TV Talk

Peacemaker Series: James Gunn Admits the Character 'Has a Lot of Issues'

John Cena's HBO Max "hero" isn't going to be easy to like. Plus, Kathryn Hahn to play Joan Rivers, Let the Right One In ordered to series, and more top top TV and streaming news.

by | September 27, 2021 | Comments


A Peacemaker series chat closed out HBO and HBO Max’s Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour panels, TUDUM event celebrates Netfix’s biggest new and returning titles, WandaVision Emmy nominee Kathryn Hahn will play Joan Rivers in Showtime limited series,  Eddie Murphy signs Amazon deal, Let the Right One In vampire story ordered to series, and more top TV news.


Peacemaker Spin-off Series Examines Flawed The Suicide Squad Character

Peacemaker series cast is led by John Cena (far right)

(Photo by Katie Yu/HBO Max)

We can say very little – pretty much nothing specific, actually – about HBO Max’s upcoming Peacemaker series, but we can say that based on the sneak peek the streaming service provided to Television Critics Association members last week, the pilot of The Suicide Squad spin-off is fun and funny, with an opening credits sequence that is one of the most unique, in a good way, we’ve seen in a long time.

But Peacemaker creator James Gunn does admit that his titular character, played, as in the movie, by John Cena, is not the easiest guy to like, Gunn, who wrote all eight episodes of the first season, did give the character some nuances.

“Peacemaker has a lot of issues … I don’t sit down and say, ‘Oh, I’ve got to make this character likeable,’” Gunn said. “I just sit down and I try to make a character as fully fledged as possible. One of the things, though, that made me want to tell the story of Peacemaker is that he has a lot to learn. At the end of Suicide Squad, Bloodsport learns a lot. He’s a better person than he was at the beginning. A lot of the characters are much better than they were at the beginning, and Peacemaker has a lot to learn, and it wouldn’t take just one season of TV for him to learn that.

“And his blind spots are pretty, in some places, are pretty terrible, and then some places are just him being ignorant, and I think that’s an important distinction to make as well … Peacemaker is almost every guy that I grew up with in Missouri. He isn’t that much different than a lot of people I know, so I don’t find him like, as terrible as he is at times; he’s also kind of common. And I think that telling that story for a guy like that with those blind spots is important, because everybody on TV is either totally good and totally perfect or they’re evil, often times. Obviously, there’s a lot of great shows that aren’t like that. But I think that it’s fun to make a superhero especially, or supervillain, or whatever you want to think of him as, that has a lot of nuances.”

Peacemaker is scheduled to premiere on HBO Max in January.

In other TCA WarnerMedia news:

• Succession Emmy winner Jeremy Strong said viewers can expect a stronger, freer Kendall Roy in Season 3, which he thinks first began after the shocking Season 2-ending press conference in which Kendall essentially declared war on his father.

“I felt that after the press conference it was as if I’d sat under the Bodhi tree and achieved a moment of clarity and what feels for Kendall like enlightenment and liberation,” Strong said. “And so I think we see a sort of airborne Kendall at the beginning of the season, someone who feels like he’s finally wrested himself free from the chains that have been binding him. And, yeah, there’s an airborne quality to it. And (showrunner) Jesse (Armstrong) did say to me, it was as if Napoleon is sacking Moscow and everyone has left the city, so it’s sort of a pyric victory, which I think is part of what we explore in Season 3.”

Succession season 3 premieres on HBO on Oct. 17.

•  HBO Max released a trailer for Mindy Kaling’s The Sex Lives of College Girl, a new comedy following four college roommates as they arrive at New England’s prestigious Essex College and have to juggle the desire for independence and freedom, while also unsure of how to handle both.

The series stars Pauline Chalamet (yes, Timothée sister), Amrit Kaur, Reneé Rapp, and Alyah Chanelle Scott, and premieres on Nov. 18.

TUDUM! Netflix Event Hits the Streamer’s High Notes

Netflix took over Saturday with news and sneak peeks at some of their biggest new and returning titles: Ozark, Cowboy Bebop, Arcane, Sex Education, Cobra Kai, Bridgerton, and more. Have a look at the trailers released in our coverage “Hot New Netflix Trailers and Clips: Sneak Peeks and First Looks from Global Event ‘TUDUM’” and updates on The Witcher, Stranger Things, and the upcoming Sandman series.

NEW TRAILERS: Marvel’s Hit-Monkey Is a Murderous Monkey and Jason Sudeikis Is His Mentor

Marvel’s Hit-Monkey is an adult animated series about the titular snow monkey (Fred Tatasciore) who is trying to take the crime lords of Tokyo, with the help of the ghost of an American assassin (Jason Sudeikis). Also stars George Takei and Olivia Munn. Premieres Nov. 17 (Hulu)

More trailers and teasers released this week:
• Britney vs Spears is a new documentary, by filmmaker Erin Lee Carr, about the Britney Spears conservatorship case, featuring years-long investigative work, exclusive interviews and new documents to paint a thorough portrait of the pop star’s trajectory from girl next door to a woman trapped by fame and family and her own legal status. Premieres Sept. 28 (Netflix)
• You season 3 finds Joe and Love and their new baby forming one big happy family in the ‘burbs. Well, one family in the ‘burbs, with neighbors who should be very concerned about ticking off this couple. Stars Penn Badgley, Victoria Pedretti, and Scott Speedman. Premieres Oct. 15 (Netflix)
• Crutch is a documentary about award-winning dancer, skateboarder, and cutting-edge performance artist Bill Shannon, who was born with a degenerative hip condition, and developed a way to express himself through dancing and skateboarding on crutches. Premieres Oct. 14 (Discovery+)
• Night Teeth is a horror thriller about a college student who works as a limo driver, and falls for the dangerous charms of two female passengers who, of course, turn out to be vampires in the middle of a Los Angeles vampire war. Stars George Lendeborg Jr., Debby Ryan, Alfie Allen, Alexander Ludwig, Megan Fox, and Lucy Fry. Premieres Oct. 20 (Netflix)
• Muppets Haunted Mansion is a new Muppets adventure in which world famous daredevil The Great Gonzo takes on the greatest challenge of his life by spending one very daring night, Halloween night, in the most grim place on Earth … The Haunted Mansion. Stars The Muppets, Will Arnett, Yvette Nicole Brown, Darren Criss, Taraji P. Henson, Chrissy Metz, Alfonso Ribeiro, Ed Asner,  Danny Trejo, Sasheer Zamata , Craig Robinson, Justina Machado, and John Stamos. Premieres Oct. 8 (Disney+)
• The Hot Zone: Anthrax is a six-episode limited series about the 2001 anthrax attacks in which letters containing anthrax were sent to unsuspecting victims in Florida, Washington, D.C., and New York, killing five people and causing panic throughout the United States. Stars Daniel Dae Kim and Tony Goldwyn. Premieres Nov. 28 (National Geographic)
• Hightown Season 2 teases new crimes, new threats, and new betrayals in the Cape Cod-set drama. Stars Monica Raymund, Amary Nolasco, Luis Guzmán, James Badge Dale, Mark Boone Junior, Crystal Lee Brown, and Tonya Glanz. Premieres Oct. 17 (Starz)
• The Problem with Jon Stewart is the show that brings the former Daily Show host back to talk show land, though this time around his show will focus on a single topic public affairs topic, like veteran health care and supporting working class Americans. Premieres Sept. 30 (Apple TV+)
• Batwoman Season 3 will feature new Batman universe villains like Killer Croc and Mad Hatter, and new characters like Jada Jet (Robin Givens) and her son Marquis Jet (Nick Creegan). Stars Javicia Leslie. Premieres Oct. 13 (The CW)
• Invasion is a 10-episode sci-fi drama set across multiple continents and follows an alien invasion through different perspectives around the world. Stars Shamier Anderson, Golshifteh Farahani, Sam Neill, Firas Nassar, and Shioli Kutsuna. Premieres Oct. 22 (Apple TV+)
• On My Block season 4 will the final season for the coming-of-age drama. Stars Sierra Capri, Jason Genao, and Diego Tinoco. Premieres Oct. 4 (Netflix)

For all the latest TV and streaming trailers subscribe to the Rotten Tomatoes TV YouTube channel.

