James Gunn Explains Why ‘Peacemaker’s Vigilante Was Recast Mid-Season
This Thursday, Peacemaker arrives on HBO Max. As the first DCEU television series and the first spinoff of James Gunn’s 2021 film The Suicide Squad, expectations are high. Gunn is also spearheading the show, which stars John Cena as the antihero. Harry Potter alumnus Freddie Stroma plays deranged hero Vigilante, but the role originally belonged to Chris Conrad. In a new interview with ScreenRant, Gunn reveals why Vigilante was recast mid-production.
When asked about Stroma’s involvement in the project, Gunn also addressed Conrad’s departure from the role. According to Gunn, Conrad had already shot over half of Peacemaker’s first season before he departed the project due to creative differences.
“Yeah. He [Stroma] came in late. We had already shot five-and-a-half episodes with another actor, who’s an incredibly talented guy, but we were on different pages about certain things, and I don’t think he wanted to continue on the series in the long run,” explained Gunn. “So we brought Freddie in, five-and-a-half episodes in, and I reshot all of his scenes, and you’re the first person who asked me that question, which I’m surprised by. But yeah, we re-shot. I directed all of the scenes with Vigilante in five and a half episodes.”
Gunn’s decision was a bold one — it likely took a long time to go back and reshoot all of Vigilante’s scenes. But since this is the first DCEU series, it’s especially important that all the details are right. Unlike a network sitcom, Peacemaker is afforded the opportunity of going back and reshooting with a new actor rather than swapping out Conrad for Stroma mid-season. And from the looks of Vigilante and Peacemaker’s on-screen chemistry in this behind-the-scenes clip, it appears that Gunn made the right choice.
Peacemaker premieres Thursday, January 13 on HBO Max.