By Jenna Anderson
The live-action DC universe has been expanding out into some interesting territory over the past few years, with an array of characters entering the fold. That has included some previously lesser-known heroes and villains, including Christopher Smith / Peacemaker (John Cena), who now leads his own HBO Max series. The fourth episode of Peacemaker surprised fans by name-dropping the delightfully-obscure DC character Matter-Eater Lad — but apparently, that isn’t the first time his unique skillset has been acknowledged in the DCEU. Shazam! and Shazam!: Fury of the Gods director David F. Sandberg recently revealed that “matter eating” is among the list of potential superpowers that Shazam! (Zachary Levi) and Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) are testing out in the first film. This comes after Sandberg had tweeted back in 2018 that Matter-Eater Lad was another character he would want to make a DC movie about.
It’s also one of the powers they test in Shazam. As you can see Shazam failed to eat matter. Somehow. https://t.co/TkJkwKt37r pic.twitter.com/vaWyTdOsGF
Created by Jerry Siegel and John Forte in 1962’s Adventure Comics #303, Tenzil Kem / Matter-Eater Lad is a costumed character who, as the name suggests, has the ability to eat all matter, something he inherited from his home planet. Matter-Eater Lad then serves as a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, but admittedly one who is only sporadically used, and is often associated with the weirder annals of DC lore.
Matter-Eater Lad is the latest off-the-wall DC reference that Peacemaker has made, after acknowledging Doll-Man, Bat-Mite, and more.
“It’s almost like playing a massive prank on the DCU making Bat-Mite canon,” Peacemaker creator James Gunn recently told ComicBook.com. “I think I can’t say there was some big thought process to it. I’m writing, and these things come up, and then I just sort of go with them. I do think that Peacemaker’s relationship to other superheroes is very specific. He is envious. He wants to be in that holy trinity of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. He is not. He wants to be a member of the Justice League, and they would never let him into the Justice League. He wishes that people loved him as much as they love Aquaman, but they don’t.”
“So he believes anything and kind of picks out what he wants to believe on the Internet, which any random Joe has tweeted or put on,” Gunn continued. “He also doesn’t quite understand the Internet. He’s not very well versed in the Internet, so he sees something on Facebook, and somehow he thinks that’s fact. But I think that it also serves his envy to be these things about people.”
What do you think of Peacemaker (and Shazam!) referencing Matter-Eater Lad? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
New episodes of Peacemaker debut Thursdays exclusively on HBO Max.
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