Bob Iger revealed today that Disney/Marvel Studios is open to the “opportunity” of making R-rated films as long as audiences are made aware what they are. Suggesting that it’s full-steam-ahead with Deadpool sequels and possibly X-Force as well (unknown what happens to X-23 and Multiple Man).
To me, this sounds like MCU cohesiveness but using a way to make sure the R-rated films are clearly labeled as such for parents and kids. A perfect way to do this is to place the R-rated films under the rarely used Marvel Knights arm of the company. “Marvel Studios” branded films would be clearly meant for families while Marvel Knights could be meant for the 18+ crowd, as Logan and Deadpool proved there is an increasing demand for these films.
Marvel might now see this opportunity to develop R-rated movies and possibly use their newly acquired studio 20th Century Fox to dish them out by setting up Marvel Knights as part of Fox. As not to overtake the Marvel Studios release spots geared for their PG-13 movies, adding the releases to Fox’s lineup instead.
Marvel Knights was used as the mature wing of the company for years. They produced films such as Punisher: War Zone and the last Ghost Rider film. Along with a line of motion comics features for Shout Factory including Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. Quality control would obviously be different these days.
The name is also connected to the Netflix Marvel characters via the publishing side as well. A line of toys for the show had recently been branded as Marvel Knights.
It’s hard to ignore that most of the Marvel/Netflix shows have lifted a lot of the lighting/cinematography from War Zone for their series.
Kevin Feige was actually behind Lexi Alexander’s Punisher and was a producer on David Goyer’s Blade Trinity. Two films hardly considered family oriented and it’s not something completely foreign to Fiege.
There were reports that Marvel had commissioned an in-house draft of a new Blade film, around the same time as Captain Marvel. Also, actors such as Idris Elba met with Marvel at one point about playing a new version of Blade. Star Wars star John Boyega and Anthony Mackie have expressed an interest in the role during interviews.
Here is what Kevin Feige said about Blade’s status back in October 2016, while speaking with ThePlaylist on the press tour for Doctor Strange.
“..we’ll do something with ‘Blade’ at some point.’ That’s still the answer.”
“We still think he’s a great character. He’s a really fun character. We think this movie [Doctor Strange] going into a different side of the universe would have the potential to have him pop up, but between the movies, the Netflix shows, the ABC shows there are so many opportunities for the character to pop up as you’re now seeing with Ghost Rider on ‘AGENTS of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ that rather than team up with another studio on that character let’s do something on our own. What is that? Where that will be? We’ll see. There is nothing imminent to my knowledge.”
Then, over the summer sounded a little more optimistic while speaking with JoBlo.
“We think it would be cool. Someday. My tenure at Marvel started 17 years ago, and there were two things that sort of launched the modern era. One was X-Men, which was the first thing that people said, ‘Oh, there’s life here.’ But a few years before that, there was Blade. A character nobody had heard of at all, had only appeared in a few issues of Tomb Of Dracula or something, turned into a big franchise”
“That was always a great lesson for me, where you go, ‘It doesn’t matter how well known the character is, it matters how cool the movie is.’ Which, many years later, would be the reason we do Guardians Of The Galaxy, Doctor Strange. I think Blade is a legacy character now, and I think it would be fun to do something with him one day.”
Characters like Blade, Moon Knight, Hannibal King (Nightstalkers), Werewolf By Night, Santana, Son of Satan, and Ghost Rider could have easily joined the Netflix ranks. However, we know that Disney now is looking to develop new Marvel shows for their streaming service. But there might be a call to give them cinematic incarnations as well if they’re now looking at what mature characters could be viable for R-rated feature adaptions.
If Marvel plans on moving beyond their main lineup they’ll need to explore other corners like they have with the cosmic side.
A dark horror side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe wouldn’t be terrible as this would make more sense than Universal’s Dark Universe.
Sony is already dipping their toes in the Marvel horror arena with Venom (expected to be R-rated), which is described as The Thing meets The Fly.
They’ll continue down this horror path with an adaption of the vampiric villain turned hero, Morbius The Living Vampire. It’s hard to imagine Sony pursuing a film like that without those connections to Spider-Man and Blade.
Spider-Man director Jon Watts seems to be open to the idea of using Blade and Morbius.
“The tone of the character is pretty dark, but the vampire/Marvel Universe thing is pretty cool. Maybe we could get Blade to show up, too? That’d be neat.”
A deleted scene from Stephen Norrington‘s Blade had Morbius (played by Norrington) show up at the end to set up him as the villain of the sequel. Even Norrington saw the potential of Marvel crossovers back in 1997.
Could Blade, Venom and Morbius join this hypothetical Marvel Knights umbrella too?