Plenty of elements can be listed that set DC apart from Marvel. The two studios have gone in different directions in style, tone, and storytelling. Over the past couple of years, DC made some of their comic book movies R-rated. James Gunn, who did this most recently with the upcoming The Suicide Squad, weighed in on Marvel finally delivering an R-rated entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Speaking with IndieWire, the filmmaker shared that he feels it is inevitable that the studio will go in that direction. He commented that it wouldn’t be Guardians of the Galaxy as he doesn’t see his entries that way, but if there were to be a Drax spin-off, then possibly. For now, he is not the one to break new ground for Marvel movies with something more adult than the family friendlier additions to the franchise.
“I think they will, I think they will, I’m almost sure they will,’ he said. “Not Guardians though, because Guardians are family movies, so it’s different. People are like, ‘Finally, they let you do R rating. What would Guardians be like if that was R-rated?’ I’m like, ‘But it’s not.'” He did add, “I could go off and make a Drax movie that’s R-rated, that I would love to do, like barbarian Drax.”
Besides James Gunn directing and writing Guardians of the Galaxy – including the upcoming Holiday Special and Vol. 3 – the filmmaker is known for R-rated movies. His directorial debut Slither with Nathan Fillian (Castle), Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) was a disgusting horror-comedy full of alien worms and a mutated Rooker. He also helmed Super, a violent superhero comedy with Rainn Wilson (The Office), Elliot Page (Juno), Liv Tyler (The Lord of the Rings), and Rooker.
When making The Suicide Squad, James Gunn had two conditions to direct it. The first was that it had to be filmed in Atlanta, not the UK. This was because his father was dying, and he had to be close to home in case anything happened. His father died a week before filming the supervillain team-up movie. The other condition was for the film’s rating, as he was already writing a script that was full of language, nudity, and violence. Warner Bros. approved his requests. Now, he has been able to make a movie where he has had the most freedom in his career.
Ultimately, the deciding factor is not James Gunn, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe architect Kevin Feige has weighed on the subject plenty of times. This year he shed some more light on the topic. Previously, he has spoken about how it depends on the story or character that would determine a different rating other than PG-13, like Deadpool, which established its tone and rating across two movies, and the third that is in the works. He went further by saying that the studio has not been “held back” by their choice of sticking with PG-13.
Disney is synonymous with all things family-friendly, but James Gunn has a point about how R-rated superhero movies will hit its money-making franchise. Between the two Deadpool movies before acquiring the rights from Fox, the blockbusters have grossed over $1 billion. Wanting to create movies for the whole family means nothing to a company when numbers like that are spotted. Now that Disney owns mature characters like the Merc with a Mouth and non-Marvel franchises like Alien, it is bound to happen eventually.
James Gunn is about to release his latest movie with The Suicide Squad. It hits theaters and HBO Max on August 5.