John Cena’s Peacemaker is at the forefront of a more adult-friendly DCEU. But who is Christopher Smith, and how did he become the Peacemaker?
Peacemaker was a strong contender for our favorite character in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. This January, John Cena will bring the character to life in the HBO Max series. Until then, here’s a rundown of America’s foul-mouthed, ass-kicking sweetheart: the Peacemaker.
Created by: Joe Gill & Pat Boyette
Peacemaker’s first appearances: Fightin’ 5 #40 (Charlton Comics, 1966) & Crisis on Infinite Earths #6 (DC Comics, 1985)
Powers & Abilities
Christopher Smith has some pretty intense physical strength and stamina. He’s a gifted marksman, weapons maker, and pilot. The character has also been written as a talented gymnast. Here’s hoping we get Cena to do a few flips.
Peacemaker’s costume is also a big part of his powerset. It’s a thin, flexible body armor with various spots for hiding high-tech weapons.
His helmet is made of pressure-proof plastic. It’s also cybernetic, giving it plenty of bells and whistles, including surveillance devices.
The Original Peacemaker
The first Christopher Smith grew up as the only child of an army officer and scientist mother. As an adult, he worked as a diplomat from the United States. He also considered himself an ardent pacifist.
But when diplomacy failed, he became willing to do whatever it takes to achieve peace. He created non-lethal weapons and used them to fight dictators and warlords.
The original Peacemaker was owned and published by Charlton Comics. After the company went under in 1980, DC comics acquired several Charlton characters. Peacemaker soon became a member of the DC universe along with Captain Atom, the Blue Beetle, and the Question.
Peacemaker Moves to DC Comics
In the event that reconfigured DC’s multiverse, 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths introduced The Peacemaker as an inhabitant of Earth 4.
Post-Crisis, the Peacemaker went through some changes. An origin story that was once clean-cut got a whole lot darker.
Heads up! Part of Peacemaker’s new backstory involves suicide. If you need to skip it, catch up with us after The Comedian.
The Peacemaker’s new name was Christopher Schmidt. When he was a kid, it was discovered that his father was a Nazi officer. When he realized he was about to be arrested, Chris’ father committed suicide– right in front of his son.
Chris was understandably troubled after that point. He and his mother moved and changed their last name to Smith. Growing up, Chris was kind of a bully until he joined the military at the age of 18.
During his time in the military, Chris was court-martialed for killing civilians. After he was arrested, he was offered the opportunity to participate in a high-tech anti-terrorism squad called Project Peacemaker. When the program was shut down, Christopher was allowed to walk free.
The character has appeared sparingly through the comics. Still, he’s not without his influence. Alan Moore’s despicable ‘hero’ The Comedian? Totally based on the Peacemaker.
The Suicide Squad
It’s been a while, but if you still haven’t seen ‘The Suicide Squad’, there are movie spoilers below.
We met the DCEU’s version of Peacemaker in 2021’s The Suicide Squad. This version of the character seems pretty similar to DC’s rebooted version. Chris was raised by a small-town racist father.
And like the comics, this deeply-traumatized kiddo grew up to be a deeply-traumatized diplomat. He also became obsessive about maintaining peace.
In fact, Smith was killin’ in the name of peace till A.R.G.U.S. threw him in Belle Reve. That’s where Amanda Waller recruited him for Task Force X. He was then sent to Corto Maltese to help destroy a dangerous weapons facility.
But Peacemaker had his own orders– to make sure the details of Project Starfish remain confidential. Believing that this was the action that would maintain peace, Chris killed Colonel Rick Flagg to keep the secret.
When the team finds out, he faces off with Bloodsport and loses. After the battle with Starro, Chris is discovered alive underneath the rubble. He’s then brought back to the United States to be treated for his wounds.
What’s Next for Peacemaker?
The new Peacemaker show will pick up where The Suicide Squad‘s end-credits scene left off. The show will explore Chris’ past and how it affects his relationships with his new team.
James Gunn has made it clear that he fully intends to explore Chris’ trauma and flaws. The writer/director told Deadline:
“I don’t sit down and say ‘Oh, how am I gonna make this character likable.’ I make it as fully fleshed as possible, and one of the things that I wanted to tell was a story in which [Peacemaker]’s got a lot to learn.”
A redemption story? Maybe. But an all-around foul-mouthed good laugh? Definitely.
Read more about John Cena & Peacemaker: Peacemaker at SDCC
‘Peacemaker’ premieres exclusively on HBO Max sometime in January 2022.