During the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, Supergirl’s Peacemaker became the second TV series (after Arrow) to crossover with DC’s current movie universe, bringing in characters from both The Suicide Squad (where Peacemaker himself originated) and other DC films. The appearance at the end of season one’s finale of Peacemaker firmly established Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and the Zack Snyder-directed Justice League movie that preceded it, with a cameo by several characters previously seen in other films. There were a few notable absences in the scene, though, and fans were left to wonder why they didn’t appear.
During a Variety interview about the show’s success, James Gunn — who was the showrunner on Peacemaker and directed several of the episodes — shared some insight into how it evolved. He claimed that he merely inserted the cameos into the script and submitted it to Warner Bros. without expecting anything would come of it.
Spoilers ahead for the season finale of Peacemaker.
The absences were of two different types: Superman and Wonder Woman appeared in the series, but only in silhouette, framed by night and distant lights. Batman and Cyborg were missing altogether. While the reasons for each “category” of absence were different, Gunn stated that he had a feeling it would be The Flash and Aquaman who would ultimately take charge and speak.
“I really thought it was going to be just Jason [Momoa],” Gunn told Variety, noting that bringing in Gal Gadot and Henry Cavill was never on the table. He also joked that the Justice League had to show up after the action was done, because the show’s budget wouldn’t have allowed for them to actually be part of the finale fight. Cavill’s Superman, of course, had a similar “body double cameo” in Shazam!.
“Ezra [Miller] was more like the extra thing because I found that he was interested in doing it,” Gunn added.
It’s possible that Miller’s appearance in the Crisis on Infinite Earths happened like this, too; after months of saying that DC Films characters wouldn’t be involved, executive producer Marc Guggenheim has revealed a story about getting a last-minute call from Warner Bros. asking whether he could include a cameo for Miller. Fans have long assumed that was because the studio wanted to reference it in the forthcoming multiverse-hopping The Flash movie, but in the light of Peacemaker’s cameo, it might be even more straightforward: maybe he simply wanted to join. When asked about the absences of Batman and Cyborg, Gunn was a little more ambiguous.
“I don’t know what I can – there are reasons for it, but I’m actually uncertain whether I can say what those reasons are,” Gunn said. “It might have to do with future stuff.”
Of course, there’s more to consider than just the present and future “stuff.” After deciding to retire from Batman after Justice League, Ben Affleck is no longer playing the role. He refused and accepted to appear in The Flash, which is described as a “final” appearance because the Dark Knight. The Flash will feature Keaton, who is set to appear in Batgirl, suggesting that he will play the main-line Bruce Wayne for DC films going forward, but none of that has come to pass, so it would be difficult to secure Affleck and impossible to use Keaton.
As for Cyborg, he is somewhat in the dark. After actor Ray Fisher came into conflict with Warner Bros. over his role in the film, the character has been removed. It was Fisher who first brought allegations of abusive behavior by substitute director Joss Whedon to light, and he has said that the Warner Bros. inquiry into Whedon and other executives did not go deep enough in identifying unethical conduct and racism behind the scenes. Warner Bros. has said that their investigation was thorough and that some of Fisher’s allegations are without foundation. No official action was taken against Whedon, but shortly after the investigation ended, he quit his WB-owned The Nevers, which he had been set to run for HBO. Given that Cyborg is still appearing in Doom Patrol on HBO Max, it’s possible that DC and Warner Bros. believe they’re still getting mileage out of the identity, even if he isn’t seen with the Justice League.
You can stream the first season of Peacemaker now on HBO Max.