HBO Max has given a straight-to-series order for “Peacemaker,” a spinoff from the upcoming “Suicide Squad” film. John Cena will play the title role, reprising his role from the film. The film’s writer and director, James Gunn, will also write the series and direct multiple episodes, including the pilot.
HBO Max has ordered eight episodes of the show based on the DC Comics character, which is described as an action adventure comedy. The exact plot of the series is being kept under wraps, but it is said it will explore the origins of Peacemaker, a man who believes in peace at any cost, no matter how many people he has to kill to get it. Production is slated to begin in early 2021, prior to Gunn starting work on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” “The Suicide Squad” is set to be released in theaters Aug. 6, 2021.
“’Peacemaker’ is an opportunity to delve into current world issues through the lens of this superhero/supervillain/and world’s biggest douchebag,” Gunn said. “I’m excited to expand ‘The Suicide Squad’ and bring this character from the DC film universe to the full breadth of a series. And of course, to be able to work again with John, Peter, and my friends at Warner Bros. is the icing on the cake.”
Cena will serve as co-executive producer in addition to starring. Gunn will executive produce via Troll Court Entertainment with “Suicide Squad” producer Peter Safran also executive producing for The Safran Company. Warner Bros. Television will serve as the studio.
The series expands Gunn’s role within the DC universe, having already established himself within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He wrote and directed the first two installments of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, which collectively grossed over $1.6 billion globally. He was also an executive producer on both “Avengers: Endgame” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”
He is repped by UTA, The Safran Company, and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.
“I have said before that it has been a tremendous honor and an incredible opportunity to be part of ‘The Suicide Squad’ and to work with James on what is going to be a fantastic movie,” Cena said. “I am unbelievably excited to have the chance to team up with him again for ‘Peacemaker.’ We can’t wait for fans to see this.”
Cena is best known for his time in the WWE, where he is a 16-time world champion. He has been pursuing acting more seriously of late, having starred in films such as “Blockers,” “Trainwreck,” “Bumblebee,” “Ferdinand,” and the upcoming ninth installment of the “Fast & Furious” franchise. He also currently hosts “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?” on Nickelodeon.
He is repped by ICM.
“James Gunn has the unique ability to create an expansive universe while also bringing to life the soul and wit of each character. We look forward to a deep dive into the world of ‘Peacemaker,’” said Casey Bloys, chief content officer for HBO and HBO Max.
“Peacemaker” is now the second television expansion of a DC franchise to come to HBO Max. It was announced in July that Matt Reeves and Terrence Winter had received a series commitment from the streamer to create a series about the Gotham PD. The series is meant to tie in to the upcoming Batman film starring Robert Pattinson.
More from Variety
Best of Variety