Deadpool in the MCU: How Marvel Studios can adapt an R-rated character in a PG-13 universe

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Ever since the Disney-Fox acquisition was finalized back in March 2019, several questions have been looming over how Marvel Studios will develop its newly acquired properties. The Fantastic Four are actively being developed and Mutants are not far behind, but until recently official information about the future of Deadpool has been limited. In an interview with Collider, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige not only confirmed that Deadpool’s future is in the MCU, but that the character will definitely remain R-rated.

“It will be rated R and we are working on a script right now, and Ryan’s overseeing a script right now… It will not be [filming] this year” Feige said. “Ryan is a very busy, very successful actor. We’ve got a number of things we’ve already announced that we now have to make, but it’s exciting for it to have begun. Again, a very different type of character in the MCU, and Ryan is a force of nature, which is just awesome to see him bring that character to life.”

Fans collectively let out a sigh of relief that the iconic character will retain his raunchy status, but it not bears the question of how Feige will execute an MCU transition into more adult story telling. The question now becomes this: how will Disney avoid damaging its most successful vertical to give fans an MCU version of Deadpool, and is it even a good idea? Before deciding to join either camp, let’s dive into the complexities of the situation and flesh out the situation. 

The main reason that lead Feige and Disney to include Deadpool in the MCU is the fans. Marvel film and comic loyalists have waited for the moment when Deadpool can finally interact with their favorite Avengers. Wade Wilson’s famous connection with Peter Parker’s Spider-Man in the comics has been incredibly popular over the years and is at the top of many fans’ wish lists for the future of the MCU. That particular situation is made more complicated by Spider-Man’s questionable long-term inclusion in the MCU, but some fans are still very much looking forward to this potential team up and other potential team-ups going forward.  

A major benefit of the character himself is that Deadpool is known to break the fourth-wall, so including him in an MCU story will not require much suspension of disbelief. Although all of the signs point to Deadpool at least interacting with MCU characters on some level, Disney must be remarkably careful when deciding how to execute its plan. Disney itself is one of the most pristine brands on the planet and is carried by a foundation of content that is guaranteed to be family friendly. Throwing a character that is famous for his bloody violence and raunchy humor into the mix has to be done carefully. 

Before anyone dismisses Disney’s dilemma, remember to keep in mind that Feige and the rest of top management have an obligation to their employees and shareholders to carefully plan the company’s future and handle risky situations like this with care. An example of an obvious obstacle that is at the top of Disney’s mind is the foreign box office. As of right now, Disney—and especially Marvel Studios—has an excellent relationship with foreign audiences, particularly China. But the previous two “Deadpool” films have been denied Chinese release dates on account of them being too raunchy. As a communist nation, China is well known for its restriction and censorship of Hollywood films in general. Is Disney willing to risk its overall relationship with the government of the second-largest movie market in the world to give an uncensored MCU Deadpool to the fans?

It seems the most logical solution is somewhere in the middle. Deadpool’s ability to break the fourth wall could allow him to interact with MCU characters without technically being part of the main timeline. A situation like this could be ideal for a potential adaptation of famous stories like Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. A character like Deadpool has so much potential in the hands of Marvel Studios, but remember, business and art do not always have a straightforward connection. Let’s just hope that whatever Disney decides to do protects and preserves everything that fans love about these characters and stories. 

How do you feel about an R-rated Deadpool in the MCU? Let us know down below or on Twitter or Facebook.

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