Kevin Feige has said in the past that he’s not angling for R-rated movies, and when asked about the success about Deadpool and Logan, he replied, “My takeaway from both of those films is not the R rating, it’s the risk they took, the chances they took, the creative boundaries that they pushed. That should be the takeaway for everyone.” And yet rumors inevitably surfaced that the upcoming Black Widow movie would be rated R.
ComicBook.com has now confirmed that Black Widow will not be rated R with Feige saying, “It never was going to be. Somebody writes, ‘I hear it’s R-rated!’ And then everybody writes it up.” As it turns out, the rumor was never anything more than just that.” These rumors crop up not just because people avoid doing due diligence, but also because there’s a contingent among fandom that believes an R-rating is somehow more mature and therefore leads to a better movie.
However, as Feige correctly pointed out two years ago, the reason those R-rated movies were a success because the films pushed boundaries, not because they had the requisite amount of bloodshed and cursing that would warrant an R-rating. I’m sure the Black Widow rumor cropped up because she’s a spy she’s supposed to be grittier or something like that, but we’ve seen plenty of great PG-13 spy movies. Also, you don’t need an R-rating to sell Black Widow. She’s already popular and has name recognition. She doesn’t need to be radically reinvented for her own series. Marvel fans will likely show up for a Black Widow movie because they like seeing Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, not because the word “fuck” is uttered more than once.
The Black Widow movie doesn’t currently have a release date, and since it’s set to come out after Avengers: Endgame, Marvel has been keeping all production details under wraps. Johansson will star, and Cate Shortland (Berlin Syndrome) will direct a script from Jac Schaeffer. We’ll likely know more details later this year after everyone has seen Endgame.