Marvel’s Relationship with the R Rating: Will the MCU show blood in Blade and Deadpool 3?

Marvel’s Relationship with the R Rating: Will the MCU show blood in Blade and Deadpool 3?

The MCU is one of the most age-agnostic franchises ever been made. Its target audience practically ranges from Gen-Z to senior citizens across the world. As a result, all their movies are made in a fashion that would please every audience category.

While that has worked for the MCU so far, it might not be the case in the near future. The studio has a goliath of a vision to fulfill, and for this, it is bringing characters such as X-Men, Fantastic Four, Deadpool, Blade, and many more under its roster.

The last two characters have a cinematic history filled with blood, gore, and mature language. Just the ingredients you need for the perfect R-rated film. With these characters coming into the fold, the family-friendly studio might have hard decisions to make.

So, will Blade and Deadpool 3 be R-rated? If not, how will the MCU show blood in those films?

While Deadpool 3 will be R-rated, the Blade film/series might be PG-13. So, the treatment for Blade might be similar to that of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with some inspiration from Venom, which was also expected to be R-rated.

Deadpool 3 Will Be R-rated

Let’s talk about Deadpool first. The antihero had won our hearts even before appearing on the silver screen. This is majorly through the games and the promotional content of the film. The films themselves established three main things.

Marvel's Relationship with the R Rating: Will the MCU Show Blood in Blade and Deadpool 3?
Deadpool 3 | Source: Fandom

The first one was Ryan Reynold’s brand of humor that extends to movies like Free Guy. The second one was depicting a quasi-satirical worldview on superheroes and the entire genre itself. Finally, the third and most important was showing how messy superhero affairs are through blood, flesh, and gore.

After the two Deadpool films became a massive success, we received the news that the sarcastic, foul-mouthed character would be entering the MCU. To get fans even more excited, it was announced that the first film they made with the character would be rated R.

I think it was one of the smartest moves by the studio. The math was simple. The franchise had made a whopping 1.5 billion dollars, despite having a much smaller audience than the usual Marvel flicks. So, merely taking the film into its fold wouldn’t do. They had to promise the existing fans that the film’s treatment and tone would remain the same.

Deadpool 3 is currently in development, and fans are not worried if the film will deviate from its style. I, for one, think that the blood, the gore, and the language will remain the same, but the film will become a much larger spectacle for the audience. The events might be even more significant in the way they connect to other characters and franchises within the same universe.

Blade Might Be PG-13

Now, let’s talk about the character and the film that has raised quite a few eyebrows since its announcement at comic-con 2019. Kevin Feige announced that Blade would become a part of the MCU, and the character would have its own title.

Marvel's Relationship with the R Rating: Will the MCU Show Blood in Blade and Deadpool 3?
BLADE | Source: IMDb

This was 15 years after the last film in the OG Blade trilogy had come out. While the Blade franchise isn’t as popular as the Deadpool one, it still has a niche and loyal fan following of its own.

The original film’s action sequences, Wesley Snipes’ robotic humor, and the gore had gained the audience’s attention. In fact, this was the film that showed the higher-ups at Marvel that a universe in cinema is quite plausible.

It paved the way for films like Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man. Now that the character is going to return to our screens, fans wondered if the movie would still be as bloody and edgy as the original one, and I might have an answer.

Last year, Kevin Feige at the TCA (Television Critics Association) mentioned that only Deadpool 3 would be R-rated, and no other film/series in the franchise would have that rating. He explained how they wouldn’t hold back, and if an R rating is required, there would be discussions, but “that hasn’t been the case so far.”

Considering that Blade is already in development, this statement could mean that Blade might be PG-13. While most argued that blood and gore were elemental to the franchise, some contested the point of view.

The PG-13 rating changes many things for the character and the film/series, which are still under development. So, how will it all unfold? I think the answer might lie in the comic roots of the character and how the MCU has handled violence so far.

I. Blade’s History in Marvel Comics

Blade first appeared in the Tomb of Dracula comics. These were a vibrant set of issues with bright colors but had an aura of darkness, mysticism, and horror embedded in them. However, the violence didn’t showcase a lot of brutalities.

Marvel's Relationship with the R Rating: Will the MCU Show Blood in Blade and Deadpool 3?
Blade | Source: Fandom

As the years passed, Blade became one of the most popular comic book characters that garnered its own set of fans and carved its niche. The character’s violence and mayhem-causing quotient was also cranked up, especially when it came to vampires. We’ve also seen this in the movies, with cult-classic scenes like Blood Rave.

In the comics, he’s had the bloodiest affairs with Wolverine and a Vampiric Spider-Man. In Blade Vol. 4, we even see the daywalker bite off his left hand to escape the vampires and replace it with a gun.

I could give you countless examples of how messy it gets, but I think this gives you a good enough idea about the character’s innately violent nature. However, there’s another side to this as well.

While initially, Blade had his own corner in the Marvel comics, writers started bringing him closer to the other superheroes. As he did come closer, the tonality and the character treatment shifted, too.

In the Nightstalkers series, we see Blade fight alongside Doctor Strange, and the visuals showcase more horror and mystic elements than actual blood and gore. While this was way back in 1992, there are more recent examples like Avengers: War of the Vampires, War of Realms, and more.

In War of the Vampires, Blade is a part of the Avengers and fighting Vampires to save the world. The visual treatment is pretty stylistic and modernized, unlike the usual bloodbath. In fact, in one scene, we see Blade stab a vampire with a wooden knife, turning it into grey dust, and not a single drop of blood is shed.

Although all of this is merely a peek into the 50 years of Blade’s existence in the Marvel universe, it can be said that Blade is going to become more mainstream in the future.

II. Blade in the MCU

It is interesting to note that Blade has only been making more mainstream comic appearances in recent times. This could be because the people behind the comics knew Kevin Feige’s vision while chalking it all out. So, the effort to make Blade a much more universal figure might be due to this.

Marvel's Relationship with the R Rating: Will the MCU Show Blood in Blade and Deadpool 3?
Blade | Source: Fandom

To understand how Marvel would make Blade a PG-13 film, we can draw from one of their most recent films, Venom. Calling Venom brutal is an understatement because he devours human flesh. I see how a bloody image is now formed in your head.

However, Sony Pictures did not portray the scene as you thought. The treatment was quite sneaky, and there was barely any blood we saw in the film. What made the film even more age-agnostic was its humor and buddy comedy element. It was almost like Sony was trying to emulate Marvel’s comedic style.

With Blade, they might have a similar treatment in mind. Even if the film is dark and ominous in tonality, it will refrain from showing blood, just like Venom. If you also look at the Blade comics, there are numerous storylines, arcs, and plots that don’t show violence that would require an R rating.

Another more relevant example could be Doctor Strange 2. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has elements of horror and mysticism, as we’ve already seen in the trailer. The film also showcased more blood and flesh than a standard MCU flick. Considering that the Blade comics have had that too, we might see the Blade films/series being made in a similar fashion.

Conclusion

To sum it up, Deadpool 3 will be an R-rated film where blood, flesh, and violence are portrayed in full glory. On the other hand, Blade would be a PG-13 film/series with a treatment similar to Doctor Strange 2 with some inspiration from films like Venom.

Will this take away the edge from the film, or will it be a new experience for the fans? I guess only time will tell, and I can’t wait to find out.

About Marvel Cinematic Universe

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is an American media franchise and shared universe centered on a series of superhero films and TV series, independently produced by Marvel Studios and based on characters that appear in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

The franchise includes comic books, short films, television series, and digital series. The shared universe, much like the original Marvel Universe in comic books, was established by crossing over common plot elements, settings, cast, and characters.