Write-director James Gunn recently ventured into R-rating territory with The Suicide Squad (2021) and harbored success around his first DC Extended Universe movie. It's imperative that The Suicide Squad calls for an R-rating, but according to Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy does not.
The Suicide Squad pushed the limits of what Gunn could get away with while creating a coherent movie, and even when understanding the free reign given with a restricted rating, there is no plan for Guardians of the Galaxy to give up its PG-13 format.
"No, I totally think I could do whatever I think the story requires," Gunn told Collider about his way of working with MPAA ratings. "I would never do an R-rated Guardians of the Galaxy. It just wouldn't be what that show is. It's for families, and old people love it. It's more like a fairy tale. And I think it is completely, that is what it is. Suicide Squad is something very different than that, and the stakes are different. All of that is different."
He continued by using examples of existing superhero movies and determining where they would fall on the MPAA spectrum of ratings if he directed them. "If I were to do say a Shazam movie, which I'm not saying I'm going to do a Shazam movie," Gunn said. "I don't think that should be R-rated either. I think if I did that, it would be PG-13. If I did Deadpool, it would be rated R. So, I mean, it just depends on the project. I think everything is different and the audience you're speaking to is different. And I love PG-13 movies, and I love R-rated movies. I don't have any problem with either of them."
Gunn's next upcoming directorial efforts will be scattered throughout the rating scale and will vary in terms of intended audiences. The Troma-rooted filmmaker is currently focused on his work for the HBO Max series Peacemaker (2022), the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022), and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023).