Last year at Comic-Con, we learned that the iconic and controversial Batman comic, Batman: The Killing Joke, would be getting it's own animated film adaptation. This will mark the return of fan favorites Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamil reprising their roles as the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime. This all sounds great, but the one question everyone had was if the film would pull punches in order to maintain a PG-13 rating.
The Killing Joke is considered one of the darkest comic-book stories ever told and deals with many sensitive topics in very dark and violent ways.The story isn't pure shock value, it develops strong characters and shows how twisted and demented The Joker is, but you can't get the emotional impact of some of the moments in this story by taking key moments out or toning them down in order to get the PG-13 rating. Luckily for fans of the story, the film has been officially rated R by the MPAA and Warner Bros. has no plans to change that.
“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 to EW. “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.”
It's great to see Warner Bros. and DC Comics are happy to create these mature Batman stories that are true to the character and not pull any punches. Last year, we had the first M rated Batman game with Batman: Arkham Knight and last month we got one of the most brutal Batman's ever put to film in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with an even more brutal version to come in July on the R-rated Blu-Ray extended cut.
Batman: The Killing Joke will release sometime in the summer after debuting exclusively at San Diego Comic-Con 2016.