'Peacemaker' star Chukwudi Iwuji says his 'spirit will be with the team'

Murn (Chukwude Iwuji) loses his patience for Peacemaker. Photo courtesy of HBO Max
Murn (Chukwude Iwuji) loses his patience for Peacemaker. Photo courtesy of HBO Max

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Chukwude Iwuji said he knew when he joined the cast of Peacemaker, he only would appear in seven of the show's eight episodes. Iwuji, 45, confirmed his character, Murn, would not be in the season finale, which premieres Thursday on HBO Max.

"I got the script right from the start and knew his trajectory," Iwuji told UPI in a Zoom interview. "I knew it was sayonara in Episode 7, so it was about really enjoying the ride up to then."



In the latest Peacemaker episode, Murn is killed. Iwuji said Peacemaker (John Cena) would have to lead the team without him, but the actor hopes the comic book show can find a way to bring him back.

"My spirit will be with the team," Iwuji said. "If there's more seasons, this is DC. People die and come back."


Murn was not in the movie The Suicide Squad, which launched Cena's iteration of the character. Nor was Murn ever a character in DC Comics.

Writer/director James Gunn created Murn for the Peacemaker series. Murn is an agent of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis in the films) and leads Project Butterfly.

Butterflies are aliens who are taking over human bodies. Episode 5 of Peacemaker revealed Murn is a butterfly, working undercover to save humanity. Although Iwuji knew ahead of time about Murn's secret and his death, the actor tried to avoid giving the audience any hints of what was to come.

"I knew that it would be this incredible reveal," Iwuji said. "One of the things I really believe in as an actor is to play moment to moment and not to play the arc."

Peacemaker has thrown multiple wrenches in Murn's plans. Peacemaker doesn't follow orders, and he makes jokes about butt babies and other childish tangents.

Iwuji said it was easy to portray Murn's frustration with Peacemaker. As funny as Peacemaker could be, he was distracting Murn from an important mission.

"[Murn] cares deeply about humanity, saving humanity," Iwuji said. "So the frustration is very real because it's a time bomb waiting to go off. No one but him truly knows how bad it is."


Before Peacemaker, Iwuji appeared in The Underground Railroad, Designated Survivor and When They See Us. Iwuji's parents are Nigerian, and Iwuji once told an Interviewer he lived in Ethiopia until he was 10, when he then went to boarding school in England.

Iwuji attended Yale University and later performed Shakespeare on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Public Theater. Iwuji's first television role was the 2006 British-Danish-Irish series Proof. He later guest-starred on Doctor Who.

Iwuji said working with Gunn on Peacemaker led to Gunn offering Iwuji a role in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3. Iwuji said he learned this while they were filming the dance number that opens every episode of Peacemaker.

"He came up and said, 'I don't know what your schedule is, but I'd like you to play in Guardians of the Galaxy 3,'" Iwuji said. "I can't tell you the role. That side is mysterious still and that's how it happened."

The opening titles became a fan favorite moment of every episode. Set to Wig Wam's hair metal homage "Do Ya Wanna Taste It," the entire cast of Peacemaker performs choreography with serious expressions on their faces.

Iwuji said there were many takes in which the cast broke their expressions.


"As you can imagine, there's a blooper reel somewhere of us just cracking up," Iwuji said.

Iwuji said the cast filmed the dance number after two months of shooting the series. Because the actors had episodes to film, Iwuji said, there was little time to rehearse.

"You had to go home and do your homework," Iwuji said. "So a lot of work was done at home, driving my wife crazy with the steps. There was enough time to panic, let me put it that way."

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