To say that Deadpool was a hit because of its rating is a bit reductive, and honestly kind of insulting to the filmmakers, who managed to achieve something special by delivering an entertaining film based on a character whose only previous exposure to audiences left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. Still, that R-rating drew a fair amount of attention, leading some to wonder if Marvel might take a similar risk. Disney’s Bob Iger previously said that fans shouldn’t count on an R-rated Marvel movie, and Kevin Feige echoes that sentiment while addressing the real reason why Deadpool was so successful.

One of the biggest concerns following Deadpool’s record-breaking run at the box office was whether studios would take the wrong lesson from that success — i.e. making more R-rated comic book movies. During his chat with Deadline, Feige says that the R-rating was just one part of what made Deadpool so effective, but it hasn’t convinced Marvel to go a similar route:

The thing that Deadpool shows is, when you present something unique to an audience, they will respond to it. When you present something as popular as a superhero character, in a different and unique and crazy way as they did in Deadpool, it demands attention and audiences went to it. They pulled it off. Tim Miller did a tremendous job.

Feige continued his praise by explaining the secret to Deadpool’s greatness, though it should be obvious:

The other secret, and why it’s still a secret, I don’t know, but they just took what Deadpool is in the comics. He breaks the fourth wall. He talks into the camera. He doesn’t give a sh*t about any of the other heroes. He doesn’t take anything seriously. All of that is what made Deadpool so popular in the comics. Tim and [Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick] and Ryan Reynolds were able to get that and even magnify that up on the big screen. We’ve always said if there’s any ‘secret’ it’s respect the source material, understand the source material and then, any adaptation you make from the source material should be done only to enhance whatever the original pure spirit of the source material was. Deadpool hit on all cylinders with that.

Just stay true to the spirit of the source material. It’s that easy, and yet we’ve seen way too many comic book movies that fail to grasp that simple concept (lookin’ at you, Fantastic Four).

Although Marvel has no plans to make an R-rated superhero film anytime soon, there was a time when the studio almost did just that with a Daredevil movie. And we’ll still see R-rated Marvel movies, just not from Marvel Studios — The Wolverine 2 is reportedly targeting the heavier rating for Hugh Jackman’s final outing.

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