Why James Gunn Changed Peacemaker’s Origin

Peacemaker Episode 4 provides insight into Peacemaker’s origin, and in doing so, shows how Gunn changed the comics narrative.

Warning: Contains spoilers for Peacemaker episode 4.

In Peacemaker Episode 4, the DC TV series gives the first glimpses of Peacemaker’s origin story and hints at the changes that set her apart from the comics. John Cena’s Peacemaker first appeared in The Suicide Squad, but aside from a quick introduction by Amanda Waller, it didn’t receive an origin story. While the Peacemaker The TV show had previously hinted that he was formed by his father’s ideals, it took until Episode 4 for a more concrete origin to be shown.

In Peacemaker episode 4, “The Choad Less Traveled”, Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) mentioned to Peacemaker that she read his file about what his father did to him as a child. Peacemaker is uncomfortable and asks Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) what the file says and she claims it is vague, that her brother is dead and he was involved. The episode ends with a montage that sees Peacemaker reminiscing about his youth, including his father leading him to do what appears to be his first kill, young Chris Smith spending time with his brother and his brother falling and dying in front of him. him.

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James Gunn became known for extracting more obscure characters from the comics and reviving them in the public consciousness. That’s true for Peacemaker, but his father, Auggie Smith (Robert Patrick), is an original invention formed by combining White Dragon with Peacemaker’s father in the comics. Here’s how Chris Smith became Peacemaker in the comics, how Peacemaker is changing him, and why it improves his origin story.

How Chris Smith Became a Peacemaker in the Comics


In the original comics, Christopher Smith was born in New York in 1950 to American Elizabeth Lewis and Austrian Wolfgang Schmidt and later grew up in Austria. Wolfgang Schmidt was a Nazi and had been a member of the SS. During World War II, Schmidt was the commandant of a concentration camp in Poland, but escaped prosecution after the war, hiding his past and becoming a respected industrialist. The truth about Wolfgang Schmidt’s past was uncovered in 1955 and rather than face punishment for his war crimes, Schmidt committed suicide.


Chris Smith witnessed his father’s suicide, which took place on his fifth birthday, and was traumatized by the event in ways that haunted him for much of his life. His mother moved him to the United States, but the ideals of his abusive father had already taken hold and he began to have visions of his father in an SS uniform and these visions drove him to better himself and to become worthy of his father’s legacy. These hallucinations prompted him to enlist to fight in Vietnam on his eighteenth birthday and then led him to massacre an innocent village believing them to be enemy troops. While court-martialed for the offense, he was released to work for the United States government and became the vigilante Peacemaker, seeking to create peace through violence and all at the constant behest of the visions. of the ghost of his Nazi father. In later appearances, Peacemaker had overcome his father’s visions, but it was never discussed how it happened.


The brother of the peacemaker will copy the original story


Peacemaker Chris Brother dead

Peacemaker Episode 4 only gives a glimpse of what happened to Chris’ brother, but enough pieces are there to see that it provides a variation on the comic origin. Auggie Smith, William Heller’s White Dragon combination with Wolfgang Schmidt, had a more hands-on approach to teaching his son his ways, directly forcing him to kill someone. While this helped define who Peacemaker is, it’s not the full story.

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Instead of seeing his father commit suicide, Chris saw his older brother, whom he admired, die. While his brother appears to be dying from some sort of seizure, the scene implies that he had been in a fight before as he already has a bloody nose before he fell backwards. Considering what’s been shown about Peacemaker’s father, it’s reasonable to think that he might have insisted on his sons fighting as a type of training, and it might have been an accident during a such session that led to the death of Chris’s brother. Accidentally killing his brother would easily replace the trauma originally caused by witnessing his father’s suicide.


Why Peacemaker’s Origin Change Is So Good


Peacemaker Young Origin White Dragon Mule

Peacemaker changing the titular character’s origin story greatly improves the original for several reasons, especially when considered for a television series following The Suicide Squad. In Peacemaker’s introduction to the DCEU, little time is spent on characterization, and it can come across as obnoxious. This is only emphasized by his transformation into an antagonist and his killing of Rick Flag. His more complex origin story and his trauma provide a new perspective to be able to develop empathy for the character in a simple way “sins of the father” scenario probably would not have achieved.


By having Peacemaker potentially responsible for his brother’s death, the narrative adds an extra level of guilt to the situation, while allowing Peacemaker to rightly blame his father for creating him. Basically, this storyline leaves the target of this blame alive and bodily, which means that Peacemaker can physically overcome the cause of his trauma rather than being represented in the story by a ghost or a vision that eventually disappears from the series. and would be incongruous with the rest of the series’ tone. Finally, Peacemaker’s guilt for his brother’s death may parallel Rick Flag’s death and be part of his character arc to become the best person he wants to be. When Peacemaker killed Rick Flag, he was blindly following Amanda Waller’s orders because he believed that was what was right. If Chris killed his brother following instructions from his father and then combined with Rick Flag’s situation, it makes sense that Peacemaker started to question some of his orders and the series brings that connection home by splicing scenes from Flag’s death with the flashbacks to Chris’ brother’s death. The narrative around Chris’s brother and the one around Rick Flag informing each other and defeating his father in Peacemaker he can regain a sense of self and find some peace over his guilt over Flag’s death.


Next: How Peacemaker’s White Dragon Compares To The Comics

Peacemaker releases new episodes Thursdays on HBO Max.

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