The landscape of comic book movies has adapted pretty profoundly over the past decade, both in terms of the films' popularity at the box office, and the growing variety in content and style. The past few years have seen quite a lot of titles venture away from family-friendly content and more towards R-rated fare, including Logan, Joker, and Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Many regard 2016's Deadpool as the first mainstream superhero movie to prove an R-rated genre movie could be successful, and it looks like the character's co-creator agrees. ComicBook.com got a chance to speak to Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld as part of our ComicBook at ComicCon exclusive aftershow, where we asked if the film adaptation helped get to the normalization of R-rated geek blockbusters, including the upcoming live-action Mortal Kombat movie.
"About a week ago was the five year anniversary of the first Deadpool trailer dropping," Liefeld explained. "...And we warned everybody, because I had already seen it in advance of the thing. I went to the Avengers [trailer] rollout and I've been to the Deadpool [trailer rollout]. At the very best, they're equal. The room shook both times. But Deadpool was R-rated. Even for the trailer -- you had the Stan Lee cameo, he's in a strip club. You had Deadpool shoot those guys through the head, and you saw the full splatter, the bullet, boom, boom, boom. Very violent, very sexual, very mature, very R-rated."
"And we know for a fact, because Hugh Jackman is on record saying, 'Deadpool opened the door for Logan. No Deadpool, no Logan,'" Liefeld continued. "Because you know how these guys are, they all react, everybody at the studio. Oh, once Deadpool [box office] returns came in and Logan returns came in, you don't think that benefited Joker? It did, 100%, you got an R-rated Joker."
"Do I believe that it knocked down the door for stuff like Mortal Kombat? Yes, and the reason I thought you were asking me was because Lewis Tan is in Mortal Kombat," Liefeld continued. "Lewis, who people bemoan as not getting enough of him as Shatterstar, is so excited because he is in Mortal Kombat. So the answer is yes, you and I believe Deadpool knocked down the doors. But again, it's a return to our childhoods, when RoboCop, Total Recall, Aliens... it was an R-rated world. But then it did turn PG because of our friends with the ears, Mickey Mouse. 'Hi, I'm Mickey.' They made everything, they made the world PG for a long time. I'm ready for more R."
With the Deadpool franchise now technically under Disney's umbrella, Liefeld has been outspoken about whether or not an R-rated Deadpool 3 could work. But regardless of whatever the future holds, it's hard to deny that the franchise's impact will still be felt in the superhero world.
What do you think of Liefeld's comments? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!