DCs Peacemaker has found himself a dark mirror in the last place that he had expected. As per writer-director James Gunn, Vigilante is “the worse version” of Chris Smith for a single reason: his complete lack of conscience.


“Well, I think that we have Peacemaker, who’s a guy who obviously has a conscience and, despite the bad stuff he does, he does have a reasoning behind what he does what he does,” Gunn explained during a press event attended by CBR. “Yes, some of it may be a rationalization for why he’s venting his anger, but he does have a philosophy behind it.”

“Vigilante is a very different sort of ‘hero,” he continued. “I think that I created Vigilante for the show because I thought, if you really are a guy that puts on a costume and goes around and murders people — just cold-blooded murders people who you think are bad guys — who are you really? Who is this person really?”

“He was an interesting character to play with, because he is a sociopath,” he shared. “He does not seem to have a conscience and, more so, he doesn’t seem to have emotions. He has a lot of issues. He’s not able — as you watch the show, he’s not really able to pick up on people’s facial expressions. He’s not very in tune with other human beings.”

James Gunn And John Cena
James Gunn And John Cena

“And yet, despite all of this, there’s this sort of dare I say sweetness about him, that it comes from Freddie [Stroma]’s performance and comes from the fact that he is so — in such a vulnerable way, adores Peacemaker, and has obviously since he’s been a child and Peacemaker was friends with his older brother,” he added. “So I just wanted to create a different type of character who was not black and white, was actually — he’s a worse version of Peacemaker in many ways, but also not without things that we can like about him.”

The character was created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in New Teen Titans #23 in 1982, where Adrian Chase used the Vigilante to extract justice in a gory way that he couldn’t as a New York City district attorney. Clearly, Peacemaker took him in a different direction, swapping Vigilante’s strict honor code of conduct for something more bloody. While he does share some connection to Chris Smith in the comics, Peacemaker‘s version of the Vigilante is tied to him even more tightly. Vigilante is a wannabe hero from Smith’s hometown, who also idolizes the ex-Task Force X agent, even hoping to follow in his footsteps.

The first three episodes of Peacemaker are now streaming on HBO Max, with new episodes airing every Thursday.

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