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Marvel: The MCU Rejected John Cena Several Times, Including Once for ‘Deadpool’ Role

Published on January 15th, 2022 | Updated on January 15th, 2022 | By FanFest

After retirement, Cena ditched his kneepads and sweatbands in favor of pursuing a career in acting. Although Cena’s services are still requested by WWE from time to time, since signing on as Peacemaker for DC Comics and joining the DCEU, wrestling has become a secondary concern.

In 2006, Cena made his acting debut in The Marine, a drama about a soldier returning home from Iraq to discover that his wife has been taken hostage by a deadly gang of robbers.

Cena has continuously impressed critics and audiences for his outstanding work in Trainwreck and Ferdinand, which was followed by a string of strong film roles. In 2021, Cena joined the Fast & Furious franchise as Jakob Toretto in Fast & Furious 9.

Now, he’s gone on to playing Peacemaker opposite big names like Margot Robbie and Ben Affleck in Suicide Squad.

Cena first appeared in the DCEU as Peacemaker, and since then, he’s starred in his own HBO Max series. Cena reprised his role as Peacmaker on Jan. 13, when the premiere of the first episode aired, and he played a character who fights for peace — and will go to any length to achieve it.

Cena spoke to Josh Horowitz on The Happy Sad Confused podcast, and discusses facing rejection for a Marvel role in Deadpool 2 as Cable — a role which went to Josh Brolin. Cena also tried out for Shazam! and failed to get that role too.

Cena: “I can’t tell you how many superhero roles I’ve been rejected for. Shazam is certainly one. There was a brief try at the Deadpool universe, rejection.”

Horowitz: “For Cable I assume?“

Cena: “Yeah. Shazam was Dikembe Mutumbo. There was a few in the Marvel universe, rejected. But you know, I kept trying.”

Cena was asked if any character he wanted more than others. He said that the childish nature of Shazam! appealed to him most:

“I think because of the fact that, here I am saying this in a waistcoat and a half-windsor, I think like a child, so Shazam was super interesting to me. And when I read the script, a lot of times, like… this is the thing, I don’t just chase ‘I want to do this,’ I always have to read it.”

John Cena via Happy Sad Confused

Cena then shared details on how Gunn approached him about the role of Peacemaker and how the process felt different than it had in the past:

“James Gunn is the only person who gets a free pass. If he says ‘I’m doing this thing, do you want it?’ And the only reason he gets a free pass is his reputation as a storyteller. He just does not let up, he claws at every piece, and I know it’s gonna be good, because he starts from a blank page and that’s it. But I always read it, I always read the story to make sure one, I like it, and two, it falls within my skillset. I do want to challenge myself, but I don’t want the first time I do something to be on screen for a paying customer. I want to get practice and perform at a level that’s consumer quality. So I read all those scripts, and I read all those parts, and I was like, ‘Man, I really think I could add to this,’ and just rejection after rejection after rejection after rejection. But I guess that’s what… the lows make the highs high.”

“And the crazy thing was, I wasn’t first on the list for Peacemaker. James had a long list, and it happened by accident, too. He’s like, ‘Hey, I’m in Atlanta, I’d just love to come and talk to you for a second.’ We sat down in his pre-production office, which was literally like a war headquarters where you could see the whole movie in posterboard taped around his office, and he started talking about Peacemaker, and he’s like, ‘I think you should do it.’ So I’m not rejected? They usually say, like, ‘Hey, love you man, but we’re just going in another direction.”

Although it has only happened a few times seeing an actor in both the MCU and DCEU, the possibility of the same actor appearing in both can happen – so don’t ever count out John Cena in the MCU!

What are your thought’s on John Cena’s Peacemaker? Let us know in the comments below!

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