Marvel Studios Announces Historic R-Rated Disney+ Show

By Pierre Chanliau Updated:
Marvel Studios, Avengers, zombies

Disney added parental controls to its streaming service in March, allowing easier means to restrict access to mature content for younger family members. This was a clear sign that Disney was pivoting from only allowing PG-13 or lower films and shows to potentially letting companies expand into developing R-rated content on Disney+.

Last year, it was announced that Marvel Studios would be developing a Marvel Zombies animated series for Disney+. Many fans began speculating on whether it would be connected at all to the What If...? episode of the same premise and if the series would receive a more mature rating.

Well, both have finally been answered at San Diego Comic-Con.

Marvel Zombies First R-Rated Marvel Studios Show

At the Marvel Studios Animation Panel at San Diego Comic-Con, it was confirmed that the upcoming Marvel Zombies animated series would be rated TV-MA (television's R-rating equivalent) with executives promising that there would be much more gore.

This series also takes place in the same universe as the zombie universe that appeared in What If...? and will include more zombified heroes and villains like Wanda Maximoff, Ghost, Hawkeye, Abomination, Captain Marvel, a legless Captain America, Ikaris, and more:

Turned Marvel Zombies

The new survivors of this zombie apocalypse were shown to be Yelena, Kate Bishop, Jimmy Woo, Shang-Chi, Kamala Khan, Death Dealer, Red Guardian, and Awkwafina’s Katy:

Heroes Marvel Zombies
Marvel Studios

The panel also showed audiences a biker gang of Skrulls at a gas station:

Marvel Zombie Skrulls
Marvel Studios

Former Black Widows were also shown working together as a group to survive:

Marvel Zombies Black Widows
Marvel Studios

A zombified Ikaris was also shown, with the exposed circuitry of his Eternal innards showing through:

Zombie Ikaris
Marvel Studios

How Mature Will Marvel's Zombies Get?

The implications of Marvel Studios making their upcoming zombie-themed series TV-MA are massive, opening the door wide open for other MCU projects to do the same – or even be properly R-rated.

This, in tandem with R-rated films Deadpool, Deadpool 2 and Logan hitting Disney+, could be signaling that the company is getting more comfortable with the idea of projects aimed at different age groups. Deadpool 3 is confirmed to be keeping its more mature rating for now, but perhaps future MCU projects could follow suit – could the upcoming Daredevil series now receive a TV-MA rating? Only time will tell.

Since this Marvel Zombies series will be set in the same zombified universe seen in What If...?, the zombified heroes won't speak again. Instead, they'll continue to groan and act like typical zombies, losing the biggest hook from the original comics.

The biggest appeal of the original Marvel Zombies was that, once turned, the heroes retained their intelligence and a semblance of humanity. But unfortunately, the heroes were afflicted with an insatiable hunger for human flesh that would slowly turn them into the typical groaning undead.

Having the zombies speak would have also drastically improved the attempted dark humor seen in the What If...? episode. In the comics, it was typically the zombies who would employ dark humor, while stories from the perspective of the survivors would be played straight.

Hopefully, the Quantum Virus has evolved by the time Marvel Zombies is released on Disney+ in 2024.

- About The Author: Pierre Chanliau
Pierre Chanliau began as a news & feature writer for The Direct at the site's launch in 2020. As a longtime reader of superhero comic books, Pierre's knowledge of Marvel and DC is extensive, informing his reporting and editorial pieces regarding the MCU and DCU.