Peacemaker Finale Cameos – How James Gunn Reunited Zack Snyder’s Justice League
The finale of Peacemaker, the series from James Gunn starring John Cena, did the unexpected and reunited (part of) Zack Snyder’s Justice League via cameos. This series, itself a spinoff of Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, was a raunchy and violent story that kept an irreverent but loving tone about the DC Universe. In an earlier episode, John Cena’s Peacemaker is seen loudly mocking Batman and his villains. In fact, he has a lot of negative things to say about the other superheroes in DC’s world, including a very rude suggestion about Aquaman. (This will be important later.) Of course, the team of foul-ups who make up the rest of the ensemble cast have to do their level best to save the world. But, they aren’t the only ones looking to do that.
We’ll be getting into spoilers below. If you’ve not seen the Peacemaker finale – and sorry about spilling the beans on the Justice League cameos – let’s run it down spoiler-free. This show is what it is, and the ending presents the kind of morally gray (and wrong?) choice we should be used to with this character. Still, this is a series that has a lot of heart and shows that even though people may want to do the right thing, they don’t always pull it off.
The series has been renewed for season 2, and we might even be getting another James Gunn spinoff series of The Suicide Squad. Still, as strange as this was, this is a fun corner of the DCEU and it’s worth watching anytime James Gunn goes back to this well, especially because we sometimes get the Justice League. (For a minute.)
Peacemaker spoilers to follow.
How Zack Snyder’s Justice League Met Peacemaker in the Finale Cameos
Image via Warner Bros. Television
James Gunn and Zack Snyder go back a long way. Gunn wrote the script for Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead which put him on the map. So, despite “those fans” taking out a lot of misplaced hostility against James Gunn, he honored the world Zack Snyder built by not just name-dropping the Justice League but having them show up. (Of course, they showed up too late.) In the clip we clearly see characters meant to be Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill’s Superman, Ezra Miller’s Flash, and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman. The latter two characters are, surprisingly, played by their DCEU actors.
This is an interesting inclusion in the series that raises almost as many questions as it answers about the state of the DC Extended Universe. First thing we should note is that every character whose original actor still wants to work with Warner Bros. and DC Films is represented. Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, and Ezra Miller are all still heavily involved with DC Films. Second, while we’ve not heard anything concrete, Henry Cavill is rumored to be in negotiations to play Superman again. Ben Affleck has made it clear that his turn in The Flash movie is his final Batman performance. (At least in live-action, who knows if he’d be game to voice work?) Ray Fisher also isn’t coming back to DC, so the absence of Batman and Cyborg in this group does raise questions.
Personally, I am surprised Warner Bros. let James Gunn put these cameos of Zack Snyder’s Justice League in the Peacemaker finale. Yet, it makes sense that Gunn would share what he learned at Marvel Studios where a little goes a long way to create a shared universe. The NSFW dialogue at the end of the scene does more to create a sense of friendship than all of the playful banter in the Justice League theatrical cut combined. Whether Zack Snyder ever makes another DC project or not, thanks to Peacemaker fans can be happy imagining the off-screen world where these heroes can be anything they want them to be.
Here’s what James Gunn said about pulling off the Peacemaker finale cameos via Variety.com:
“I just wrote it and gave them the scripts. I don’t think they really realized what they had agreed to until they saw what I had shot, which was the Justice League there. And then I think the full weight of it and, you know, what does this mean for the DCU and all of that became huge pieces of conversation up to the very highest levels of Warners. And to their credit, they let me get away with it….
“I think before we ever shot the show, we talked to Jason about it. We were like, ‘Listen, Peacemake] says you f*ck fish all the time.’ And we were a little afraid he would be upset, but he just laughed. He was cool. So, he was pretty much on board from the beginning. And then Ezra I just found out through some common friends liked my movies a lot. And so, I asked if he would come in and shoot this scene, and he kindly agreed to do that.”
In fact, James Gunn gets credit for the first officially unofficial Marvel Studios and DC Films collaboration. Marvel actually shot Ezra Miller’s scene because that wasn’t in the show until Gunn already started filming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and the Disney+ holiday special. Of course, this is a favor owed. Peacemaker star Chukwudi Iwuji will be in Guardians 3, possibly as the High Evolutionary (who might be bringing mutants into the mix in the main MCU timeline). Yet, Gunn shot his screen test for Marvel Studios using the Warner Bros. crew.
He also said that no conversations were had about bringing in Gal Gadot or Henry Cavill, as both Momoa and Miller’s cameos came about because of lucky breaks.
Where Was Batman and Cyborg – Real World and In Narrative Answers
Image via Warner Bros. Television
Alas, for the two heroes we saw and the two alluded to, the James Gunn Justice League is down two members. When asked about the absence of Batman and Cyborg cameos, Gunn clammed up. He admitted that there were “reasons” those characters were off-the-table. Beyond that, he didn’t elaborate. Affleck’s desire to leave the Caped Crusader behind is known. And Ray Fisher has been very vocal about not wanting to work the current management of DC Films. If anything, leaving these characters out of the scene is an attempt at being respectful and, just maybe, keeping the doorway back cracked open. “It might have to do with future stuff,” James Gunn said.
The Cyborg problem is the biggest one. Ray Fisher is not eager to reprise the role, and he would possibly only do it if Snyder came back and DC Films executives left. (No worries though, he’s in the Rebel Moon cast list, the sci-fi epic Zack Snyder is making for Netflix.) Also, DC and Warner Bros. likely wants to avoid recasting the character until some time has passed. Though, worth noting in the Crisis On Infinite Earths finale, Miller’s Flash mentioned “Vic” by name. So, who knows?
With Batman, he’s always kind of been a Justice League part-timer. Some might worry that this confirms that Batfleck dies in The Flash movie, but this scene is almost guaranteed to take place before that. Barry is wearing his original costume, not the snazzy new speedforce duds he gets in the movie. The beauty of comic book logic, however, is that even if they totally whiff whatever explanation they land on, they can just re-do it with Flash time-travel or multiverse-wulty-verse explanations. If anything, I think the absences of those characters means that someone at Warner Bros. hopes to see those actors reprise their roles. (Especially after Spider-Man: No Way Home made ALL the money at the box office.)
Image via Warner Bros. Television
The Peacemaker series is now streaming on HBO Max.
What did you think of the cameos of most of Zack Snyder’s Justice League in the Peacemaker finale? Did you think James Gunn honored or sent up Zack Snyder’s version of the Justice League in the Peacemaker finale? Share your thoughts, reactions, theories, and fan-fiction ideas for where Batman and Cyborg are in the comments below.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book of superhero short stories, Tales of Adventure & Fantasy: Book One is available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon.