The MCU is delving into darker territory with Werewolf by Night, and it only just avoided being given the highest TV-MA rating due to one reason.
For those doubting the mature themes of Werewolf by Night, it seems that the violent and horror-orientated special only avoided a TV-MA rating thanks to it being presented in black and white instead of color. The first look at the Marvel Special Presentation brought an unexpectedly dark and scary homage to 40s Universal horror movies and will draw back the veil on the monsters of the MCU. Director Michael Giacchino recently revealed that the super-violence of the show almost ended up pushing the rating of Werewolf by Night beyond the usual TV-14.
Marvel has already hinted at darker things to come to the MCU. As well as this year’s Sam Raimi-directed Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Disney+ series Moon Knight, coming soon will be the introduction of Blade and potentially, even further in the future, Ghost Rider. Werewolf by Night doesn’t just bring its titular lycanthrope into the Marvel world but also features the introduction of Man-Thing and other darker creatures from Marvel canon.
While speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Giacchino explained that there were very few restrictions put on him when it came to the amount of horror he could bring to the project, and that ramping up the visuals meant the director was a little surprised to see the special being given a TV-14 rating. He said:
“We had always assumed it would be TV-MA, but I wasn’t always involved with what was happening on that end in terms of ratings and all of that. And so I’m not sure, but I am sure you are absolutely right that the black and white did help keep us within a certain range.”
The MCU is Preparing to Delve Into More Mature Content
While any Disney-owned franchise comes under fire for potentially “kiddifying” its content, from the Alien franchise through to the MCU, many of those fears have been unfounded. This was proven earlier this year with the release of Predator movie Prey, and now is being shown in the context of the MCU with Werewolf by Night.
Doctor Strange 2 already used some disturbing visuals as Wanda’s villain turn saw her traversing the multiverse in order to capture America Chavez, and with Werewolf by Night already getting a lot of praise ahead of its release on October 7, there is every possibility that it will pave the way for more dark avenues to be explored within the MCU parallel to its PG-13 main story.
When it comes to violence, comic book violence tends to get much more lenience than many other movies and TV shows that involve torture, mutilation and dismemberment, and that clearly means that Giacchino has been able to push the boundaries of the ratings system in ways that appear to make Werewolf by Night one of the most mature offerings from the MCU to date. Of course, like many Marvel shows on Disney+, this is clearly an experiment to see exactly what grabs the attention of viewers, and it looks like the special is certainly flexing its claws in that department. Catch Werewolf by Night on Disney+ from October 7.
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