Peacemaker creator credits John Cena with inspiring him to make DC Comics hero queer

John Cena is seen wearing the Peacemaker costume

Peacemaker series creator James Gunn has revealed that John Cena is the reason why the titular character is “not straight”.

In an interview with Empire, via Slashfilm, Gunn explained how Cena’s Peacemaker is the “polar opposite” to Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) – a Black, lesbian woman who joined Peacemaker’s team to support her wife.

“He’s a white, straight — nah, he’s not straight [laughs] — white, whatever-he-is male,” Gunn said. “And yet they really like each other.”

In a recent episode of Peacemaker, the hero was outed during a heartbreaking fight with his dad, a white supremacist villain named the White Dragon (Robert Patrick), who lambasted him for sleeping with “w****s of polluted blood” and men.

The scene concluded with Peacemaker eventually killing his father.

Gunn said that Cena was the driving force behind Peacemaker being depicted as queer.

“John does improv all the time, and he just turned Christopher Smith into this hyper-sexualised 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’.”

Gunn added that Peacemaker’s love of “hair metal” – a subgenre of heavy metal that features pop-influenced themes and was popularised in the 70s and 80s – was one way he “rebelled against his father”.

“There’re the androgynous aspects of it, and his dad probably called him all sorts of homophobic slurs because he was listening to it,” Gunn said. “But he owned it. It was his. Something that was outside the realm of his father.”

While Peacemaker was outed in the most violent of ways, many fans recovered quickly enough to celebrate him as a “bi king”.

The season one finale of Peacemaker premieres on 17 February on HBO Max.