Peacemaker’s New Canon in the DCU Isn’t Confusing, The Flash Explained it Perfectly

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Even though the DC Extended Universe is set to be completely rebooted with such upcoming projects as Creature Commandos and James Gunn’s Superman film, fans who have been eagerly waiting for the return of Peacemaker since the news of its renewal can rest assured that Season 2 is still in production. Gunn himself has confirmed that not only will Season 2 be taking place within the same new continuity as the rest of the upcoming DC Universe but Season 1 is no longer directly canonical as a result. This news has understandably resulted in head-scratching confusion from DC fans, but one of the DCEU’s final films may have been the perfect set-up for Peacemaker’s new canon.

The events of 2023’s The Flash portrayed the results of time travel in a completely new way, showing the cosmic and potentially disastrous effects that Barry Allen’s misuse of his speedster abilities could have on the entirety of the DC multiverse. The film’s story allowed for some satisfyingly nostalgic returns from classic iterations of DC media, the most notable being Michael Keaton’s Batman. However, it also managed to provide its audience with a perfectly logical explanation for why certain elements from the previous timeline are being carried over to the new one. If looked at just a little closer, it’s not quite as confusing as the fans are making it out to be.

Taking place after the events of The Suicide Squad, the Peacemaker TV show took the titular character through a redemptive story arc after the murder of Colonel Rick Flag in Corto Maltese. Teaming up with a new task force consisting of Amanda Waller’s subordinates, Emilia Harcourt and John Economos, along with her daughter, Leota Adebayo, Peacemaker took on a new mission trying to eliminate a different kind of alien threat to the planet. While the film depicted him as a man who didn’t care who he had to kill to achieve his ultimate goal of peace, the show painted him as a much more complex individual. It dove deep into his backstory and explored his abusive childhood, his inner plague of guilt for past killings, and numerous other aspects that eventually made viewers see him as a much more sympathetic character. Recently, however, one of James Gunn’s recent announcements is leading many fans to believe all of that previous development may have been for nothing.

According to Gunn, the events within his Superman film will have a direct effect on the events that will unfold in the show’s second season. Given its blatant connections to the DCEU timeline (Peacemaker even has a brief interaction with the Justice League in the finale), this seemingly confirms that Season 1 will no longer be considered canon going forward. Understandably, this has resulted in confusion by the fans as to how (or even if) exactly this creative decision is going to be addressed within the show. Gunn has confirmed, however, that a loose memory of previous events will be carried over, and has assured that it won’t be confusing. While the vagueness of his answer may not be enough to satisfy everyone, the events of The Flash might just have one that will.

In The Flash, Barry Allen uses his powers to go back in time to prevent his mother’s murder as well as to prevent his father from being framed for the crime. While he succeeds in doing so, he also messes up the timeline in more ways than one. Not only is there another alternate version of him occupying the same reality, but it’s a reality where no other metahumans exist, allowing General Zod to attack Earth without Superman to protect it. Instead, the only other heroes are Kara Zor-El/Supergirl and Michael Keaton’s iteration of Batman. So, how exactly did this version of the character come to find himself in an alternate reality?

When Keaton’s Bruce Wayne is reintroduced, it’s explained that his presence in this alternate timeline is because time isn’t linear but is affected by backward causation. Rather than creating a branched timeline as a result of altering history like in most other time travel stories, Barry’s actions instead created an entirely new reality with a completely alternate history. Essentially, Barry’s timeline had become entangled with the multiverse, which allowed for inevitable intersections and crossovers between realities that “run parallel” and others that are “wildly divergent”. The film didn’t get too specific regarding how much the events of Keaton’s two films carried over, given that he was unaware of even being in an alternate reality before meeting Barry. Given the amount of references and Easter eggs sprinkled throughout, however, it’s safe to assume that this Batman is indeed the same one from Tim Burton’s duology.

By the end of the film, as he is tragically forced to allow his mother to die to save the multiverse, Barry also manages to alter history just enough so that he can still prove his father’s innocence. By doing so, however, another fulcrum is created, and even though the existence of Jason Momoa’s Aquaman is restored, things are still different, such as George Clooney’s Bruce Wayne now taking the place of Ben Affleck’s. For anyone who is still confused by Peacemaker’s new canon, these developments hold the answer. Just as both Keaton and Clooney’s Batmen were thrown from their original timelines and collided with Barry’s, so too has John Cena’s Peacemaker (potentially along with a few other characters) been cosmically tossed into another timeline as a result of his decision to further mess with time.

As it turns out, Peacemaker isn’t the only character from the DCEU that will be playing a part in the rebooted timeline. Gunn has announced that most of the cast from the series will be returning for Season 2 and will also make appearances in other upcoming projects. Both Viola Davis and Steve Agee have been confirmed to be reprising their respective roles as Amanda Waller and John Economos, both as voice-overs in the animated Creature Commandos and back in live-action once again for the Waller series; even Sean Gunn, who will be taking over the role of Maxwell Lord from Pedro Pascal in Superman, is also confirmed to be returning as Weasel from The Suicide Squad. One of the bigger characters who may also be affected by The Flash is Blue Beetle, as even though Xolo Mariduena will still be playing him, it’s been confirmed that his film also won’t be canon to the DCU. With this in mind, it could also be assumed that the young hero has also been affected by Barry’s time travel.

It’s currently unknown just how exactly the rebooted timeline will address the returns of these characters and just how loosely it’ll retain the memory of what they had accomplished in the old one. Fortunately, the explanation as to how they will be returning has already been answered. Despite all the ups and downs that the DCEU went through in its efforts to establish and maintain a cohesive continuity, it is reassuring to know that one of its final installments ushered the way for a new cinematic universe that could hopefully handle those efforts much better.

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