CASTING:WandaVision Star Kathryn Hahn Will Play Joan Rivers in Showtime’s The Comeback Girl Limited Series

Kathryn Hahn

(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

WandaVision Emmy nominee Kathryn Hahn will play legendary comedian and talk show host Joan Rivers in The Comeback Girl, a limited series that will focus on the period of the late Rivers’ life after her The Late Show was canceled and her husband Edgar died by suicide. (Variety)

GLOW alum Betty Gilpin has joined Shailene Woodley and Dewanda Wise in the cast of Showtime’s Three Women, an adaptation of Lisa Taddeo’s book about three women who are about to make radical changes in their sexual relationships and overall lives. Gilpin will play Lina, a woman in a passionless marriage who begins an obsessive affair.

Rashida Jones and David Oyelowo have joined the cast of Apple TV+’s Wool, a dystopian drama set in a toxic future where people live in an underground silo, under rules they’re told are meant to protect them. Jones plays an IT worker for the silo (The Silo), while Oyelowo plays her husband, The Silo’s sheriff. The series is based on the book series from author Hugh Howey.

Lost and Party of Five star Matthew Fox will star with Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt in Last Light, an action-thriller limited series about a family whose lives are changed when global oil supplies become contaminated by an infectious substance. The story is adapted from author Alex Scarrow’s bestselling novel. Fox, who’s making his return to series television for the first time in 11 years, will also executive produce. (Variety)

Fleabag’s Sian Clifford and Sherlock’s Jonathan Aris have joined the cast of the third season of HBO’s fantasy series His Dark Materials. They’re playing Agent Salmakia and Commander Roke, respectively, spies who are Gallivespians, a group of very small people in Philip Pullman’s book that inspired the series.

Michael McKean, Leslie Bibb, Rachel Bloom, and Krista Marie Yu have joined Reboot, Steve Levitan’s Hulu comedy about a Hulu family comedy that is rebooting, forcing its cast to reunite and deal with all the unresolved issues they have from the first time they starred together. Better Call Saul alum McKean plays the creator of Step Right Up, the sitcom with the meta sitcom that’s being rebooted. Bibb will play Step Right Up’s female lead, who left Hollywood and married a prince after the show ended, while Bloom plays a TV writer, and Yu plays a former tech exec now working on Step Right Up. Keegan-Michael Key, Johnny Knoxville, and Callum Worthy also star.

Colin Donnell (Chicago Med) will star in the Peacock drama Irreverent as a criminal mediator who flees the country and lands in a very remote part of Australia, where he must pretend to be a reverend until he can find his way back home, before part of his past catches up to him.

According to Elizabeth Berkley’s Instagram, the women of Saved by the Bell are officially working together again, a.k.a. Lark Voorhies will be in Peacock’s SBTB reboot for Season 2.

Adam Devine will star in the Peacock series adaptation of the comedy movie series Pitch Perfect. Devine, who starred in the first two of three Pitch Perfect movies, will reprise his role as “vocal villain” Bumper Allen. In the series, it’s several years after we last saw Bumper on the big screen, and he has moved to Germany to revive his music career after one of his songs becomes big in Berlin. Just like David Hasselhoff (please let there be a cameo by The Hoff!).

PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: Eddie Murphy Signs Three-Movie and First-Look Film Deal with Amazon

Eddie Murphy

(Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)

Coming 3 America? Emmy winner Eddie Murphy has signed a three-movie deal with Amazon Video, home of his Coming to America sequel, Coming 2 America. The pact also includes a first-look element that will have the actor and comedian developing, and possibly starring in, film projects for Amazon Video and Studios.

Netflix has acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company, and plans to turn more of Dahl’s works into Netflix projects. A Charlie and the Chocolate Factory series is already in the works from Taika Waititi and Phil Johnston, as is an adaptation of Matilda: The Musical. The new deal will see Netflix spend around a billion dollars to turn other Dahl properties like James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Danny, the Champion of the World into a Roald Dahl universe of media like live-action movies, games, series, publishing, immersive experiences, live theater, and merchandise.

