Editor's note: this post contains spoilers for season one of HBO Max's Peacemaker.
John Cena’s Peacemaker is the queer superhero we need right now, and it’s all thanks to the actor that we got him in the first place.
After some speculation due to earlier scenes where Peacemaker had a threesome with his male friend and fellow superhero Vigilante, as well as the mention that he had sex with men while in prison, we found out that the antihero was queer in last week’s epsiode of the HBO Max series.
In that episode, Peacemaker is fighting his father when his father yells at him for sleeping with “whores of polluted blood” and men.
Empire talked with Peacemaker creator James Gunn and found out the background of how they decided to make the antihero queer. Originally, Gunn wanted Peacemaker to be a typical straight, white male. But John Cena, who plays him, had other ideas.
Gunn was talking with Empire about the relationship between Peacemaker and Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks). “She is his polar opposite in so many ways, politically. She’s a Black, gay woman. He’s a white, straight – nah, he’s not straight – white, whatever-he-is male,” Gunn said. “And yet they really like each other. They have a lot in common. Peacemaker is an interesting character because he’s so f***ed up in so many ways, and then in other ways, he is kind of weirdly forward-thinking.”
Gunn also revealed how Peacemaker became queer in the process of making the show. “John does improv all the time, and he just turned Christopher Smith into this hyper-sexualized dude that is open to anything sexually,” he said. “I was surprised by that. But I thought, ‘I guess it makes sense that this guy isn’t one-dimensional.’”
The Peacemaker showrunner added that “we see in the show that he doesn’t have any issues with sexuality. As long as you’re not f***ing animals – that he’s not into. But besides that, he’s pretty open. And yet other things he’s completely close-minded on.”
Gunn added that Peacemaker grew up suffering homophobic abuse from his father, the white supremacist supervillain White Dragon. “I think the hair metal [that he listens to] is actually kind of a beautiful thing about Peacemaker,” Gunn said. “It does have that cocky male swagger that he has, but hair metal is also a way he rebelled against his father. There are the androgynous aspects of it, and his dad probably called him all sorts of homophobic slurs because he was listening to it.”
“But he owned it. It was his,” Gunn continued. “Something that was outside the realm of his father. He loves that music and he’s able to just escape into it and rock out and be okay. I think he’s grateful to the music for that.”
Hopefully, if the show is picked up for a second season, we’ll all get the John Cena queer sex scene we’ve been dreaming of.
The season finale of Peacemaker debuts on HBO Max on Thursday, February 17.