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Why John Cena Is Perfect To Play A 'Douchey Captain America' In The Suicide Squad

Director James Gunn has demonstrated a gift for creative casting when it comes to lovable bands of comic book misfits, gathering the likes of Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, and Zoe Saldana into the on-screen chemistry cauldron that was the title team in Guardians of the Galaxy. Now, he's at it again, taking the opportunity of the DC FanDome panel for his upcoming The Suicide Squad to reveal the full roster of DC Comics anti-heroes he's assembled for his follow-up to David Ayer's financially-winning, but critically-slammed, 2016 take on the property.

It's a murderer's row of fan-friendly names that includes the likes of Peter Capaldi, Idris Elba, and Margot Robbie, but one particular piece of casting stands out as a real coup: WWE superstar and budding film actor John Cena as Peacemaker. Pro wrestling stans who spent years loving to hate Cena's face-to-end-all-faces act in the ring no doubt LOL'd a bit hearing the man, himself, describe his character as "a douchey Captain America" in a newly released behind-the-scenes featurette, as that'd be a pretty accurate descriptor many people's take on his kayfabe persona throughout his career in the squared circle.

Still, there's more going on with Cena's The Suicide Squad role than meets the eye. Let's dig a little deeper into why John Cena playing Peacemaker is piece of winning casting for James Gunn.

The Peacemaker makes peace, or else

Although he made his DC Comics bow in 1988, the Peacemaker's roots go much farther back, and to an entirely different publisher. The character was created by the now-defunct Charlton Comics, also home to the likes of Blue Beetle and Captain Atom. Originally appearing in issue 40 of Charlton's Fightin' 5 in 1966, Peacemaker would outlive his home title, landing his own five-issue series in 1967. When Charlton went under in the early '80s, Peacemaker, along with several other Charlton characters, was acquired by DC, originally with the intention of using them as part of Alan Moore's Watchmen. While that didn't come to fruition, Peacemaker did end up serving as the inspiration for that seminal series' The Comedian.

Knowing that, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Peacemaker's name belies a pretty violent persona. Don't worry, though — it's just that he's SO committed to peace that he's willing to use whatever force is necessary to achieve it. Later revealed to be suffering from serious mental illness, the character would get deadlier over time, and come to believe that the ghosts of the people he killed were collected in his helmet and could speak to him. Peacemaker bounced around the DC universe for decades, eventually bringing things full circle by making an appearance in the Watchmen sequel series Doomsday Clock and facing off against Doctor Manhattan.

Why you CAN see John Cena as The Suicide Squad's Peacemaker

John Cena's mainstream film career is just a few years old, but it was only a matter of time until he made his way into superhero cinema. Over the course of his nearly two decades in the WWE, he carved out a niche as the promotion's ultimate good guy in a way no one had since Hulk Hogan's '80s prime. With his chiseled facial features and super-cut physique, he was the face of the franchise for a long time, becoming the idol of a generation of kids and one of the most hated wrestlers in history among the "smarks" who made up the older, savvier, more cynical portion of pro grappling's fan base.

Cena's filmography so far has played into his action movie-ready look, putting him in the role of soldiers both righteous (Bumblebee) and rogue (the upcoming F9). He's also, however, demonstrated a gift for comedy in laugh-worthy appearances in films like the Amy Schumer vehicle Trainwreck and 2018's inverted teen sex comedy Blockers. A role like Peacemaker in a James Gunn joint is sure to put a twisted spin on the type of square-jawed hero Cena would typically so easily embody. What's more, Cena has already proven willing to play off the comedy inherent in his WWE persona, and more than able to play the fool when need be. Plus, setting him as a psychotic do-gooder is a great wink to all those who couldn't stomach his goody two-shoes act in the pro wrestling world.

Will Cena have the chops to pull off Peacemaker? We'll get our answer when The Suicide Squad arrives on August 6, 2021.