Kevin Feige Says Black Widow Movie Will NOT Be R-Rated

Kevin Feige debunks rumors suggesting the Black Widow solo movie would be R-rated. Nearly a decade after her introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Natasha Romanoff is finally going to be the subject of her own standalone vehicle. Marvel Studios started to make progress on the film last year, hiring Cate Shortland to direct and more recently bringing in Ned Benson to handle script rewrites. Though Black Widow has not been officially dated on the MCU's post-Endgame slate, it's expected to begin shooting this summer ahead of a tentative 2020 premiere.

Last month, an interesting report came out indicating Marvel was contemplating making Black Widow their first R-rated production. Since its genesis with the original Iron Man, all of the MCU installments have been PG-13, and judging by the $17 billion collective worldwide gross, that's a formula that works. However, films like Deadpool and Logan proved there was an audience for more adult-orientated material, so it wasn't surprising to hear Marvel was at least considering it. However, this bit of speculation can now firmly be debunked.

In an interview with Comic Book, Feige was asked about the possibility Black Widow is made for an R rating. The Marvel boss said that was never in the cards:

"It never was going to be. Somebody writes, 'I hear it's R-rated!' And then everybody writes it up."

Given Black Widow's dark backstory and history with espionage, it wouldn't be farfetched for her to headline an R-rated movie that takes a hard-hitting approach to its narrative and themes. That being said, there's no need for Marvel to take things that extreme here. In the past, some comic book movies (like The Dark Knight) toed the boundaries of what's acceptable within the PG-13 rating and turned out fine from an artistic perspective. If Black Widow is tonally similar to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, that would probably please many fans. Additionally, there are other factors to keep in mind. An R-rating limits Black Widow's target audience, and Marvel surely has a plethora of tie-in merchandise (including toys) they'd want to sell as part of the marketing campaign.

This doesn't mean there will never be an R-rated film in the MCU, but it's clearly not something Feige is seriously considering at this point in time. Even though Disney is about to finalize their acquisition of Fox (and the X-Mencharacters that come with it), Bob Iger has stated future R-rated Deadpoolmovies may be separate from the MCU in order to avoid confusing viewers. As stated above, there isn't a clear incentive for the MCU to go all-in on an R-rating, as they're currently in the midst of an unprecedented hot streak of critically acclaimed blockbusters. Black Widow is a character that's thrived and became a fan-favorite within the confines of PG-13, so Shortland and crew should be able to deliver something compelling with their project.
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