John Cena on 'Peacemaker' Season 2, Possibilities of a Crossover with Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam

While audiences wait for new episodes, PEOPLE caught up with John Cena to discuss what he knows about the next chapter of Peacemaker

Photo: HBO Max

The season 1 finale of Peacemaker has dropped and fans are already looking forward to season 2.

HBO Max renewed the DC Extended Universe action-comedy for a second installment last week, days before the first season was set to conclude. The first season takes place in a post-Suicide Squad world where outcast superhero Peacemaker is released from prison to assist on an unknown mission. He joins an eclectic team of misfits to track down alien 'Butterflies' while also dealing with his relationship with his villain father and his past trauma.

While audiences wait for new episodes, PEOPLE caught up with John Cena to discuss what he knows about the next chapter of Peacemaker and what it's like to embody the titular protagonist who fights for peace at any cost.

PEOPLE: Congratulations on getting renewed for season 2. How does it feel seeing the show's success in preparing to return to the character?

JOHN CENA: Well, it's a tremendous feeling. Any time you make something for the purpose of the entertainment of others, a lot of times, it's a real tough balancing act. A lot of folks enjoy it and we got the traction we did on HBO Max and we get the audience we did, especially with social interaction, we had with Peacemaker, and that's a really good feeling.

And I have to know, will the tighty-whities make a comeback in season 2?

Oh I think you're asking the wrong guy. Most of these questions that you're going to ask about season two, I'd have to … I have very little control over all of that. [laughs] I show up and see what happens. If that's written in, I certainly don't have a problem with it.


I love that you made Peacemaker a bi-con of sorts. How did you decide that he should be bisexual?

I think, ultimately, that was James [Gunn]'s choice. I know he's given me the credit for that. I just wanted this guy to have so much about himself to figure out. On the surface, he appears to be: what you see is what you get. And I think a lot of the audience who had seen The Suicide Squad, when we announced that there was a Peacemaker spin-off, a lot of them were upset because their first impression was their total impression. What we see is what we get: We see a bad guy with no redeemable qualities. But when you dive into Peacemaker, the series, you see a human being that is like all of the rest of us. We are using our time here to simply try to figure out what the hell is going on. I thought that was a very unique added dimension, especially because of the snap judgment first impression you get when looking at the Peacemaker character.

I've got to give James the credit for grabbing the ball and running with it. What I like most about it, it just is. It allows the audience to come to their own conclusions and that's okay. Very much of our show certainly approaches a lot of sensitive subject matter, but it simply just is. Again, it allowed the audience to make their own conclusions.

James Gunn and Jennifer Holland are engaged, which is awesome. I saw that you offered to officiate in full Peacemaker gear. Have they taken you up on that offer?

I think that it was my way of mixing what we have in the zeitgeist with a very personal moment. I care very deeply for both of them. Hell, they're both tremendously in love with each other and I couldn't be happier for people I care about to find genuine love, but in a greater scope, for anybody to find genuine love. I think it's a great thing. I was just trying to be funny and it was genuine. I'm truly very happy for them and their relationship. They're wonderful people and it's really great when people have that in their life.

Katie Yu/HBO Max

You've gotten quite a bit of mileage out of that costume. How does your wife feel about it? Does she like the costume?

Well, I guess you'd have to ask her. The reason I wanted to be in the costume is simply to get people familiar with it. James Gunn has such a great way of taking little to unknown characters in his success, like Guardians of the Galaxy, and making them commonplace, making us relate and making them known.

With The Suicide Squad, there were so many characters and so many personalities. I just wanted to try to familiarize the audience with my little piece, pun intended. It's very similar to the approach that I use with the WWE when I was performing full-time there. I would be in all interviews in the John Cena outfit of a ball cap, T-shirt, shorts and wristbands. People began to associate that character and become familiar with that character. That's just the same approach I used in Peacemaker. A lot of people may shy away from that approach because it doesn't … it's not indicative of who they genuinely are, and it's not who I am. That's Peacemaker. But I wanted the audience to be familiar with Peacemaker. Whether that's what worked or not, I don't know. Man, I remember when we released a teaser at San Diego Comic-Con. There was already Peacemaker cosplay, there was already Peacemaker fan art. This is from a character that if you watch The Suicide Squad, isn't on-screen that much. So I was just trying to get people excited for the movie and certainly when we had the … when James had the idea for the spinoff, I really wanted to go forward to do my part to familiarize people with the character.

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Actor John Cena surprises fans dressed as his character from HBO Max New Series “Peacemaker” during 2021 Comic-Con: Special Edition at the San Diego Convention Center on November 27, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Bill Watters/Getty Images)
Bill Watters/Getty

What is the training like for all of the on-screen combat on Peacemaker and how does that compare to your WWE roots? Was it just like slipping back into an old routine?

No, it's completely different. Movie coordinator stunt performers are massive amounts of repetition not only through practice, but through performance as well. Whereas you can practice your craft in WWE, but once you're out there live, it happens once and there really is no wrong. It just is. There's also no enormous, energetic, unbelievable crowd cheering you on as you do all this stuff and it has to be done from many angles and many perspectives. It's nuts. I remember when I started to do movies in 2004, '05, and really got frustrated with the process because as a young man, I really wanted to be in that ring as there really isn't much of anything that compares to the sensation of being in that ring performing in front of a live audience, for me. it's not the same. I've found a much greater appreciation for it now. Maybe that's because I'm working with great people and I'm a part of fantastic stories. I'm finding my stride as a performer but it's very different and if given the choice, I think 10 times out of 10 I would rather be in a ring performing action than on the screen performing action.

Fans want to see Dwayne Johnson appear on the show. I'm wondering with him now also part of the DC Extended Universe as Black Adam, is that a possibility or something that you all have discussed at all?

I'll say the same thing every time with possibilities in the sort of universe... it would be an honor and a privilege to be able to perform with him. I think there still is a passionate marketplace that wants to see him in. But I'm sorry, man, that's just not my choice so I don't know. It's so far beyond me. It's beyond what I'm able to control.

Peacemaker is streaming now on HBO Max.

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