Ever since 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool killed its way to the top of the box office last year, R-rated superheroes are now in vogue. But would the Disney-owned Marvel Studios ever consider its own R-rated superhero movie? In a Facebook live Q&A, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. director James Gunn said Marvel isn’t ruling the possibility out. It’s just not likely.
On Monday afternoon, Gunn held a live Facebook chat on his verified page, taking questions lobbed at him by eager fans. One of them asked about the possibility of Marvel releasing an R-rated picture in a similar fashion to Deadpool and Logan, both of which happened to be monster performers at the box office. “We’ve discussed it before. We’ve talked about it,” Gunn said. “I don’t think there’s ever been a movie that Marvel said, ‘Hey this should really be R-rated’ at the end of the day, of the movies we’ve made so far.”
Gunn went on to add, “I think that if that ever came up, that’d be a discussion that everybody would have to have. So who knows. I don’t think it’s out of the question.”
What Gunn is saying as plain as day is that the folks at Marvel Studios have discussed producing R-rated movies. It’s just not going to happen anytime soon. Marvel has pretty much nailed the PG-13 market, which generally speaking are inoffensive products that can be exported around the world without much fuss. So why rock the boat? Disney chairman Bob Iger said as much last year: “All of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have been rated PG-13 so far, and the franchise is doing just fine. Plus, they’re all released by Disney, which has built its brand on family-friendly four-quadrant blockbusters.”
1998’s Blade, which was based on Marvel’s vampire superhero, was an R-rated film that helped usher in the modern superhero craze (though it was not produced by the Marvel Studios, which didn’t exist at the time, and the company hadn’t been bought by Disney yet). As superhero movies exploded, they quickly began resembling the all-ages tone that echoed the colorful comic books they were based on. It’s only certain recent movies like Deadpool, Logan, and the “Ultimate Cut” of Batman v Superman that superhero movies have embraced a full-fledged R-rating. Marvel doesn’t have to pursue that style exclusively, but at least it’s always a possibility.
Later on in the Q&A, a fan asked Gunn if he would ever consider directing an Avengers movie. Gunn answered with a flat “no.” Makes a little sense, considering the last guy to director one didn’t cherish the experience.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be released on May 5, 2017.