One shot in the trailer shows Peacemaker visiting his dad, an extremely patriotic individual who seems to disapprove of his son – even complaining at his being a “nancy boy.” It’s unclear why Peacemaker has gone to visit his father, given their relationship seems rather strained, but later comments in the trailer suggest this is where he gets his car and pet American eagle.
One of the more surprising moments in the Peacemaker trailer seets its titular hero question why people treat him as though he’s a maniac. It’s immediately followed by a shot of Peacemaker and Vigilante about to gun down someone they shouldn’t, making it quite clear why he’s treated that way; still, this is a level of observation and self-reflection that Peacemaker hasn’t shown before. It suggests Peacemaker won’t simply be a mindless vigilante in this HBO Max series, but instead that he’ll have a character arc of some kind.
Judomaster is one of the more mysterious figures in Peacemaker, a skilled martial artist who reportedly has some sort of connection to Peacemaker himself. There have been several incarnations of Judomaster in the comics, but they’ve typically been superheroes – one was even a member of the Justice Society of America – so it’s surprising to see one positioned as an antagonist. That said, given Peacemaker’s first mission is to kill a U.S. senator, it’s possible he draws the attention of real superheroes and more reputed vigilantes.
The Peacemaker trailer doesn’t exactly hide the fact its protagonists are deeply disturbed; one amusing shot shows Vigilante wielding a chainsaw, evidently eager to use it to cut somebody apart, and he’s holding it as though it’s a Phallic symbol. This shot is accompanied by dialogue in which Vigilante presents his philosophy to Peacemaker, accepting the two of them are killers but insisting it’s okay because they only kill bad people – well, mostly. There’s a level of self-awareness to Vigilante that Peacemaker doesn’t possess, one that supports the theory he’s actually a rogue.
Peacemaker and Adebayo seem to become friends, and one shot shows her giving Peacemaker some basic psychoanalysis; she suggests he uses being a jerk as a defense mechanism to push people away. The comments support the idea Peacemark develops as a character over the course of the series, suggesting he’ll learn how to relate to and interact with others. This theme isn’t especially unusual for James Gunn; his Guardians of the Galaxy films were about a bunch of a**holes learning to be a family as well.
James Gunn is well-known for his love of integrating popular music into his films, so it’s no surprise to see even Peacemaker gets a dance scene. It’s unclear what causes this outpouring of joy from Peacemaker, but the structure of the trailer suggests it’s because he’s learning to actually build friendships – for probably the first time in his life. Given Peacemaker is rather more adult fare than your typical superhero TV show, Gunn chooses to have this dance scene take place in Peacemaker’s room – when he’s wearing nothing but his underwear.
Judomaster seems to be a major character in Peacemaker, although his precious role is a mystery right now. The Peacemaker trailer shows a number of action scenes featuring him, including one at night – which may suggest he’s reconnoitering around the vigilante team’s base. Both Harcourt and one incarnation of Judomaster have ties to an espionage agency called Checkmate in the comics, so it’s possible the two are connected through that.
Superhero landings have become a common trope in the genre over the last few decades – and it’s become traditional for more humorous superhero films and TV shows to mock the idea, riffing on Deadpool‘s explicit shout-out to them. In the case of Peacemaker, appropriately enough he simply lacks the skill and sense of coordination to manage a good superhero landing, crashing into a series of balconies before landing painfully on his back – watched by his team, who wince in sympathy. It’s a smart way of reminding viewers Peacemaker isn’t really a superhero, but falls far short of that ideal.
The Peacemaker trailer shows Judomaster caught up in a car crash – likely one that’s been engineered by Peacemaker. It suggests the feud between Judomaster and the Peacemaker team will escalate over the course of the HBO Max TV series – but, as noted, it’s still impossible to say who’s fighting on the side of the angels. The interesting question is whether or not there’ll be any collateral damage.
The Peacemaker trailer doesn’t pull any punches, assuring viewers its hero will get beaten up quite a lot – including by a super-strong woman who can literally toss him through a brick wall. Both the mystery woman and Peacemaker are in a state of undress, suggesting this fight follows a sex scene. It’s unclear who the superhuman woman is, or what part she plays in the series – but Peacemaker may well come to regret this particular liaison.
A patriot to the core – which is why he obeyed Amanda Waller’s instructions in The Suicide Squad – Peacemaker has a pet American eagle named Eagly. One of the more surreal shots in the Peacemaker trailer shows him in his car, taking Eagly for a drive; the American eagle is sticking its head out the window to enjoy the breeze in a moment reminiscent of someone taking their dog out. Again, this demonstrates James Gunn’s typical sense of humor.
The Peacemaker trailer follows the Marvel formula, ending with a humorous note. In this case, Peacemaker is given a surprising hug by Eagly. Delighted, he tries to tell his dad to get his phone to take a photo, unaware his father has walked away. It’s a great scene, and it suggests Eagly is really owned by Peacemaker’s father – this seems to be his dad’s garage, and there’s a perch on which Eagly is resting. Peacemaker may well take Eagly simply because he’s become attached to the American eagle.
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