Disney will continue making R-rated Deadpool movies after their acquisition of Fox, but they may not be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ryan Reynolds got a proper iteration of the Merc with a Mouth to the big screen in 2016, and gave Fox a lucrative R-rated superhero franchise in the process. But, with Disney's $71 billion acquisition of Fox's film and TV assets nearing completion, Deadpool's future has repeatedly been called into question.
Fox released Deadpool 2 in the summer of last year, and it just became the highest grossing X-Men movie ever thanks to the recent PG-13 edition that allowed for a Chinese release. While part of the proceeds were donated to a cancer charity, the move also appeared to many to be an attempt to show how Deadpool can still work in a PG-13 setting. That has never really appeared to be part of Disney's plans, with CEO Bob Iger stating early on in the process of the deal that the studio was interested in making R-rated Deadpool sequels.
During Disney's Quarter 1 earnings call for the 2019 fiscal year, Iger further stated his belief that future Deadpool sequels would be R-rated. He noted that there is "certainly popularity" with the Deadpool franchise, which has made over $1.5 billion worldwide. But, Iger did caution that a hypothetical R-rated Deadpool sequel would require them to be sure they are "carefully branding [R-rated films]…so we’re not in any way confusing the consumer," which could potentially keep Deadpool out of the MCU.
Since the deal is not yet closed, the specifics of how Deadpool will live on is not unclear. Iger previously stated that he wanted Marvel Studios to absorb all Marvel-related properties to become one entity, with the belief that all of Fox's Marvel owned characters would be rebooted to join the MCU. Thanks to Deadpool's meta-approach and fourth wall breaking, he would appear to be the one character poised to stick around and make even more jokes about it. This latest statement by Iger could mean that the Merc with a Mouth will remain separate from the MCU. If that's not the case, than how Disney, Fox, and Marvel are able to clearly differentiate the R-rated superhero film from the other MCU films will be something to watch.
If Deadpool is ultimately kept out of the MCU, then that would likely mean that fans can expect no R-rated MCU movies in the near future. The MCU is firing on all cylinders right now, and if they don't believe that a pre-established R-rated franchise with a major movie star at the center can work, then they may never pull the trigger on a more adult superhero film. This could show that the rumors that Black Widow was considered to be a R-rated movie are false. It's too early to tell what universe Deadpool will be part of once Disney gets hold of it, but it'll continue in some fashion.
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- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019