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Peace is no laughing matter, even when the Suicide Squad’s resident eagle keeper and the rest of the Peacemaker cast are just daring you to crack a smile. Only days into its HBO Max debut, the series’ ridiculous opening-credits dance sequence is already proving an unskippable highlight of each new episode… and it turns out that creator James Gunn made contact with a certain Resident Alien connection to help pull it all off behind the scenes.
Star John Cena and everyone else who dances for their peace-lovin’ lives stays completely stone-faced and serious as they robo-shuffle their way through the show’s opening dance-a-thon. The highly organized number is the creative work of actor and choreographer Charissa Barton, who just so happens to be married to Alan Tudyk — the star of SYFY’s own Resident Alien. And during those early formative moments when Barton needed a human stand-in to block out the dancers’ movements, it was Tudyk himself who ended up doing the honors.
Yep, the alien also known as Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle pulled uncredited duty as Peacemaker’s resident dance helper, standing in for Cena’s character during early choreography — as Gunn himself recently explained to Rolling Stone. Yes, there's behind the scenes footage to prove it.
“One funny thing is that it was only after I hired her [Barton] that I found out that she was married to my friend [Resident Alien star] Alan Tudyk, and when she was sending me all the little clips of ideas for dance moves out of her kitchen, they were all starring Alan as Peacemaker,” Gunn explained.
Sure enough, there are some photos out there that show Tudyk striking some of the same hilariously idiotic dance poses that Cena stomps through in the dance sequence. Costar Steve Agee, who plays A.R.G.U.S. agent John Economos on the series (as well as in Gunn’s The Suicide Squad), hit Twitter with a handful of silly choreography shots featuring Tudyk doing his best Cena dance impression — all in the name of peace, of course.
As Gunn has previously explained, the intro goes to sublimely stupid lengths to put a straight face on the show, all to heighten the overall silly factor. “…I explained [to Barton] the basic essence of the scene, which is it’s just this absolutely ludicrous, goofy, nonsense dance, but combined with everybody being absolutely dead serious, and not breaking for even a half-second,” he told Rolling Stone. “Everything is completely serious on the one hand, and everything is completely goofy with the other. I think it’s very much like the spirit of the show.”
In a weird way, it’s kind of like the spirit of Resident Alien, too. After all, Tudyk spends his entire earthly existence on SYFY’s hit series assuming the identity of someone he’s not…so it only makes sense that he’d be up for a little behind-the-scenes Peacemaker pretend duty to help envision how Cena would strike a hair metal pose or two.
Tudyk doesn’t appear in the final, on-screen dance sequences that evolve slightly with each new Peacemaker episode — but at least we know he’s been there in spirit from the start. Look to SYFY beginning Jan. 26 to find Tudyk in the flesh, though, when Resident Alien returns for its second season. In the meantime, catch Cena alongside costars Jennifer Holland, Robert Patrick, Danielle Brooks, Eagly the eagle, and more budding DC Comics dance pros as Peacemaker debuts new episodes each Thursday at HBO Max.