Marvel Studios Resigns Itself to R-Rated Deadpool 3

Deadpool 3 is confirmed as Marvel Studios appears poised to make an R-rated film.

Ryan Reynolds and Colossus in Deadpool
Photo: 20th Century Studios / Disney

Well ain’t that some sh*t?

Marvel Studios has put Ryan ReynoldsDeadpool 3 into pre-production, with the Merc with a Mouth continuing his filthy ways at the Mouse House. Confirmation of this comes with the announcement of Deadpool 3 hiring sisters Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneaux-Loeglin (via Deadline) as the screenwriters of the new film.

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The hiring is the first official movement Deadpool 3 has seen since the Disney-Fox acquisition was finalized last year, as well as the first that includes Kevin Feige as a producer on a mutant-related movie since he became head of Marvel Studios. It’s also surprising since the first two Deadpool movies included Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick as screenwriters, as well as executive producers.

Yet apparently star and producer Reynolds, who is also a credited screenwriter on Deadpool 2, was in the market for a new writing team, having interviewed a number of writers and hearing multiple pitches for Deadpool 3 before picking the Molyneaux sisters’ take. Their previous credits include Fox’s upcoming The Great North and Bob’s Burgers, with the latter netting them an Emmy for writing and seven more nominations. They also won an Annie Award for the series.

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While it’s obviously early going, initial reports confirm the film is still intended to have an R-rating like the first two Deadpool movies, and that the film may also be in the market for a new director, although the door is open for Deadpool 2 and Atomic Blonde helmer, David Leitch, to return for the threequel.

The Deadpool 3 news is surely gratifying for fans, as is hearing the film is still currently angling for an R. There have been some doubts, sown by none other than Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld, who said that he didn’t think Disney would seriously move ahead with the violent and fourth wall-breaking superhero.

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Additionally, there was the question of Marvel Studios making an R-rated movie for the first time since the company began the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Marvel previously produced Punisher: War Zone). But then-Disney CEO Bob Iger told shareholders in December 2019 that the company would move ahead with an R-rated Deadpool movie because “there’s certainly popularity.” He did add the caveat that Disney would work hard to ensure it is “carefully branded [as rated R] so we’re not confusing the consumer.”

Yet the lack of movement on Deadpool 3, even as Marvel Studios announced new films into 2022 and beyond, led some speculation on whether there was apprehension because of the branding. Marvel Studios is one of the few entertainment companies that met the goals it set for itself.  When the MCU launched with Iron Man in 2008, company executives said they wanted Marvel to become a brand that audiences would associate with a certain quality and tonal consistency. There have been more than 20 Marvel movies with nearly as many directors, but they mostly have the same look and family friendly atmosphere.

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Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool would surely give a middle finger to all of that. Indeed, that is presumably where much of the humor of a threequel at a new studio would lie. So whether it’s actually branded as “Marvel Studios” (never mind Disney) in its credits will be a curiosity, as will if it actually connects with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Be that as it may, the last two Deadpool movies earned more than $1.5 billion between them. It’s too much money for Disney to walk away from. Instead Reynolds’ Wade Wilson is walking into a whole new universe. Thanos help them.