John Cena’s long, slow embrace of his talents as a comedy star hit a new milestone this afternoon, as HBO Max released the first trailer for Peacemaker, the TV expansion of Cena’s The Suicide Squad vigilante. Produced, written, and partially directed by James Gunn, the series promises to dig deep into a character whose unthinking, hyper-violent love of peace—and Cena’s gift for delivering the dumbest imaginable lines with the ultimate degree of conviction—made him one of the more enjoyable parts of Gunn’s latest film.
Interestingly, the trailer for the series dives a little deeper into the character’s skewed psychology—albeit in a way that still involves a bunch of gunfire, dick jokes, and Cena dancing around in his tighty-whities. Gunn has surrounded the character with a whole new set of foils, including an overly-enthusiastic vigilante (Freddie Stroma), a tech guy (Steve Agee, reprising his Suicide Squad role), an NSA handler (Jennifer Holland, same), and a new assistant.
That latter role, “new recruit” Leota, is the most interesting, both a) because she’s played by Orange Is The New Black star Danielle Brooks, who’s typically great, and b) because she seems to be the only person who notices that Cena’s lantern-jawed killer is a deeply sad dude under all that bluster. (Possibly because he was traumatized by the sight of whatever the hell is going on with Robert Patrick’s hair in this trailer.)
All of that feelings stuff gets mostly relegated to subtext, though: The Peacemaker trailer is mostly about cracking jokes, shooting stuff, and hugging bald eagles. (Oh, and a whole conversation about “butt babies” that is both totally bizarre, and a pretty perfect window into Peacemaker’s middle school psychology.)
HBO Max also released a premiere date for the series: You’ll be able to enjoy all of Gunn and Cena’s chaos—literal needle drops and all—on January 13, 2022.