James Gunn defends Peacemaker's decision to kill Rick Flag in The Suicide Squad, with him feeling remorse for his actions in the Peacemaker TV series. Written and directed by Gunn, The Suicide Squad is a standalone soft reboot of the critically divisive Suicide Squad movie from 2016, directed by David Ayer. The film features an all-star cast including Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, Viola Davis, Sylvester Stallone, Pete Davidson, Joel Kinnaman, and John Cena as Christopher Smith/Peacemaker.
Based on characters from DC, The Suicide Squad follows the titular group of convicts as they're sent to destroy a giant alien starfish, Starro the Conqueror. Along the way, it's revealed that Peacemaker is on a secret mission of his own: to cover up the U.S. involvement in bringing Starro to Earth. This enrages Kinnaman's Rick Flag, leading to the latter's death in a tense battle during the film's third act. While Cena's character was also presumed dead by the end, The Suicide Squad's post-credits scene revealed Peacemaker to be alive, serving as a launch pad for Gunn's Peacemaker TV series. Peacemaker episodes 1 to 3 have already aired, with the final five to release weekly on HBO Max.
On Podly: The Peacemaker Podcast, Gunn defended the decision following criticism by fans for Peacemaker's actions. He says that in Peacemaker's mind, Flag leaking info about the U.S.' involvement in Project Starfish would have caused "a great amount of disturbance," working against his ultimate goal of achieving peace no matter what it takes. As a result, Flag attacks him, which justifies the use of deadly force for Peacemaker. However, he ultimately feels remorse and guilt for his actions, shedding tears over it in Peacemaker episode 2. Read Gunn's quote below:
"People constantly are writing on Twitter about how awful [Peacemaker] is and how mad they are that he killed Rick Flag — and I may get shit for saying this — but what he was doing, he had a reason for doing it. He kills Rick Flag in The Suicide Squad because there's a piece of evidence that he believes will cause the world a great amount of disturbance and death and violence. He's covering up the truth, so if you believe in the truth being out there no matter what, you definitely don't agree with that."
Peacemaker has received rave reviews from critics so far, with many praising Gunn's writing and direction, as well as Cena's central performance. The limited series will run for a total of eight episodes, with Gunn having already teased an epic and shocking final episode 8. Along with Cena, the series features Tony-nominee Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, Jennifer Holland, Steve Agee, and Robert Patrick. It's not yet clear how much more Peacemaker plans to delve deeper into the events of The Suicide Squad beyond Flag's death, or whether any of its cast could be expected to make a cameo in the show.
Peacemaker is the first TV series from the DC Extended Universe, but since its debut has proven a hit among most audiences. Peacemaker shows that if Warner Bros. allows more auteur driver projects to go forward, like Marvel, the studio can find success in TV spinoffs. Gunn's passion and distinct eye have led to a lot of success for both DC and Marvel, showing that even in massive budget entertainment, the filmmakers still has value in making media feel unique and personal. With Gunn hinting at more The Suicide Squad spinoffs, superhero fans have much more to look forward to from the acclaimed director.
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Source: Podly: The Peacemaker Podcast