Marvel Studios, a company developing the widely known Marvel Cinematic Universe, is under the ownership of the Walt Disney Company, which is known for producing family-friendly content. Therefore, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is also known for its lighter approach and for avoiding any mature content. Officially, any projects related to the MCU that featured mature content were TV shows produced by Netflix, which had no problem do produce something for more mature audiences to watch.
However, it seems that Marvel Studios and Disney will need to become more flexible with mature content. Last year we watched Werewolf by Night, a TV special that aired exclusively on Disney+, but despite its horror elements, it was still created TV-14 (TV’s equivalent to PG-13). Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness also had some horror features, but that movie was also rated PG-13, despite some more or less terrifying scenes. So we are wondering today, will Marvel Studios continue to make more movie and TV projects better suited for the adult audience?
Marvel Studios will never abandon its policy of adjusting its content to viewers of younger ages. However, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will eventually become more and more flexible since the studio is currently developing Deadpool 3, which was already confirmed to be the first MCU movie to be rated R. Marvel Studios’ executive Stephen Broussard has recently teased on the D23: Inside Disney that Marvel Studios will need to make more horror projects in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “If I have anything to do with it, Marvel will continue digging into the horror-verse, digging into the darker side.” Broussard has teased.
Which “darker” projects can we expect from the MCU in the future?
The fans who like to compare Marvel and DC usually wind up with the conclusion that Marvel’s thing is doing family-friendly projects, while the dark approach is more of DC’s thing. However, while that may be mostly true, there are always exceptions. And what’s more, those exceptions mostly always turned out to be widely praised projects. Marvel previously developed the Logan movie and two Deadpool movies, all rated R, which were some of the most praised superhero movies of their time. Also, DC developed Shazam, one feel-good superhero comedy that was also positively received by critics and the audience, and the sequel Shazam! Fury of the Gods is just around the corner.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has existed for 15 years, and it’s obvious that some fans aren’t the same age as when they watched Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. While typical for Disney, Marvel Studios doesn’t hesitate to produce more and more family-friendly content that might be good fun, and we can agree that the MCU will need to produce more R-rated movies or at least PG-13 movies with serious themes to keep older fans. Besides Deadpool 3, fans expect a more serious approach with Captain America: New World Order, announced as a thriller superhero movie, and the Blade reboot set to arrive in 2024.
Marvel Studios’ TV special Werewolf by Night was released as a Halloween special last year on Disney+ and received mostly positive reviews. It introduced some known characters from the pages of Marvel Comics, like Man-Thing and Elsa Bloodstone, apart from the titular character. We hope Marvel Studios will return those characters and eventually put them on the big screen. Despite being rated TV-14, Werewolf by Night still featured some horror elements, similar to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. That may not be the real dark approach that fans hoped for, but let’s say it’s a good first step.
Another project that should be mentioned is the upcoming Disney+ series Daredevil: Born Again. This is a pretty interesting situation because we remember how dark and realistic (for one superhero series) Netflix’s Daredevil series was. The original series was rated TV-MA (TV’s equivalent to the R rating), and fans are hoping the reboot series Born Again, which will bring back Charlie Cox as the Man with no Fear, will feature content suitable only for mature audiences. Maybe not as much as the original series, but they’re not expecting something frivolous from that series.
One more project officially announced to be TV-MA is Marvel Zombies, a spin-off of the What If…? animated series that will feature more MCU heroes in their zombie versions. The first 4-episode season is expected to arrive in 2024.