Can we have nothing uncontroversial in the DC comics space? Until Zack Snyder is back making every single movie and show for Warner Bros, it appears not.
Yesterday marked the finale of Peacemaker, the well-received Suicide Squad spin-off starring John Cena from Squad director James Gunn. And with it came some big DCEU cameos that most people loved, and some hated.
One running joke in Peacemaker is that he reads a bunch of internet rumors about various members of the Justice League and keeps relaying them to his team. One of those jokes includes a running gag that Aquaman has…sexual encounters with fish.
In the finale, the Justice League shows up to save the minutes after Peacemaker and his team have already eliminated the threat. They’re not welcomed as heroes, but as being late.
The cameo shows Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Aquaman, but Superman and Wonder Woman are in shadow, we don’t see them, and are played by stand-ins. But Flash and Aquaman are their actual actors, played by Ezra Miller and Jason Momoa, though they weren’t actually filmed on set.
It’s actually a pretty interesting tale about how this came together, namely that Ezra Miller’s cameo was actually shot by Marvel on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol, 3, which Gunn had moved on to start filming by then. And Gunn was worried about what Momoa or Aquaman director James Wan might think about the running fish joke and the payoff here, but Momoa was fully on board and all about it.
However, fans of Zack Snyder’s Justice League? They’re mad. Why? A few reasons.
This entire season Snyder devotees have been upset with how Peacemaker “disrespects” Snyder’s Justice League with all these put-downs, and I’ve seen a new narrative among this crowd start to form that James Gunn is the new Joss Whedon at DC, with his use of “humor” to change the tone of the DCEU. We heard this a little bit when Suicide Squad was getting glowing reviews, but it’s really amped up for Peacemaker here.
And that’s not all, they’re also mad about this cameo specifically, because Cavill’s Superman doesn’t show his face, which also happened with his Shazam “cameo,” and that Ben Affleck Batman and Ray Fisher Cyborg aren’t there at all. Snyder fans have been terrified that upcoming films like Batgirl and The Flash plan to retcon Affleck Batman out of the DCEU altogether. And Ray Fisher has had a very public dispute with WB over his treatment (mainly at the hands of Joss Whedon and Geoff Johns) during Justice League, and he’s essentially left/been banished from the DCEU (but will be starring in a new non-DC film from Zack Snyder).
Of course, none of this should fall on Gunn, who likely had absolutely nothing to do with a conscious decision to not get Cavill to film a cameo, which I’m sure he would have loved, but judging by how much back-bending it was to get Miller and Momoa who were not on set, I’m guessing there were scheduling conflicts that prevented getting him or Gal Gadot. And as for Batman and Cyborg not being there at all, that very much seems like a WB call, rather than something Gunn himself requested. Not that someone like Ray Fisher would have wanted to return after what he’s been through, and Ben Affleck has seemed pretty clear that he’s probably done with Batman at this point.
Snyder fans do have some real grievances that I can agree with. What happened with Justice League and Joss Whedon was unforgivable, not just in a “it made the movie worse” perspective, but how the actors were treated on set. But this? Here? Making James Gunn the new DC villain in Whedon’s stead? No, I can’t buy that, and the comparison just doesn’t make sense. Every decision in the DC universe is not a purposeful slight to Zack Snyder or his versions of characters, and after five years, it has to stop being taken that way with every new offering that’s released.
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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.