James Gunn On Making Vigilante So Horrifying In Peacemaker

DC's Peacemaker may be a show about bad people doing terrible things, but Vigilante stands out as a true sociopath. Here's how he was developed.


Warner Bros and James Gunn are continuing their partnership, this time on the small screen. Peacemaker, which is spinning out of last year's The Suicide Squad, has premiered on the HBO Max streaming service with three raunchy, ultra-violent episodes returning John Cena to the titular role--and, surprising no one, he continues to be a pretty horrible person.

But, strangely enough, there are other characters on Peacemaker who might actually be worse than the man himself--and no, we're not just talking about the things Peacemaker is being sent in to fight. The show also introduces a costumed character DC fans will be familiar with: Adrian Chase, AKA Vigilante (Freddie Stroma). And while Chase may be the butt of many a joke in the first three episodes of the show, he also displays some truly horrific behavior that is anything but a punchline.

You'll know exactly what we're talking about if you've watched through Episode 3--and, if not, we recommend doing that and then coming back.

In speaking with a roundtable of journalists, James Gunn opened up about reinventing the classic DC villain in this new (and disturbing) way.

"We have Peacemaker who has a conscience. Despite the bad stuff he does, he has a reasoning--and yeah, some of it may be a rationalization for why he's, you know, venting his anger, but he does have a philosophy. But Vigilante is a very different sort of quote-unquote 'hero.' In creating Vigilante for the show, [I was thinking about] if you really were a guy who puts on a costume and goes around murdering people in cold blood that you think are bad."

Gunn continued, peeling back more layers into Vigilante's psyche. "He's a true sociopath. He doesn't seem to be able to pick up on emotions. He's not really able to read people's facial expressions. He's not very in tune with other human beings. And yet, there's this sort of--dare I say--sweetness about him that comes from Freddie [Stroma]'s performance, and comes from the fact that he adores Peacemaker in such a vulnerable way."

Of course, being so monstrous doesn't mean Vigilante is a one-dimensional bad guy. Gunn finished by explaining that the intention was to make "a worse version of Peacemaker in many ways, but not without some qualities that we can like about him."

Vigilante will continue his bumbling reign of terror as Peacemaker continues on HBO Max, with episodes premiering weekly.

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