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SYFY WIRE Peacemaker

Digging Peacemaker's opening titles? James Gunn says he wanted to 'vanquish' the skip button

The first three episodes of Peacemaker are now streaming on HBO Max.

By Josh Weiss
Peacemaker Opening Sequence PRESS

Like every other streaming service currently out there, HBO Max offers subscribers the option to skip the opening titles of its original content. However, something tells us that many individuals have opted out of that digital convenience with the release of Peacemaker (the first three episodes premiered today).

You see, James Gunn's small screen spinoff of The Suicide Squad doesn't kick off with the usual computer-generated graphics. No, those are for amateurs. Channeling the bizarrely genius nature of the "Guardians Inferno" music video he produced over at Marvel Studios, the writer/director/producer decided to introduce each Peacemaker episode with a dance number.

And not just any dance number, mind you — we're talking about a hilariously choreographed performance in which the principal cast (led by John Cena) gets down to the stylings of Wig Wam's "Do You Wanna Taste It." Carly Lane put it best in her review for Collider: "Good luck getting the opening theme song out of your head after you first hear it."

Chatting with Polygon, Gunn (who wrote all eight chapters and ended up directing five of them) admitted that the goal was to “vanquish the skip forward button” in order for audiences to fully appreciate the crew members who worked so hard to make the show a reality during the COVID-19 pandemic (production took place last year up Canada). “I really wanted to do a dance number where everybody was doing something incredibly ridiculous, and looked incredibly serious while they were doing it," he continued.

Given the comedic and satirical nature of the series itself, Gunn also wanted something that would let audiences know that this was a major tonal deviation from the darker (and Snyder-ier) corners of the DCEU. "I thought it was something that would, you know, be a signpost for people that this isn’t just your normal DC or Marvel TV show."

“The first time I heard about the dance sequence, James was pitching it to me while he was writing the script. And I was like, ‘Cool. I don’t know what you’re talking about,’” recalled Jennifer Holland, who plays Emilia Harcourt (a member of Amanda Waller's operations team). "The few hour-and-a-half-long rehearsals were done after filming wrapped for the day, with little insight into what the finished product might actually look like. “[James] was explaining some sort of like, emotionless, weird thing. And I was like, ‘Let’s do it; sounds great.’”

Chukwudi Iwuji (playing no-nonsese mercenary Clemson Murn) described it as "one of the most joyous days" on set. "Purely joy, just gleeful, crazy joy" he added. “[Though] I feel like my wife might leave me soon if I don’t stop singing that in the shower. She might just say enough is enough.”

The first three episodes of Peacemaker are now streaming on HBO Max, with the remaining five installments dropping on a weekly basis after today. Click here to see what critics have been saying about the show, which currently holds a 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.