Do ya really wanna, do ya really wanna skip it? Peacemaker series creator James Gunn says there's more than meets the eye — and the ears — in the stilted, super-serious opening credits dance number set to the tune of Wig Wam's "Do Ya Wanna Taste It." The three-episode premiere of Gunn's The Suicide Squad spinoff, now streaming on HBO Max, gives viewers the option of a "skip intro" button to bypass the 90-second sequence written into the script and directed by Gunn. But what appears to be a funny and "ridiculous" musical number is telling a story that gets deeper — and darker — with each episode of Peacemaker.
"That was in the script from the beginning. There's a woman by the name of Charissa Barton who I hired to do the choreography for us...She did a fantastic job," Gunn said on the official Podly: The Peacemaker Podcast. "I really just wanted something very, very weird. I remember [Leota Adebayo actor] Danielle Brooks coming to me and going, 'What are we doing? What is this?' And I'm like, 'Just look totally serious. You're not having fun, just be very, very, very, very serious.' (Laughs) And telling Charissa, 'We gotta make the dance as ridiculous as it could possibly be while they remain completely serious.'"
"Charissa really helped me to put that together, she was the one that designed it, and she did an amazing job," Gunn added of the opening dance number, which fans have called "one of the greatest credits ever put on TV" and "unskippable."
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The sequence shows Cena, in full Peacemaker regalia, robotically dancing as the show's emotionless and expressionless cast of characters — including the costumed Vigilante (Freddie Stroma), Project Butterfly mission leader Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji), and the racist "Auggie" Smith (Robert Patrick) — gyrate to the '80s hair metal-inspired soundtrack.
Besides the earworm of Wig Wam's "Do Ya Wanna Taste It," Barton's choreography has a hidden meaning that will become clear by the time Peacemaker's eight episodes have aired on HBO Max.
"One of the fun things that you'll see as you watch the episodes of the series is [the opening credits] plays a different role in every episode," Gunn teased. "I know people are going to be able to skip over it — I hope they don't — because it plays a different role in every [episode]. It just always tells a different story. You'll see as our story gets darker, and deeper, and more sad, that the dance itself kind of becomes more sad and more serious and less funny. So it's interesting to see in that way."
Starring John Cena, Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, Jennifer Holland, Chukwudi Iwuji, Steve Agee, and Robert Patrick, new episodes of DC's Peacemaker premiere Thursdays on HBO Max.