Earlier this week, Entertainment Weekly let drop that their direct-to-video animated film adaptation of the polarizing Alan Moore comic, Batman: The Killing Joke, will be getting an R-Rating. While the extended DVD cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was confirmed to be have same rating before this announcement, we don’t yet know of its release date. This will make Warner Bros’ premiere of Batman: The Killing Joke later this summer at San Diego Comic-Con the first R-Rated DC Universe Original Movie.
The studio had this to say about the choice:
“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 was published in 1988 as a one-shot comic book, presented with a parallel pair of narratives; the possible look into the Joker’s past alongside the villain’s present attempt to psychologically break Commissioner Gordon by targeting his daughter, Barbara (the former Batgirl). An R-Rating should come as no surprise to readers of the original material, given the extremely adult, graphic nature of its content and its long-term impact on the character of Barbara Gordon. While some may fear that the R-Rating combined with the promise of an expanded Batgirl role in the story would indicate a return to a darker and controversial chapter in the character’s history, it does allow the minds behind it to present The Killing Joke accurately.
Barbara Gordon’s transformation from Batgirl into Oracle, due to the events of The Killing Joke, stands as one of the most controversial and captivating character arcs in comic books that creators have worked on for nearly thirty years. It combines elements of overcoming adversity, and growing into a role that was even unique to the DC Universe. Gordon would even returned to the mantle of Batgirl in 2011.
Check out its initial trailer here:
Batman: The Killing Joke stars the voices of Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as the Joker, and Tara Strong as Batgirl.
Source: Entertainment Weekly