It was only a matter of time before the success of R-rated superhero movie Deadpool began shifting the plans of other studios with comic-book movie projects in the works. And now, the first film to follow the mouthy mercenary’s lead hails from the franchise that originally introduced Wade Wilson to the big screen.
A new report from Collider, who spoke with producer Simon Kinberg during press day for X-Men: Apocalypse, confirms that 20th Century Fox is planning to embrace an R rating for the next installment of the Wolverine franchise. The report also claims that the movie has begun filming, though Kinberg would not confirm rumors that Patrick Stewart, aka Professor X, will also be a part of the production.
“I’m not sure what I’m allowed to say about that,” Kinberg told Collider regarding Stewart’s involvement. “I will agree with you that Patrick Stewart was rumored to be a part of that film. It takes place in the future, and as you and others have reported, it is an R-rated movie. It’s violent, it’s kind of like a western in its tone. It’s just a very cool, different film.”
The rumors of a potential R rating for the follow-up to 2013’s The Wolverine originated on Reddit, with user RayChaos posting an image from the studio’s Toy Fair presentation featuring some promotional copy for The Wolverine 3 that indicates an “anticipated rating” of R for the film.
Given the box-office success of Deadpool, it’s no surprise that the same studio that backed the film is interested in going for a restricted-audience superhero movie — particularly one involving a character that has flirted with an R rating in the past.
Fans have long supported the idea of edgier movies featuring Wolverine, one of Marvel Comics’ most popular characters and the star of the original X-Men movie trilogy. They came close to getting their wish with The Wolverine when that film — the most violent, visceral installment of the franchise to date — was released on Blu-ray with an alternate, unrated cut of the film that would’ve likely earned an R rating if it had been released in theaters.
The shift to an R rating also makes sense in the context of the studio’s X-Men universe, which first introduced Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That movie effectively paved the way for Reynolds to reprise the role — and relentlessly ridicule the 2009 film — in this year’s Deadpool.
Little is known about the plot of The Wolverine 3, but Kinberg also confirmed that the movie will take place in the future, after the events of the time-bending X-Men: Days Of Future Past. The Wolverine director James Mangold will also return for the project. The film is is also expected to feature Hugh Jackman’s final portrayal of Wolverine after being the big-screen face of the character for the last 16 years.
The Wolverine 3 is scheduled to hit theaters March 3, 2017.