Zazie Beetz has stated that she believes Deadpool should keep its R-rating. The actress quickly became a household name from her memorable turn in Deadpool 2 as the supernaturally lucky warrior Domino, and will be back for more since she has a three-movie deal as the character.
Although superhero films are by their nature very heavy on action, the fight scenes in most of them feature very little blood and no excessive violence. This is done with the intention of securing a PG-13 rating and thus widen the potential audience by allowing younger people to see the film unsupervised. The simple reasoning is that the more people who are able to see a film, the more money it will make. The release of Deadpool in 2016 to financial success in spite of its R rating defied such conventional wisdom, indicating that just because the audience for a film is limited, it can still be a hit at the box office if it has enough wit and creativity to appeal to fans, not to mention an inventive and extensive marketing campaign behind it.
Beetz made the statement while being interviewed by CineXpress during the Puerto Rico Comic Con. She brought up the issue due to the recent deal between Fox (the holders of the film rights to all X-Men related material, including Deadpool) with Disney. Her reasoning was that since Disney have a “different audience base” than Fox, specifically an overall demographic that skews younger, there was the risk of Deadpool’s notoriously violent content being downgraded by the film character’s new owners. Her hope is that Disney will “continue to honor Fox’s audience base,” and keep Deadpool as he has been established.
Although Deadpool was far from the first R rated comic book movie, such adaptations of mainstream titles were previously infrequent, with the likes of Blade (1998), The Punisher (2004), Watchmen (2009) and Dredd (2012) being some of the few released prior to Deadpool’s debut solo outing. Their success rate was variable, and with films aimed at wider age groups pulling in larger audiences, the consensus became to always aim for the younger demographic.
Beetz’ comments were just speculation since she knows as little as we do about the decisions currently being made at company level (although they have been faintly alluded to), but that’s not to say they aren’t valid points. The brutality and vulgarity of Deadpool was part of what made it such fun and it would be a shame if corporate short-sightedness allowed for the character to be sanitised, in particular if he joins the MCU, in the hope of drawing in a younger crowd to up its takings, especially after it has already proved such thinking to be unnecessary. That said, there have been times when Deadpool has still entertained despite being partially neutered, such as when he showed up as a supporting character during the animated short Hulk vs Wolverine, but since excess is what fans of the films have come to expect, the next Deadpool movie would do well to maintain its comical sense of the extreme, otherwise the inevitable disappointment would mean there probably wouldn’t be any more.