Do you really want, do you really want to jump? Peacemaker Series creator James Gunn says there’s more than meets the eye — and ears — in the stilted, super-serious opening credits dance number to the tune of “Do Ya Wanna Taste It” by Wig Wam. Gunn’s three-episode premiere The Suicide Squad spinoff, now streaming on HBO Max, offers viewers the option of a “skip intro” button to bypass the 90-second sequence written in the script and directed by Gunn. But what appears to be a funny and “ridiculous” musical number tells a story that gets deeper – and darker – with each episode of Peacemaker.
“It was in the script from the start. There’s a woman by the name of Charissa Barton that I hired to do the choreography for us…She did a fantastic job,” Gunn said on the official Podly: The Peacemaker Podcast. “I really wanted something very, very weird. I remember [Leota Adebayo actor] Danielle Brooks comes up to me and says, ‘What do we do? What is that?’ And I’m like, ‘Just look totally serious. You’re not having fun, just be very, very, very, very serious. (Laughter) And tell Charissa, ‘We have to make the dance as ridiculous as possible while they stay completely serious.’
“Charissa really helped me put this together, she designed it and she did an amazing job,” Gunn added of the opening dance number, which fans called “the ‘one of the greatest credits ever put on television’ and ‘unmissable’.
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The footage shows Cena, in Peacekeeper gear, dancing robotically as the show’s emotionless and expressionless characters – including the costumed Vigilante (Freddie Stroma), Project Butterfly mission leader Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji) and the racist “Auggie” Smith (Robert Patrick) – turn to the soundtrack inspired by 80s hair metal.
Besides the earworm of Wig Wam’s “Do Ya Wanna Taste It,” Barton’s choreography has a hidden meaning that will become clear over time. Peacemaker’s eight episodes have aired on HBO Max.
“One of the fun things you’ll see watching episodes of the show is [the opening credits] plays a different role in each episode,” Gunn teased. “I know people are going to be able to ignore it – I hope they don’t – because it plays a different role in every [episode]. It always tells a different story. You’ll see as our story gets darker and deeper and sadder, the dance itself somehow gets sadder and more serious and less funny. So it’s interesting to see it that way.
Starring John Cena, Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, Jennifer Holland, Chukwudi Iwuji, Steve Agee and Robert Patrick, New DC Episodes Peacemaker premiering Thursdays on HBO Max.