Before Peacemaker premiered, people were a bit uncertain about how the series would be adapting Vigilante, especially after how the character was handled on Arrow. With Adrian Chase serving as one of Peacemaker’s leads and having been recast midway through production on the series, there was some uncertainty surrounding the character. It eventually led to some major payoff, however, with the creative decisions made with Vigilante being among the best in the series.
The version of Adrian Chase we meet in Peacemaker has a different background than his comic counterpart. Vigilante is basically DC’s version of the Punisher, set on a path of vengeance following the death of his family at the hands of mobsters. Adrian Chase was a former district attorney who sought out new ways of enforcing the law.
Peacemaker’s Chase is not a district attorney, he isn’t even a lawyer, instead, he’s a busboy at a local restaurant who spends his free time killing anyone who breaks the law, no matter how minuscule the crime is. He is also obsessed with Peacemaker, confirmed by the thousands of voicemails left on Peacemaker’s phone while he was in prison. This Vigilante is a massive goofball and very akin to the likes of Deadpool, a merc with a mouth who works by a code.
Vigilante was never really a big name in the comics. He was often dry and uninteresting as everything he did had been done before, there was never a ton of defining moments for the character. He would basically just run around the DC universe looking like a really angry Olympic skier with his red goggles and striped outfit.
Gunn is notorious for his work with lesser-known characters and making great strides when adapting them to the big screen. Gunn took Adrian Chase and made him lovable: he may be a ruthless killer but there is an actual character with substance there. He instantly lights up scenes while also stealing them at the very same time. While he may be committing some truly heinous crimes in the name of justice, as Peacemaker does in the name of peace, there’s something admirable to his mission. He isn’t a bad person. He’s got good intentions and just strives to help the world, it’s just that he’s got a really bad way of showing it. The most recent episode showed the great lengths Adrian would go not only to save the mission but also to free Peacemaker from the shadow of his abusive father.
It wouldn’t be the same without Freddie Stroma, brought in during the recast of the character, bringing a quirky and charming attitude to the character. Stroma definitely was the perfect fit for the character. While we haven’t seen what Conrad would’ve brought to the role, and maybe never will in the end I think it definitely worked out quite well.