EW reports that the upcoming animated Batman: The Killing Joke adaptation based on the acclaimed Alan Moore-Brian Bolland graphic novel will be D.C. Animation’s first R-rated film and Batman’s second, if you count the R-rated Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, unlike that film, there will be no PG-13 cut available.
Returning to roles they defined in the likes of Batman: The Animated Series and Batman: Arkham video games are Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and Joker, respectively. Hamill has long said, especially after his “retirement” from the role post-Batman: Arkham City circa 2011, that he would only return for a Killing Joke adaptation, which chronicles both Joker’s origin (maybe) and Joker’s attempt to drive Commissioner Gordon insane to prove all that separates a good man from his homicidal insanity is “one bad day.”
Tara Strong also returns to the role of Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl/Oracle, who’s paralysis at the hands of the Joker was one of the iconic moments of the comic and such a huge development from the character it was adopted into the canon proper.
“From the start of production, we encouraged producer Bruce Timm and our team at Warner Bros. Animation to remain faithful to the original story — regardless of the eventual MPAA rating,” said Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation & Warner Digital Series, in a statement. “The Killing Joke is revered by the fans, particularly for its blunt, often-shocking adult themes and situations. We felt it was our responsibility to present our core audience — the comics-loving community — with an animated film that authentically represented the tale they know all too well.”
Batman: The Killing Joke will premiere at Comic-Con International in San Diego this summer, with a home video release to follow in late 2016.