James Gunn’s “Peacemaker” is almost ready for its online debut, and as the show nears its HBO Max launch, information is starting to emerge concerning a big casting shift that took place behind-the-scenes and necessitated extensive reshoots. In “Peacemaker,” a spin-off of “The Suicide Squad,” John Cena reprises his role as the antihero of the same name who, in his everyday life, goes by the name Christopher Smith. Adrian Chase, a district attorney who moonlights as the vigilante Vigilante, is played by Freddie Stroma, well known for playing Cormac McLaggen in the “Harry Potter” movie series.
For five and a half of the eight episodes in the first season, actor Chris Conrad (“Patriot”) has already shot scenes for the role of Vigilante. However, he quickly left “Peacemaker” due to what appear to be standard creative disagreements, forcing Stroma to take over. Gunn went back and reshot each of Vigilante’s moments with Stroma rather than switching horses (or actors) in the middle of the action. In an interview with ScreenRant, he addressed a query regarding the recasting of Vigilante and provided the following explanation of what transpired that caused Conrad’s departure and the ensuing reshoots:
“[Stroma] came in late. We had already shot five-and-a-half episodes with another actor [Conrad], who’s an incredibly talented guy, but we were on different pages about certain things, and I don’t think he wanted to continue on the series in the long run. So we brought Freddie in, five-and-a-half episodes in, and I reshot all of his scenes, and you’re the first person who asked me that question, which I’m surprised by. But yeah, we re-shot. I directed all of the scenes with Vigilante in five and a half episodes.”
Extending the “DC Extended Universe”
With “Peacemaker,” the shared world known as the DC Extended Universe, or DCEU, enters the streaming television market for the first time. The Disney+ series produced by Marvel Studios, including “WandaVision,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” “Loki,” “What If…?” and “Hawkeye,” have already aired for a full year. DC must now play catch-up in the streaming wars, but this is really no different from the challenges it has faced in the movie industry.
The DCEU had a rocky start, but it improved once it stopped attempting to emulate Marvel’s shared-universe approach and instead concentrated on creating the finest solo films it could. It explores the cosmos with “The Flash,” and with “Peacemaker,” it circles back to a spin-off with ties to one of its films.
In “The Suicide Squad,” Cena’s character proved to be a true rotten apple, but perhaps his friendship with Stroma’s Vigilante will at least make his actions more comprehensible. On January 13, 2022, the first three episodes of “Peacemaker” will debut on HBO Max, providing more information.