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James Gunn Talks Peacemaker Cameos, Future in Television


The cast of HBO Max's Peacemaker, in a promotional image for the show.

Image: HBO Max

Earlier this week, James Gunn’s Peacemaker brought its story to a violent, emotionally fulfilling conclusion. That may not have been surprising, given Gunn’s track record, particularly Guardians of the Galaxy 2’s stunning ending. What was surprising—well, in addition to the Big Thing, but we’ll get to that—was how well suited for television that Gunn ended up being, given this was his first go at it.

Speaking with Variety as a post-mortem on the season, the director/writer admitted he found doing a TV show exciting, so much so that he plans on doing it a little while longer. After Guardians of the Galaxy 3 wraps up, he talked about doing TV for “at least a year.” Along with season 2 of Peacemaker, at least one of them we already know will be another spinoff focused on a different character from The Suicide Squad, which he believed would have more information about it come out relatively soon. But it sounds like other shows (be it Marvel or something original) are in the works, and he’ll different levels of input on each: he’ll write and direct Peacemaker, for example, but may only write one show or just direct episodes of another.

Now then, let’s get to those spoilers, shall we? If you know, you know. And if you don’t, you should definitely watch the finale first before reading this.

Image for article titled James Gunn Talks Transitioning to TV and Those Peacemaker Cameos

Having saved the world from the alien Butterflies and their cow that produces nectar, Peacemaker (John Cena) and his team are walking away from the battlefield when suddenly, four silhouettes show up: Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Flash. Yes, the Justice League are still around and kicking in the timeline of Peacemaker, they were just extremely late to all the weirdness going on. (Something Peacemaker vulgarly berates them for, naturally.) While Team Peacemaker walks away from the battlefield, Flash (Ezra Miller) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa) have some brief vulgar banter about the recurring gag about if Aquaman “fucks fish.”

According to Gunn, getting Momoa on hand was easy, with Miller coming onboard a little later thanks to common friends. Gunn only thought he’d be getting Momoa, which is why he never thought about asking Henry Cavill or Gal Gadot if they wanted to be a brief part of the show. (Superman and Wonder Woman are bathed in shadow and played by stand-in actors who don’t speak.) Very briefly, Gunn danced around the two notable omissions of Batman and Cyborg, only saying there were “reasons” for it that he wasn’t fully certain he could discuss. “It might have to do with future stuff.”

Gunn explained that the process of getting the League in the show was both fairly easy, and had some challenges behind it. He’d written the League into the episode, but it was only when they’d shot the scene did he think WB realized they needed to get some things straight. “What does this mean for the DCU, and all of that became huge pieces of conversation up to the very highest levels of Warners,” said Gunn. He’s glad that WB let him use those cameos, even if they “had to show up late” because of the show’s budget.

Surprisingly, Marvel had a hand in the cameos as well. Because the Peacemaker crew filmed Clemson Murn’s actor Chikwudi Iwuji screen test for Guardians 3, Marvel “owed” DC, as Gunn put it. While Guardians 3 was filming, some of the crew went ahead and did Miller’s cameo. But overall, the process of getting those heroes into the show was relatively easy, as he’d already written them in the episode proper. (Because of the budget, he joked that they “had to show up late.”) It was only when the scene was shot, said Gunn, that he believed WB finally realized they needed to get some things straight. “What does this mean for the DCU, and all of that became huge pieces of conversation,” he said. Those conversations apparently went to the highest levels of WB, and he’s grateful that everything managed to align. “To their credit, they let me get away with it.”

You can watch all of Peacemaker’s first season over on HBO Max. Let us know in the comments below what you thought of the finale and the season overall.


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