Fans were close to witnessing John Cena alongside the hilarious Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 2. The former professional wrestler made his first superhero (or supervillain) appearance in The Suicide Squad. Following the film’s success, Cena also got a standalone series for his character, Peacemaker. The series created by James Gunn received high praise from DC fans and featured a record-breaking finale episode.
John Cena’s other famous franchise roles include Jakob Toretto in the Fast & Furious film series and Jack Burns in the Transformers film series. However, the Blockers actor faced rejection in a number of superhero roles, despite having the physique and fanbase ideal for such roles.
John Cena Was Rejected From Marvel Projects, Including Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool 2
John Cena’s potential for a superhero role was recognized by fans long before filmmakers, as there were several fan requests to cast him in various superhero roles. Despite starring in some hit movies and proving his acting chops, the Bumblebee actor had to wait until 2021’s The Suicide Squad to finally step into a superhero role.
The Marine actor was asked about the same when he appeared on the Happy Sad Confused podcast with Josh Horowitz. The host wanted to know whether there were any near-miss experiences with superhero roles, specifically mentioning Shazam!. Cena revealed that he was rejected from multiple superhero roles he had set his sights on, including Marvel projects. Cena particularly named Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool 2 as one missed project. The F9 actor told Josh Horowitz:
“I can’t tell you how many superhero roles I’ve been rejected for. Shazam is certainly one. But there was a brief try at the Deadpool Universe. Rejection. […] There was a few in the Marvel Universe. Rejected. But, you know, I kept trying…”
When pressed about whether it was the role of Cable that he was turned down for in Deadpool 2, Cena confirmed it. However, he did not go into details about the other Marvel roles that slipped through his grasp.
James Gunn Gave John Cena A Chance After DC Previously Rejected Him For Shazam!
When questioned about which superhero role he had badly wanted to play, John Cena revealed that he liked the childish character of Shazam. Comparing the role to the basketball Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo, the Fast X actor revealed his interest in playing the role. However, he further added that he usually insisted on reading the script before pursuing roles of interest.
However, one exception to his usual role selection process was when James Gunn offered him the Peacemaker role. Calling Gunn a reputed storyteller, Cena shared that the casting for Peacemaker happened almost by accident. The Hidden Strike actor was not the first choice on Gunn’s long list but finalized him after a short meeting. Cena shared with Josh Horowitz:
“We sat down in his pre-production office, which was literally like a war headquarters where you could see the whole movie in posterboard taped around his office, and he started talking about Peacemaker, and he’s like, ‘I think you should do it.’ So I’m not rejected? They usually say, like, ‘Hey, love you man, but we’re just going in another direction.’”
Fans eagerly wait for season 2 of the hit series Peacemaker, especially after Gunn announced that it would be a part of the new DCU. Peacemaker Season 1 is now available for streaming on Max.
Source: Josh Horowitz – YouTube