Deadpool isn't exactly known for his restraint, so the news that a PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 will be arriving in theaters this December came as a bit of a surprise. Based on the teaser image shared by Ryan Reynolds, it looks like the PG-13 edition will get around the movie's gore and raunchy content by adding a framing device that spoofs The Princess Bride. Fred Savage will reprise his role as the grandson (even wearing his old Bears jersey), while Deadpool will play the role of the kindly grandfather reading him a story.
The most likely reason for re-releasing Deadpool 2 so soon is to squeeze a bit more cash out of the movie (pardon the cynicism). Directed by David Leitch, Deadpool 2 originally arrived in theaters in mid-May and has already been released on home video, along with a "Super Duper Cut" that includes extra footage and alternative jokes. The decision to go ahead and release a PG-13 edition of Deadpool 2 theatrically was almost certainly spurred by the success of the movie's home video sales; for a small extension of the production budget (the scenes with Savage can't have cost much to shoot), Deadpool 2 can get another run at the box office and, later, a new edition of the Blu-ray/DVD that includes all three cuts of the movie.
There's another benefit to experimenting with a PG-13 Deadpool, however. With the imminent acquisition of Fox by Disney, the Deadpool movie rights will soon be under the same umbrella as the Marvel Cinematic Universe - along with the rights to X-Men and the Fantastic Four. While the latter two franchises can be incorporated into the current MCU with relative ease, it's unclear what a strictly family-friendly studio like Disney is going to do with a very badly behaved superhero like Deadpool. But improbable as the idea of Deadpool in the MCU might be, a PG-13 Deadpool 2 could be the perfect proof of concept.
- This Page: Why A PG-13 Deadpool Can Still Work
- Page 2: How PG-13 Deadpool Can Lead Into The MCU
PG-13 Deadpool Could Be Even Funnier Than R-Rated Deadpool
As funny as the Deadpool movies are, they are sometimes guilty of using profanity as a punchline (for example, Deadpool asking "what in the f**ksicle is this?") and being over-reliant on shock humor. A PG-13 rating might push Deadpool out of his comfort zone, but that in itself could be an excellent source of humor. Not only is the idea of a notoriously foul-mouthed, violent, and sexually adventurous character trying to be Disney-friendly inherently funny, it also forces a certain level of creativity to bring the Deadpool we know and love to the big screen without traumatizing the kids. The Princess Bride parody is just one example of how that limitation can be turned into a gag.
It could even be argued that Fox should have done this sooner, releasing a PG-13 version of Deadpool so that kids could go and see it as well. Of course, it's understandable why that didn't happen (Fox did not have much confidence in Deadpool before the original movie came out, hence its modest budget and February release date), but Deadpool is now one of the most popular and lucrative superheroes around. If there's a way to make a PG-13 Deadpool work, the character could straddle the line between family- and adult-oriented entertainment, with families going to see a PG-13 cut of the movie and adults going to see an R rated version (similar to 3D and 2D screenings). It's a radical idea, but so was the MCU.
Deadpool's Future Is The Most Confusing Of All The X-Men
Disney and Marvel Studios are widely expected to eventually incorporate the X-Men and the Fantastic Four into the MCU, even if it's still unclear how that will be achieved ( i.e. will the two universes merge, or will the X-Men be completely rebooted or recast?). Deadpool's fate, however, is a lot less clear. The character pals around with the X-Men and with Spider-Man in the comics, but the movie version of Deadpool is almost defined by his movies' mature content. In a world where an R rating was seen as too much of a risk for superhero movies, Deadpool turned it into a selling point.
While it might seem self-evident that the Deadpool we know could never play nicely with the Avengers, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has a different perspective. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter last year, Feige was asked whether the success of Deadpool and Logan had convinced him to consider making R-rated MCU movies. Feige replied that it hadn't, explaining, "My takeaway from both of those films is not the R rating; it's the risk they took, the chances they took, the creative boundaries that they pushed." And while the line between a PG-13 rating and and R rating might seem like the most obvious boundary that Deadpool pushes, it's not what made the character so successful.
It's safe to say that Marvel Studios doesn't actually have any concrete plans for Deadpool just yet, given that the Disney-Fox merger isn't yet a done deal. In the meantime, however, the PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2 could effectively serve as Wade Wilson's audition for the MCU.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019