Is Deadpool’s R rating under threat at Disney?

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When Disney merged with Fox, a lot of X-Men fans were excited to see Disney and Marvel Studios reboot the franchise. But Deadpool fans had more doubts. Since the Deadpool movies are staunchly adult-rated and full of edgy humor, they don’t exactly fit with the Disney brand. Would Deadpool get to keep his R rating?

At first it definitely seemed safe, because Deadpool is a hugely successful phenomenon in its current form. During an investors’ call in May, Disney boss Bob Iger assured everyone that Deadpool would still be rated R at Disney. But now, things look a little less certain, beginning with a recent interview with Deadpool 2 director David Leitch. Speaking to Yahoo! News, Leitch suggested that Deadpool could easily work as PG-13.

“It’s rated R so that’s not necessarily the [MCU] brand but he doesn’t necessarily need to be R and [Disney] don’t necessarily need to only make PG-13 movies. I think we’ll find a happy ground.”

That’s definitely a “we’re keeping an open mind” kind of answer.


Then on Monday, following the most recent Disney investors’ call with Iger, Variety editor Brent Lang remarked that there are now internal debates about whether Deadpool can “move seamlessly” to a PG-13 rating in the MCU. If Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool does move to the MCU (which seems likely, regardless of age rating), then he’ll probably be the only survivor from Fox’s X-Men franchise, which lost money at the box office with Dark Phoenix this year.

For some fans, Deadpool’s R rating is sacrosanct. But there are plenty of arguments in favor of a PG-13 rating, including the obvious fact that most Deadpool comics are not actually adult rated. Like DC’s Harley Quinn, he’s a character with a lot of adult appeal and a cult following, but who also appears in material aimed at kids, and can be depicted in a pretty wide variety of ways. The creators of Deadpool 2 actually released a PG-13 edit last Christmas, cutting the more extreme violence and adult jokes, and adding a couple of characteristically self-aware scenes to explain why the story was now family-friendly.

It’s also worth remembering that if Deadpool ever shows up in a Spider-Man or Avengers movie, he’ll have to follow their PG-13 rating anyway.


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Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor