As superhero movies go, the Deadpool franchise is arguably the most lewd and bloody but that could change now that Disney has acquired the rights.
That’s according to David Leitch, director of Deadpool 2, who suggests that the next movie may well have a lower age rating than R (certificate 15 in the UK) to fit in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“It's rated R so that's not necessarily the [MCU] brand but he doesn't necessarily need to be R and [Disney] don't necessarily need to only make PG-13 movies,” the director tells Yahoo Movies UK. “I think we'll find a happy ground.”
As part of Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Marvel Studios once again has the film rights to Deadpool, Fantastic Four and the X-Men. So far, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has confirmed movies are in development for the latter two superhero squads but Leitch says the former is a little harder to work with.
“There's a lot of mystery still surrounding what they want to do with Deadpool in [Disney’s] Marvel world but I think, from discussions that I've heard, it's all positive,” he explains. “I think that they're just trying to figure a way in as Deadpool's hard.”
It shouldn’t be too difficult to retool the Ryan Reynolds-led franchise for a younger audience as they already did it with the 12A (PG-13) version of Deadpool 2 called Once Upon a Deadpool though most fans of the films would probably be disappointed if the wise-cracking merc was censored too much.
Leitch says he “loves” the Deadpool franchise and hopes to return to direct future instalments even saying that the idea of a crossover with Blade, now that Mahershala has been cast as the half-vampire hero, is “very cool” because they “both are swordsmen.”
However, since the release of Deadpool 2 in 2018, the director has been focused on Hobbs & Shaw which is arguably the first Fast & Furious movie to exhibit a superhero sensibility.
“I think that the Fast franchise has always been great at sort of reinventing itself and taking it to a different place,” Leitch says. “I think that the appetite for superhero movies is obviously there, right?
“Superhero movies work because people want to escape, and they want to have fun, and they want their heroes larger than life and if there's a franchise that you can do it in, it's this,” he continues. “So I think we embraced it in terms of a PG-13 movie that everyone can go see, where we can just dive into this world that's a little bit hyper real and have fun.”
WARNING: MILD HOBBS & SHAW SPOILERS BELOW
Like the MCU, the Fast & Furious franchise boasts a slew of blockbuster stars, including Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren and Kurt Russell, so it’s no surprise that Leitch managed to get a few of his Deadpool 2 actors to sign up.
Ryan Reynolds and Rob Delaney make special appearances in the film and bring their special brand of comedy with them.
“When I approached [Ryan] about that scene I asked him 'look, we have this exposition scene about the virus and it's a little dry, if you're interested, would you come do this and it'll be fun,'“ Leitch explains. “He's like, 'I'm there. I would love it,' so I asked him to put some Ryan fairy dust on it, he took a pass at it and put it in his words.
“That's where you get that particular brand of comedy, where he shines and there's nobody like it.”
Hobbs & Shaw has already topped the box office since its release last Friday, earning an estimated $180.8m (approx. £150m) worldwide, making it Universal’s fifth highest global debut of all time. A sequel looks like a no-brainer and Leitch says he and the cast built the world exactly for that possibility and more.
“The idea when I built this world with these actors, having Jason and Dwayne, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, and a special layer of the Kevin [Hart]s and the Ryans, was that we had an immediate universe that could stand alone and do our own spin offs within this,” he says. “Any combination of those characters and actors could open a movie so I think the studio has a lot of fertile ground to explore a lot of offshoots.
“That being said,” Leitch adds. “I think it would be great for everybody if there was a connecting point between the Fast and the Hobbs world and characters could cross-pollinate.”
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is out now across the UK