Why Peacemaker's Vigilante Is So Different From Arrow's Adrian Chase

Peacemaker’s Vigilante is a far cry from Arrow's take on the character. Peacemaker's Vigilante is definitely a psychopath with a strangely charming naivete, and it’s already been made abundantly clear that he isn't at all in line with Arrow’s interpretation. During Peacemaker season 1, Vigilante was played by Bridgeton star Freddie Stroma and the actor brought a ton of comedic relief to the already hysterical show. Prior to Adrian Chase’s DCEU debut in the HBO Max series, the Arrowverse utilized him as the main villain of Arrow season 5.

In Arrow, the Arrowverse essentially split Vigilante in two by separating the DC Comics anti-hero from the Adrian Chase alter ego. One of Arrow season 5's shocking twists revealed that Star City district attorney Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) was Prometheus, the villain that was relentlessly targeting Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). Later, it unmasked Vigilante and confirmed that the man who was waging a one-man war on crime in Star City was Vincent Sobel (Johann Urb), a supposedly deceased cop and the ex-boyfriend of the Black Canary (Juliana Harkavy).

Related: Peacemaker: Why Amanda Waller Didn't Help Until The Finale

On the other hand, Peacemaker's Vigilante isn't always a villain. Rather, he sees himself as Peacemaker/Chris Smith's (John Cena) best friend and will do whatever he can to help the misguided superhero/villain out, whether he's wanted or not. Any of the characters surrounding Adrian Chase will openly admit that the masked man is clearly a psychopath and he sometimes hurts Waller's cause rather than helping it. In the end, he's always there for Smith, even confronting the White Dragon (Chris' abusive and racist father) in prison. The gap between Arrow's and Peacemaker's Vigilante characters is vast, so why are the two heroes/villains so different from one another?

What James Gunn has done with Vigilante is fundamentally different from both versions of Vigilante in Arrow. Part of the reason for that is related to the fact that Arrow made several changes to the character of Adrian Chase for story-related purposes. First of all, Adrian Chase isn’t Vigilante at all. They changed his identity and made him into a completely unique character in order to hide the Prometheus reveal from comic readers. The writers understood that because of his comic book history, audiences wouldn’t expect Adrian Chase to be the man under Vigilante’s mask. Furthermore, Arrow morphed him into a hateful, full-blown villain who was willing to kill himself just to torture Oliver. DC’s Original Adrian Chase had his fair share of issues but he wasn’t straight-up evil.

Another key difference is rooted in the fact that Peacemaker's Vigilante is a character in a James Gunn project. Similar to the approach taken with The Suicide Squad, the series is taking lesser-known DC characters and infusing them with heavy doses of dark humor. Peacemaker is giving this tragic figure from DC Comics an incredibly odd and comedic presence. As a result, he certainly comes across as a trademark James Gunn character. It's completely necessary to differentiate the two Vigilantes as Gunn has a very different style than what's presented in Arrow. Too, Freddie Stroma's comedic characterization of Adrian Chase fits much better with the HBO Max show.

Both properties diverging wildly from the comics in radically different directions is why Arrow’s Adrian Chase and Peacemaker’s Vigilante feel like opposites. But, that’s not a problem, because when DC's Peacemaker show introduced him, he felt like a new character who hasn’t already been used. This is effectively the case as the two shows take place in different continuities, with Arrow leading the Arrowverse and Peacemaker as the first TV show to come from the DCEU. Even his suit distances him from the two Arrow characters. While it’s true that Gunn is reinventing Vigilante, he’s sticking to the source material in regards to his design. Arrow made some updates to his look, whereas Peacemaker's Vigilante is in a comic-accurate costume, helping make him unrecognizable to Arrow's Vigilante.

Related: Peacemaker: Why Captain Locke Claims He Saw The Hamburglar

Peacemaker's version of Vigilante is has become a fast favorite among audiences due to actor Freddie Stroma's immense comedic abilities. While Arrow's Vigilante was still a great character, the series decided to separate him from his comic book identity, making Vigilante and Adrian Chase two distinct people. It's important that both Vigilantes are different from one another, as each character must remain true to their respective shows.

Next: When Peacemaker Is Set In The DCEU Timeline



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