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James Gunn Reveals The Surprising TV Shows That Inspired Peacemaker

James Gunn has enjoyed a successful career ever since his 2006 feature-film directorial debut, "Slither." The film, about a small town besieged by alien parasites, is an often comedic ode to creature-feature horror films that shows off Gunn's willingness to embrace the quirky and weird. The movie could be seen as little more than a modern Hollywood B-movie but it did establish Gunn's eccentric directorial style.

His most recent success was the 2021 reboot of David Ayer's "Suicide Squad," titled "The Suicide Squad," which once again showed off Gunn's signature quirkiness. The film brought back a few characters, including Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), but it also introduced a whole slew of fresh cannon fodder. One new character was the obnoxiously gung-ho Peacemaker (John Cena). Cena will be reprising the role for a new HBO Max spin-off, which is titled "Peacemaker" and will be directed by James Gunn. To tease fans, the director shared a tweet with a few of his inspirations for the upcoming series.

James Gunn was inspired by everything from early Marvel movie attempts to Better Call Saul

To give fans a sense of what to expect from the upcoming "Peacemaker" series, James Gunn shared four images along with the tag "#InspirationsForPeace." The first picture he shared is from the 1990 flop "Captain America." It was one of the earliest attempts by Marvel to bring their heroes to the big screen, but thankfully not the last, as Tim Brayton of Alternate Ending called the film "confusing, sloppy, [and] stupid ..." Presumably, Gunn is turning to the campy qualities of "Captain America" for his "Peacemaker" inspiration.

The second photo he shared is from the "Breaking Bad" prequel "Better Call Saul." Considering "Peacemaker" is itself a spin-off of "The Suicide Squad," it makes sense that Gunn would be taking inspiration from such a notably successful spin-off

The third and fourth images also come from the world of TV. The third is a promo image from the Starz series "Spartacus," which played on the tropes of ultra-violent historical movies like "300" and "Gladiator" to tell a subversive story about the slaves who were forced to fight for notoriety in ancient Rome's colosseums. And the fourth comes from the 1980s miniseries and TV show "V." This series centered around a race of humanoids coming to Earth to ask for help before revealing themselves to be hostile lizard people here to steal our water. 

Even if we don't fully understand the scope of every one of these influences, all feel right at home with Gunn's signature style. And they all certainly paint an intriguing picture for what audiences can expect from him and John Cena once "Peacemaker" drops on HBO Max on January 13.