Orange Is the New Black star Danielle Brooks will be starring alongside John Cena in HBO Max's Peacemaker, the spinoff series of James Gunn's The Suicide Squad. According to Variety, Brooks will reportedly play a character named Leota Adebayo, but any further details (like if she'll be revealed as an iconic DC Comics hero or villain) are being kept under wraps. The Peacemaker character is DC's twisted take on comic book vigilante anti-hero types - a man who does whatever it takes to achieve peace, no matter how many people he kills along the way. The spinoff series is said to be set prior to the events of The Suicide Squad and will reveal the origin story of Peacemaker. James Gunn will write the Peacemaker series and direct multiple episodes; the show is expected to go into production in 2021.
If you don't know your DC Comics lore, the mantle of "Peacemaker" was held by several characters; the John Cena version will be based on Christopher Smith, the first Peacemaker. That character started as a pacifist diplomat, before becoming a superhero who uses non-lethal weapons in a relentless pursuit of peace. Eventually, Peacemaker became more unstable, believing he communed with ghosts inside his helmet and going from non-lethal tactics to a hair-trigger mentality, where he is willing to kill for even the slightest infraction. Peacemaker's overkill ways are the sort of things that would understandably land him on Task Force X, as part of James Gunn's Suicide Squad.
You can see from that kind of framework for the Peacemaker character how Gunn and co. can have twisted fun with the character. Gunn directed the dark superhero satire Super (2010), which seems like a spiritual precursor to what this Peacemaker series will do in terms of tone, balancing brutal vigilante violence with dark comedy.
Danielle Brooks certainly knows a thing or two about how to create dark comedy. Organ Is the New Black was groundbreaking in the way it took Hogan's Heroes approach of creating laughter in the bleakest of circumstances. OITNB also had plenty of heart and drama, and Brooks was particularly instrumental in jumping between the two. Since finishing up with Orange in 2019, Brooks has been lining up several new big projects; she's voicing a character in HBO Max's animated series Close Enough and seems to have a good working relationship with WarnerMedia to now score this Peacemaker lead.
The Suicide Squad hits theaters on August 6, 2021.