Of R-Ratings And Marvel
I'm in the process of watching Marvel's Jessica Jones on Netflix. It's an excellent show, but is dark and a sharp contrast to the likes of Captain America and Black Panther. It's definitely more R rated in nature, but it works for the type of show it is and for the character of Jessica Jones.
After Deadpool came out, people started to wonder if Marvel would start producing more R rated films. And with the Academy Award nomination of Logan, there continues to be speculation.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Fiege had been asked ad nauseum if Marvel Studios would eventually produce an R-rated film. The answer is generally that it's not out of the question, but they are not currently planning anything.
However, with the pending acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Disney CEO Bob Iger was asked a similar question. As the acquisition would include properties like Deadpool and Logan, people wondered would happen to those properties. Iger told shareholders on an investor call, "...we think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool. As long as we let the audiences know what’s coming, we think we can manage that fine.”
It always seems whenever Disney acquires something, people get up in arms that Disney is going to neuter everything. I have to remind them that, if they want R-rated Marvel content, there are some excellent shows all owned by Disney on Netflix. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Defenders and Punisher are all amazing series. I tried to describe Jessica Jones to someone once and their response was, "Wow. That is dark."
And it should be. Jessica Jones is a dark property. She is a woman who has been experimented on, raped, mind controlled and forced to kill somebody. She suffers from PTSD and is an angry drunk.
In the comics, she originated under an R-rated Marvel brand called Max. If you ever want to read her series, it was called Alias created by Brian Michael Bendis and it is fantastic. But, just to forewarn you, the comic is as dark as the television series.
I think there is room for these more adult oriented stories to be told and I would love to see Marvel Studios create a "Marvel Max" brand. But, I think this would only work with certain characters. I would never want to see characters like Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther or Groot in an R-rated film. I think there are way too many kids that look up to these characters to put them in movies they cannot see. But, I do think there are some characters that could crossover, most notably Black Widow who was a former assassin with a brutal past. I don't think they'd ever use any of the current Marvel Cinematic Universe characters because of their marketability.
That said, there are so many Marvel characters, especially with the acquisition of 20th Century Fox, that there can be lots of R-rated content for years to come if that's the way they go.