The Suicide Squad is introducing moviegoers to some of the weirdest and most obscure DC villains this side of Condiment King. And none are more bizarre than Peacemaker, the vigilante so devoted to peace that he’ll kill literally anyone to preserve it. Not only does this DCEU movie sequel feature John Cena as Peacemaker, but the character will also then branch out in his own spinoff series on HBO Max.
Haven’t heard of Peacemaker? The Suicide Squad writer-director James Gunn describes him as a superhero, supervillain, and the world’s biggest douchebag.
“He’s like a douchey Captain America,” agreed Cena when his take on the character was first revealed during DC FanDome.
“[Peacemaker is] a guy who believes in peace at any cost, no matter how many people he needs to kill along the way,” Gunn added.
But just who is this violent vigilante? Let’s meet Christopher Smith, a.k.a. DC Comics’ Peacemaker. In this article, we’ll cover the following:
- Who Is Peacemaker?
- Peacemaker’s Origin
- Peacemaker’s Powers and Abilities
- John Cena in The Suicide Squad
Who Is DC’s Peacemaker? John Cena’s The Suicide Squad Character Explained
Who Is Peacemaker?
Christopher Smith was a pacifist when he made his first appearance in Charlton Comics’ The Fightin’ 5 #40. A member of a paramilitary force dedicated to keeping the world safe, only non-lethal weapons were kept in his arsenal—until the character was revamped in an explosive four-issue miniseries in 1988. After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, in which he made his DC Comics debut, this new version of Christopher Smith still wanted to keep the peace… so much, in fact, that the haunted crimefighter is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure it.
“I’m Peacemaker,” the unstable anti-hero yells, “and I’ll kill to keep the peace!”
Born Christopher Schmidt, Peacemaker was the only child of a wealthy couple. Smith’s father, a former Nazi concentration camp commandant, valued strength and power above all. He died by suicide when Smith was just five years old. Smith saw it happen. The troubled young boy would go on to the military after completing high school, where he came face to face with the horrific realities of war.
Accused of massacring innocent people, Smith was arrested and tried for war crimes. While serving his sentence, he agreed to join a secret Pentagon anti-terrorism program called Project: Peacemaker. The agents in the program trained on a high-tech military base but were never deployed, and Smith was eventually freed on his promised parole. The idea later inspired Smith to become a costumed crimefighter as a form of penance for the terrible crimes both he and his father committed.
As he unleashed his form of justice, Smith often heard the voice of his father in his head. It continued to plague him well into his raging crusade for peace. The vigilante suffered from delusions that not only was the spirit of his father haunting him, but also that the voices of those he had slain were trapped inside his unusual helmet.
Peacemaker operated under the Agency, a secret government organization that sent the well-armed warrior on anti-terrorism missions around the world. His fragile state of mind made him an unpredictable asset, and the Agency attempted to keep him as stable as possible through therapy and highly trained agents working with him.
He was said to have been killed at the hands of Eclipso on a mission for Checkmate (a division of Task Force X, the same super-secret government organization that spawned the Suicide Squad), but years later he returned to the hero business to help new Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes. Smith was also identified as a potential recruit of the fear-powered Sinestro Corps because of the terror he had inflicted as Peacemaker, but the yellow power ring ultimately rejected him. He served as a partner and mentor to Jaime for a short time.
Peacemaker was last seen joining the fight against Doctor Manhattan in 2019’s Doomsday Clock #13. This is strangely fitting as the story that became Watchmen was originally pitched as “Who Killed the Peacemaker?” As with many of Watchmen’s characters, who were based on Charlton Comics players, Peacemaker was the inspiration behind the Comedian.
The Suicide Squad Who’s Who: Full Cast and Character Reveals
Peacemaker’s Powers and Abilities
The anti-hero is a master of weapons. He wields deadly, technologically advanced weaponry and wears bulletproof body armor as he dispenses justice. The strange-looking silver helmet on Peacemaker’s head is capable of emitting ultrasonic frequencies to overwhelm the senses of anyone in range, as well as scramble electronic signals. The helmet also contains long-range sensors for detecting any hostile forces in the area.
Peacemaker has other high-tech gadgetry at his disposal, including a decked-out jet plane and a jetpack that grants him the ability to fly.
John Cena in The Suicide Squad
While Smith wasn’t officially a member of the Suicide Squad in the comics, he did operate under the purview of Amanda Waller and Task Force X like that top-secret team. DC FanDome gave fans their first look at the gun-toting character as he finally joins the team in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad sequel. Peacemaker is among a number of new Task Force X recruits, all of whom are charged with infiltrating war-torn Corto Maltese and destroying a secret laboratory that may or may not contain the enormous starfish kaiju known as Starro.
Little is known about the HBO Max Peacemaker series, which will also feature John Cena as the character, but we do know the series will serve as an origin story for the character, which doesn’t rule out the possibility that Peacemaker will die in The Suicide Squad. The cast also includes Steve Agee as John Economos, Danielle Brooks as Leota Adebayo, Robert Patrick as Auggie Smith, Jennifer Holland as Emilia Harcourt, Chris Conrad as the DC Comics character Vigilante/Adrian Chase and Nhut Le as Judomaster.
The eight-episode HBO Max series, begins production in 2021 and will debut on HBO Max in January 2022. “Peacemaker will be live-action and action-packed. His shotgun will be single action. His favorite movie is Action Jackson,” Gunn teased on Twitter.
The Peacemaker TV series is expected to debut in January 2022, and will feature eight episodes in its first season.
For more on The Suicide Squad, check out our movie review, catch up on how to watch The Suicide Squad, find out who won our Face-Off of the best DC Comics villain of all time, or dig in on the backstories of the Suicide Squad characters Bloodsport and TDK.
Aug. 4, 2021: This story has been updated with the latest information about The Suicide Squad.
Kelly Knox is a freelance entertainment writer who also contributes to StarWars.com, DCComics.com, Nerdist, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, and comics.