Wesley Snipes’ opinions about the MCU’s Blade reboot not needing an R rating hold some weight. In 2011, Marvel was given back the rights to the Blade franchise, and interest in bringing Blade into the MCU has been ongoing since 2016. With various production pushbacks delaying the reboot’s timeline, Blade can expect a late 2023 or mid-2024 release at the time of writing. Still, while production for the MCU’s Blade reboot is far from being in its infancy, the film is yet to begin shooting.
With that in mind, Blade’s potential rating remains the subject of much speculation. The MCU is yet to produce an R-rated project, but it is heading towards generally darker properties. Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness’ horror leaning pushed its PG-13 rating, showing that the MCU was willing to move in a more sinister direction. Even before Multiverse of Madness, however, the MCU has still used a darker tonal approach before. Captain America: The Winter Soldier tackled themes regarding terrorism and mind control, while Avengers: Infinity War wasn’t light in its treatment of killing half of the universe’s population – an event compounded by Avengers: Endgame directly processing that trauma. Meanwhile, MCU Disney+ shows like WandaVision and Moon Knight have more recently approached supernatural elements while also attempting to explore more mature themes regarding grief and mental illness.
With this kind of buildup, a Blade reboot is becoming more appropriate for the MCU. However, an R-rating may not be necessary despite the vampiric gore and violence the film promises. Wesley Snipes made his opinions on a Blade R-rating known in an interview with ComicBook.com in which he stated that “as long as [Blade is] true and organic to the subject matter, the plot, and the world that’s created,” an R rating may not be necessary. Since the likes of Deadpool, Logan, DC’s Doom Patrol, and Amazon Prime’s The Boys have made R-rated superhero properties more accepted, a Blade reboot with less of a rating limitation on its violence would be more marketable today. However, Snipes’ rating comments carry all the more weight when considering that the original Blade trilogy was rated R itself.
The MCU’s Blade reboot should certainly aim for at least a hard PG-13 if it’s to honor the subject material’s excessively violent nature. However, it also doesn’t need to force an R rating for the sake of promising that violence if doing so risks underdelivering on Blade’s core qualities. With that said, the MCU shouldn’t repeat its Black Widow mistake of avoiding darker themes in order to maintain a PG-13 rating. Blade needs to approach an R rating carefully if it’s to go in that direction. As Snipes points out, Blade’s characterization and story development should hold more priority than its action. It shouldn’t be rated R for the sake of providing gratuitous sex and violence, for such an approach is too transparent of a marketing tactic. However, the MCU should also avoid watering Blade down for the sake of a PG-13 rating, as it has with previous projects like the aforementioned Black Widow.
A rated-R Blade should no doubt be fun and highly anticipated, especially if it’s to be the first MCU film with that rating. Even with its expected differences from the Snipes trilogy, the MCU’s Blade still has a gory, R-leaning legacy to uphold. The MCU’s future holds rich promise after earning back Blade’s rights, and its violent subject material makes it perfect for an R rating. Still, the MCU shouldn’t pursue that rating by forgoing Blade’s core character and story elements.
Next: Everything We Know So Far About MCU Blade