Saturday Night Live has announced the hosts and musical guests that will get Season 47 going: Host Owen Wilson will be joined by Kacey Musgrave on Oct. 2; Kim Kardashian West (WHY?) will host on Oct. 9, with musical guest Halsey; Rami Malek and Young Thug are the host/musical guest combo on Oct. 16: and former SNL star and new Ted Lasso Emmy winner Jason Sudeikis hosts for the first time on Oct. 23, with musical guest Brandi Carlisle.

HBO Max has ordered a three-part documentary celebrating the history of DC Comics, taking “an unprecedented look at the enduring and influential legacy of DC, allowing fans to rediscover the universe of characters, as well as the iconic comic book company’s origins, its evolution and its nearly nine-decade cultural impact across every artistic medium.” The doc comes from Oscar and Emmy-nominated director, producer and showrunner Leslie Iwerks.

The Critics Choice Association has announced the First Annual Celebration of Latino Cinema, which will honor Rita Moreno, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Demián Bichir, with more honorees to be announced later. The inaugural event will be held virtually, on Dec. 9, honoring those who have made significant contributions to film in 2021. A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to LA Collab, whose mission is to accelerate Latino access, visibility, and representation in the entertainment industry.

Demian Bichir

Speaking of Bichir, Showtime has given a series order to Let the Right One In, starring Bichir as a man whose life was changed a decade earlier when his daughter (Madison Taylor Baez) was turned into a vampire. “Locked in at age 12, perhaps forever, Eleanor lives a closed-in life, able to go out only at night, while her father does his best to provide her with the human blood she needs to stay alive,” as per Showtime’s description. “With these emotionally charged and terrifying ingredients as a starting point, (the series) will upend genre expectations, turning a naturalistic lens on human frailty, strength and compassion.” Anika Noni Rose, Grace Gummer, Kevin Carroll, Ian Foreman, and Jacob Buster also star in the series, which is based on a novel by Swedish writer Swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvist.

Quantum Leap star Scott Bakula confirmed on the Bob Saget’s Here for You podcast this week that there are discussions happening involving a reboot of his 1989-1993 NBC series. “I don’t know what it would be. I don’t know who would have it. The rights were a mess for years,” Bakula said. “I don’t know if they’re even sorted out now. That’s always been the biggest complication.”

NBC has given a series order to a bank heist thriller called The Endgame, starring Morena Baccarin as Elena Federova, an international arms dealer and criminal mastermind, who, though recently jailed, has been coordinating bank heists from behind bars. Michelle Bathé plays a socially outcast, but very relentless FBI agent who is determined to thwart Federova’s plans.

Author Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See is being adapted for a Netflix limited series. The story of Marie-Laure, a teenager who is blind, and Werner, a German soldier, whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II, All the Light We Cannot See will be a four-part series. Director Shawn Levy will direct all the episodes, and is launching a worldwide casting search seeking a blind or low-vision actress to play Marie-Laure. Those interested can apply by emailing

Hulu won a bidding war for Black Cake, a family drama/murder mystery from Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films, Women of the Movement creator Marissa Jo Cerar, and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment. The streaming service has given a series order to the project, which is based on the upcoming book of the same name from author Charmaine Wilkerson, and takes place “with a diverse cast of characters and a global setting,” including Jamaica, Rome, Scotland, England, and Southern California. (Deadline)

The Nov. 7 premiere of Dexter: New Blood is still frustratingly far away, but Showtime is helping fans bridge that gap by debuting the Dexter: New Blood Wrap-Up with Scott Reynolds official podcast on Oct. 1. Premiering on the 15th anniversary of the original Dexter series, New Blood EP and writer Reynolds will debut new podcast episodes every Tuesday for 16 weeks, “fleshing out the episodes and dissecting the characters and plot twists with razor-sharp precision,” and providing exclusive behind-the-scenes access, and interview with guests like stars Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, and John Lithgow, and showrunner and executive producer Clyde Phillips.

And in other TV-on-podcast news, Apple TV+ is launching Foundation: The Official Podcast, a weekly companion to Apple TV+’s Foundation series, which premieres on Sept. 24, and is based on Isaac Asimov’s award-winning trilogy of the same name. The podcast also premieres on Sept. 24.

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