Since the animated adaption of Alan’s Moore’s 1988 graphic novel was announced, its rating has been the center of much discussion. Warner Bros., understanding the comic’s incredibly dark themes and narrative, told Bruce Timm and Co. that an R-rating would not be an issue. However, just because the studio would accept an R-rating, did not mean that the creative team would pursue one. To them, it was best to let the process take its course. Now it’s been revealed the course the project led them on is one that landed the animated film adaption of The Killing Joke an R-rating. This will be a first in DC’s long history of animated feature films.
Entertainment Weekly reports the news and offers with it a statement from Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation & Warner Digital Series:
“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 Register. “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.”
Can’t argue with that. The graphic novel is often considered the canon Joker backstory, and launched a Barbara Gordon story arc that turned Batgirl into a new class of hero as she took on the role of Oracle. The way this interesting narrative unfolds is very dark, and at the time it featured mature themes not yet explored in superhero storylines. Though, this may cause contention with those looking to show the film to a younger audience. According to EW, “there are currently no plans for an edited PG-13 version of the film.”
As with their last mature rated outing for a Batman project, with Batman: Arkham Knight, the definitive voices of the Bat and the Clown, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, will reprise their roles as the iconic characters once again. Tara Strong also makes another return to the franchise, this time reprising her role of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl.
Batman: The Killing Joke hits Blu-ray/DVD later this year, with a world premiere coming at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
Images: Warner Bros.