What Is Project Butterfly in Peacemaker?

What is Project Butterfly in Peacemaker?

Christopher Smith, a.k.a. Peacemaker, was a breakout character from James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. Although he wasn’t really the hero we all loved in the end – like Bloodsport, the Ratcatcher, and King Shark – the character was important enough to merit a standalone spin-off television series that premieres in January 2022 on HBO Max. The Peacemaker has to “Save the f*cking world” in this new series and his new enemy has been described as – Project Butterfly. But, what is Project Butterfly?

Project Butterfly is the codename for the chief villain in the Peacemaker television series. The whole concept is still a mystery, though, as we’ve gotten only several details from the first several episodes of the show. We know that Project Butterfly is a “domestic situation” that requires handling and that it seemingly involves mind-controlling aliens sent to infiltrate the planet. These aliens are parasites that resemble butterflies, hence the name – Project Butterfly.

In the rest of this article, we are going to tell you everything we currently know about Project Butterfly. You have to be aware that Project Butterfly is the main mission of the Peacemaker series, which means that there is a lot of information to be revealed as the episodes progress. It wouldn’t make sense for the writers to reveal everything about the main villain in the first three episodes, which is why we all have to wait some more to receive additional information about Project Butterfly.

What Is Project Butterfly in Peacemaker?

Now, to explain the importance of Project Butterfly, we have to go back to The Suicide Squad movie. Well, the whole concept from the movie is not directly related to the series, but the symbolism of the name – Project Butterfly – is, since the zoological connection is referenced in the television series.

If you remember the movie well, in retaliation for Luna’s coup in Corto Maltese, Amanda Waller sends Task Force X to destroy all records linking the U.S. government to the Starfish Project experiments. This is what the operation dubbed as Operation Starfish. Tasked with a mission, Task Force X infiltrated the country, kidnapped Thinker and forced him to let them into the Jotunheim base.


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Shortly after, the group was able to enter the base and began planting bombs while several soldiers tried to stop them. Colonel Rick Flag, who was accompanied by Cleo Cazo, forced Thinker to introduce him to Project Starfish, after which Grieves led them out of an elevator to the floor guarded by Starro.

As soon as they entered, Flag and Cazo were surprised at how many people were affected by the spores while talking to them about how they had been tortured for years. Flag became angry when he saw the experiments, while Cazo, frightened, approached a window where one of Starro’s limbs took a hit to ask for help.

Rick Flag was about to release the records of the project when he felt he was being used by his government for dirty work, but Peacemaker came to stop him, ending in his apparent death. The bombs exploded prematurely, so Starro began to escape from the lab. The remaining members of Task Force X then have to stop Starro, a mission in which they ultimately succeed.

Flashforward to the post-credits scene of The Suicide Squad, we find out that Peacemaker survived and that he is recruited by A.R.G.U.S. to “Save the f*cking world” once again. John Cena takes his toiler-resembling mask and is given another mission, titled Project Butterfly. Now, why is Project Starfish related to Project Butterfly?

Well, based on his prior experience, Peacemaker (thankfully, he was wrong) concluded that he’s “fighting a Mothra now.” He later questions if being a Butterfly is “a venereal disease of some type,” bluntly asking if he’s going to turn into a “dick vampire” after a one-night-stand with the super-powered Butterfly Annie Sturphausen (Crystal Mudry), who was also the first Butterfly he had to eliminate in the course of the series. 

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So, what do we know about Project Butterfly from the first three episodes of Peacemaker? We know that Annie Sturphausen is the first Butterfly that Peacemaker eliminates in the course of the series. Still, at that point, the whole Project is still being kept secret and Waller actually refuses to reveal to Smith what lies behind the whole concept.

Now, as the story progresses, the true meaning behind Project Butterfly is revealed – the Butterflies are actually parasitic creatures, probably of alien origin, which infiltrate the head of a person and then control their mind. Later scenes reveal that the Butterfly network is spread around the world, but this is where the source dries up.

We actually don’t know the ultimate goal of the Butterflies, nor the person behind the whole project. The whole nature of the Butterflies still raises more questions than it gives answers.


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We do know that, as it seems, the Butterflies aren’t based on anything we’ve seen in the comic books. There might be something behind the whole concept that resembles the whole project, but there is no direct correlation between anything we’ve seen in the comics and Project Butterfly as it has been presented so far.

As for the Butterflies, they themselves seem to be relatively weak and probably have no special powers outside of a host body, meaning that they’re basically insects. The creature itself, though, can seemingly withstand a fair amount of damage while inside a host, as witnessed by the one found in the head of Senator Goff, but they still can be killed.

When a Butterfly possesses a person, that person seems to get powers similar to those of a metahuman. However, this comes at a high price, as the Butterfly seems to take over their mind completely and presumably causes long-term damage to their bodies as it grows inside them like a parasite.

This is everything we know about Project Butterfly so far but we’re certain that more information about the whole Project will be revealed in the forthcoming episodes.