Every studio is looking into R-rated blockbusters currently and that has brought Kevin Feige to now at least back off his stance that the MCU will never have one. This movement in Hollywood has continued to become increasingly popular with the successes that Fox has experienced with Kingsman: The Secret Service, but furthermore with Deadpool and Logan. Ever since, studios have continued to look and see if they could develop big, R-rated tentpoles of their own - specifically in the comic book genre. Warner Bros. has kept an open mind to R-rated DCEU films and Sony reported wants Venom to kick off an R-rated universe, while Fox has Deadpool 2 and X-Force on the horizon.
Marvel Studios on the other hand has been rather hesitant to lean into this trend. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has built up a reputation of being rather family friendly and has the box office returns to back up the reasoning for this approach. But, with this trend continuing to be more and more successful, the President of Marvel Studios is now saying they aren't out of the question.
While speaking to AlloCine (via MCU Exchange) to promote Spider-Man: Homecoming, Kevin Feige was asked about the possibility of the MCU embracing an R-rated film. Feige has previously suggested they won't go down this route but never ruled it out completely either, and now they seem open to consider the possibility:
Currently we don’t work on R-Rated movies, it’s not out of the question but currently, no.
Even if Feige and the entirety of Marvel Studios is open to the idea of doing a R-rated film, it will surely not be in the immediate future. With all of Phase 3 announced, there is no film on the slate that fits an R-rating. What it would ultimately mean is the start of a new franchise that establishes the necessity of the harder, darker, more adult rating.
Thanks to Marvel's vast library of characters at their disposal, if they do want to move into the R-rated territory and do a smaller film that is largely disconnected from the MCU, they could have their pick of characters. But, if there is one possibility from Marvel's current characters, it could be with Black Widow. Scarlett Johansson has had success already with an R-rated action film in Lucy and giving the character a personal, self-contained story set in the aftermath of Thanos' attack (or even an origin tale) with a smaller budget would optimize the possibility of it being a hit. Feige has also said they're committed to making a Black Widow solo film, so maybe she could be the R-rated answer.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) release date: Jul 07, 2017
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017) release date: Nov 03, 2017
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019