Report: Disney Animated Series to Earn a TV-MA Rating

marvel zombies series to be rated r
Credit: Disney/ Canva

Disney is typically a family-friendly organization. You’d be hard-pressed to find adult concepts like nudity, sex, and gore in their programming. However, one upcoming Disney-backed animated series featuring Marvel Zombies is expected to earn a TV-MA rating, breaking away from the typical squeaky-clean image of the House of Mouse.

Chadwick Boseman What If

Credit: Marvel

The Marvel Universe, more specifically the MCU, hasn’t shied away from the controversial use of language, increasingly pushing the ratings envelope. Fans of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022) may recall a few risque scenes. However, besides using a few bad words, including one out-of-place “f-bomb,” iconic heroes like Black Panther, Captain America, and Iron Man are relatively clean-cut.

Still, when dealing with Avengers fighting bad guys, one thing that the Marvel Cinematic Universe can’t shy away from is violence. Whether it is a Marvel comic or Marvel Studios production, one common aspect surrounding big names like Scarlet Witch, Captain Marvel, or any other hero in the MCU, violence is a common theme.

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However, in newer phases of the MCU, which have seen the introduction of more brutal heroes like Moon Knight, the intensity of violence involving Marvel heroes has increased dramatically.

Amongst the brutal beatings, there is one show that has taken the concept of violence to an entirely new level. Based on the popular Marvel digital comics, the expanded universe concept of What If? (2021) on Disney+ provides one specific set of circumstances that feature graphic flesh-eating monsters, and they’re inspiring a bloody spinoff that will likely contradict everything we know about Disney.

What is ‘What If?’

What If? premiered on Disney+ in 2021, bringing with it endless possibilities for our favorite Marvel heroes and villains. Based on a comic run, the popular show features a multiversal theme and highlights notable MCU characters like Thor, Black Panther, Captain America, and more, but with a twist.

Marvel What If

Credit: Marvel Studios

As the Multiverse expands in the MCU, What If? fits perfectly in the overall scheme of plans set forth by Marvel Studios. Based on comics designed and written by Robert Kirkman, What If? changes everything we know about the MCU. Black Panther and Star-Lord become one character, Ultron gets his hands on the Infinity Stones, and in extremely popular episode, the Avengers become zombies!

What If? is now on its second season on Disney+, but a new spinoff, Marvel Zombies Return, will be bringing back a popular offering from its first run. That’s right, a new R-rated spin-off seems to be in the works! This animated feature would change much of what we expect from a Disney-owned studio; as the newly appointed spinoff is likely to receive a TV-MA advisory for gore-related content!

Marvel Zombies are All the Rage

Robert Kirkman created Marvel Zombies, a popular comic book series that takes place in an alternate universe where superheroes turn into flesh-eating monsters. In this gruesome and terrifying storyline, characters such as Colonel America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man are transformed into zombies and wreak havoc on the Marvel Universe.

Related: Controversy Prompts Marvel to Consider Recasting Major Role

The Marvel Zombies series first debuted in 2005 and was created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Sean Phillips. It gained a dedicated fan base for its unique take on the superhero genre, combining elements of horror and gore with classic Marvel characters.

The story begins with an infection that spreads throughout the superhero community, turning them into ravenous zombies. These undead versions of beloved characters retain their powers and abilities but are driven by an insatiable hunger for human flesh.

 what if marvel zombies

Credit: Marvel Studios

The series explores the moral dilemmas faced by the infected superheroes as they struggle to control their primal urges. It delves into themes of survival, loyalty, and the destructive potential of power.

Marvel Zombies has since become a popular franchise, with spin-off series, graphic novels, and even tie-ins with other Marvel properties. It has also inspired merchandise, video games, and adaptations in other media.

Fans of the horror genre and Marvel enthusiasts alike have enjoyed the Marvel Zombies series for its unique blend of thrilling storytelling and familiar characters. Marvel Zombies is a must-read if you’re looking for an alternative take on the Marvel Universe that is both dark and captivating.

Marvel Zombies Stays True to Reality – Sorta

Recently, in an interview with Marvel.com via The Direct, director Bryan Andrews sat down to discuss his take on turning the popular comic series into a mature-rating cartoon spinoff.

Related: The Marvel Cinematic Universe Has Been Dethroned . . . for Now

Confirming a Marvel Zombies spinoff, Andrews doesn’t plan to hold back on the gore and violence, saying, “Well, it’s going to be pretty awesome. I mean it’s TV-MA, it’s hardcore. People die. And they die rough.”

Andrews certainly suggested that although the show will feature plenty of laughs, we can expect gory violence from each mutated hero in the MCU, promising a horror take that may have been waiting for a very long time.

“So, there’s still some laughs to be found here and there. It’s not completely all horrible… We might prop you up with some laughs and some humor and some good times, and then and then we take stuff away. So, it’s pretty brutal. There’s huge action. There’s great emotion. There’s drama. There’s all of it.”

captain america marvel zombies

Credit: Marvel Studios

The idea of seeing your favorite Marvel hero in an R-rated feature is actually becoming a reality quicker than you think. Although Marvel Zombies will be an animated series, Deadpool 3, which will be released later this year, will surely hold true to its main character, bringing with him an R-rating as well, but likely for reasons other than blood and gore (although those will surely be included).

Previous Marvel concepts not produced by Disney, such as Blade and Deadpool, have carried TV-MA ratings before, but seeing family-friendly heroes like the Fantastic Four or Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) typically take on the nasty role of flesh-eating monsters is sure to shock some viewers.

What do you think? Is the MCU becoming more violent? Are you okay with an R-rated animated series?


About Michael Arnold

Michael is a father, husband, and an Army Veteran. Michael spends his weekends at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando checking out new merchandise and food. Michael is a graduate of the University of Alabama and has an education background in Public Health. You can find Michael riding Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again or binge watching new Marvel and Star Wars content. Han shot first. Thor is the strongest Avenger. Roll Tide and Wash Your Hands!

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