‘Deadpool 3’: The Clever Way Disney Could Get Away With Releasing an R-Rated Marvel Movie

Deadpool fans have been wringing their hands over whether Deadpool 3 will still be rated R because there’s a feeling that R-rated content is no longer allowed with Disney. Deadpool and other movies in the X-Men sphere had been released through 20th Century Fox, which Disney now owns. However, that doesn’t mean Deadpool can no longer drop F-bombs and spill gallons of blood. He still can — the movie just won’t have a big castle in front of it. 

How Fox movies became Disney movies

Ryan Reynolds at a 'Deadpool' fan event in New York City.
Ryan Reynolds | Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

For a long time, Disney wasn’t in the superhero business. When superhero movies became ubiquitous around 2000, the studio at the forefront of this was 20th Century Fox, which had the rights to the X-Men characters.

Fox later released the Fantastic Four movies as well, with Deadpool coming in late in the game. Those movies had the Marvel logo in the front, but they were not made by Marvel Studios.

That division, run by Kevin Feige, got going in 2008 with Iron Man, with Disney acquiring Marvel in 2009  for $4 billion. However, Fox continued to release the X-Men-related movies like Logan and the regrettable attempt to reboot Fantastic Four.

Then, in a movie that stunned Hollywood. Disney purchased 20th Century Fox for $71  billion, effectively eliminating one of its competitors. Fans cheered, thinking, “Yay, now the X-Men can be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!” But they also worried, “Oh no, Deadpool can’t have a an R-rating with the Disney name!” 

How ‘Deadpool 3’ can still be rated R

That’s just it: Deadpool 3 will still be released by the Disney company, just not under the Disney-specific name. According to Screen Rant, the theory goes that Disney would release Deadpool 3 and any other R-rated material under the newly renamed 20th Century banner. It just won’t have the name Fox on it anymore. Disney announced in January that it would drop the Fox name but keep the 20th Century part. 

As Deadpool writer Rhett Reese explained to Screen Rant: “Absolutely, because I don’t think it’ll be under the Disney banner. Like, I don’t think when you go to Deadpool 3, there’s going to be a Magic Castle that appears. I think it’s going to be under the Fox banner, so yes.”

Disney only puts its castle logo on movies it considers family fare. Although most people know that Disney owns Marvel and Star Wars, the Disney castle isn’t on those movies and you won’t even see the Disney name unless you look closely at the credits. It’ll be the same thing with Deadpool, only with the 20th Century logo.

Disney has released loads of R-rated movies

The very name Disney still carries connotations of family and wholesomeness. It took about 20 years after Walt Disney’s death in 1966 for the company to move beyond “fun for the whole family.”

Once they did, they formed a division called Touchstone Pictures that started releasing more adult, raunchier fare like Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Ruthless People, and Pretty Woman. Disney created still another division called Hollywood Pictures that released R-rated movies as well.

Now it’s just a question of when Deadpool 3 would actually appear. It will probably be 2022 at the earliest because Marvel/Disney have already announced their slate through the end of 2021.

In any event, both of the relevant big bosses, Marvel’s Feige and Disney chief Bob Iger want Deadpool to keep going because there’s certainly more money to be made. Disney may shy away from R-ratings but not from a chance to make more profits.