Original Deadpool director Tim Miller thinks the franchise could do just fine without an R rating because of the performance of its lead star. In 2016, Ryan Reynolds debuted as the foul-mouthed antihero in the first Deadpool with Miller in the director's chair. Despite concerns that the movie wouldn't perform well in theaters because of its R rating, Deadpool was a tremendous success at the box office, setting the record at the time as the highest-grossing R rated movie.
The 2018 sequel Deadpool 2 was also a smash success. Sticking with the R rating, the sequel managed to outperform the original, similarly setting the record as the highest-grossing R rated movie until Joker was released in 2019. 20th Century Fox still tested the waters with a softer rating by also releasing the PG-13 cut, Once Upon a Deadpool, later that year. It removed the R rated content from the movie but added new scenes with Fred Savage and Deadpool spoofing The Princess Bride.
It's been reported that Deadpool 3 is in the works at Marvel Studios, and some fans speculated that the Disney-owned studio would give the sequel a PG-13 rating. The concern that many fans have is that a Deadpool movie just wouldn't have the same impact without its hard R rating. In a recent interview at Inverse, Tim Miller was asked if the edgy character can exist in the MCU without being "drastically changed for the worse," and here's what the Deadpool director had to say.
"I do. I think Ryan Reynolds' take on the character and the way he embraces the particular kind of insanity - even if you said he's not gonna use four-letter words - would still be there. He still is that character. You can take the R-rated parts out of it if you wanted and it would still be Deadpool if Ryan was doing it."
Either way, Marvel head Kevin Feige has already confirmed the studio's plans for Deadpool 3 to be R rated. He also suggested that Deadpool will probably be Marvel Studios' one exception, as no other movies currently in development are intended to have an R rating. That includes the upcoming Blade reboot with Mahershala Ali, which many fans were also hoping to be R rated.
"I think we target everything we're doing for kids and adults, so I think your question is more adult or R rated," Feige said in February, via Deadline. "Other than Deadpool, which has already established itself as a certain genre and a certain rating, that we already said we would not mess with when we started working on Deadpool-which we have-other than that, we haven't encountered a story or a storyline or a character's journey that a PG-13, or the tone, or the ratings we've been using up to this point has prevented us."
Feige added: "We haven't been held back by [PG-13]. If we ever are, then certainly there can be a discussion that can be had now that there are other [outlets]. But that just hasn't been the case. We've told all the stories that we wanted to with the tonality and the rating we have now." It's going to be a while before we see Deadpool 3, as filming isn't likely to commence until late 2022. This news comes to us from Inverse.