In light of Deadpool‘s surprising grownups-only success, future R-rated superhero movies have become a hot topic of conversation. There’s talk, for instance, of a hypothetical R-rated X-Force movie. But what about one of Fox’s existing franchises? Could the third (and possibly final) Wolverine movie go mature audiences only?
There definitely seems to be some evidence pointing in that direction. At this year’s Toy Fair, Fox was handing out pamphlets hyping some of their upcoming projects. Wolverine 3 was listed in the pamphlet, and interestingly, it says the movie is anticipated to have an R-rating.
If the next Wolverine does go R-rated, honestly, it will be about damn time. The original comic book iteration of Wolverine has always walked a fine line. There are plenty of stories where he plays the more straightforward superhero, but he’s also gone to some much darker places. Whether it’s the original Wolverine miniseries by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, which was a revolution in mature storytelling in mainstream comics, or more recent stories like the gory, bleak Old Man Logan, Wolverine is often at his best when he doesn’t have to hide his claws beneath kid gloves. The X-Men and Wolverine movies have touched on some of the character’s darker moments and stories, but they’ve always been somewhat muted. You can get away with more on the comic page than on movie screens, and as a result it usually feels like Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is holding back.
And hey, it’s not like the Wolverine movies have that far to go to get an R-rating. Heavily inspired by the Claremont/Miller series, The Wolverine was PG-13, but an unrated cut was released on DVD/Blu-ray that contained more graphic violence and some naughty words. It seems like Fox may have been toying with the idea of an edgier Wolverine for a while.
Will an R-rated Wolverine movie happen? It seems hard to believe Fox will take the plunge with arguably their biggest superhero property, but then again, Deadpool is on its way to making at least as much money as The Wolverine, so what do they have to lose?