During a little sit down meeting of the minds with MTV, Hugh Jackman and one of MTV’s interviewers talked turkey about the upcoming X-Men spinoff The e and what sort of rating Jackman and director James Mangold would be shooting for. The big, headline grabbing news is that there is actually talk of an R-rated Wolverine on the table. During their discussions, Jackman and Mangold have acknowledged that, “There’s such great temptation to make an R-rated Wolverine. I’ve always felt that. I know a lot of fans would like that. I totally get it. If there was ever a superhero that was going to be R-rated, it’s Wolverine.” These are going to be exciting words to hear for a lot of comic book fans, and many will probably come away from the interview spreading the word that an R-rated The Wolverine might happen, but I’d like to throw some cold water on that.
When speaking further on the subject Jackman says that the problem with making an R-rated superhero movie is that, “In the last ten years I’ve also met many 12, 13, dare I say 10, 14, 15-year-olds, who for them Wolverine is not just cool, you see it in their eyes, he’s everything to them … you’d need to have a really good reason to exclude those fans.” Despite the quality of the reason I just don’t think there is any way that any studio anywhere would ever exclude the teen and tween crowd from a Wolverine movie. Jackman goes on to say that the idea of doing two versions of the film, one that’s R-rated and one that’s PG-13 has been kicked around as well, so that keeps hopes alive for a more bloody, violent approach to the character, but I wouldn’t hold my breath there either. That sounds like a lot of work just to squeeze in a couple more limb severings or whatnot.
The interviewer brings up a good point, that Christopher Nolan’s Batman films were able to push the boundaries of doing dark, mature material while still working in the constraints of a PG-13 rating, and The Wolverine could do the same. Jackman goes on to agree that the thing that’s R-rated about Wolverine is mostly his “attitude,” so I think we’ve come to a nice compromise. Possibly, there could be an R-rated cut of The Wolverine in a DVD release or something, but probably not. However, the people putting the film together do understand that Wolverine is a dark character, so they’re most likely going to go for as extreme a PG-13 as they can.
Now, when you’re in the comic shop for New Comics Wednesday tomorrow and some guy comes up to you saying that the new Wolverine movie is going to be a hard R, I want you to take this knowledge and bring him back down to Earth. We all need to do our part in tempering fanboy expectations, because in that way lies madness.