Everyone is talking about the new trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice shown at last week’s San Diego Comic-Con. However, Warner Bros. has announced another film that will star the caped crusader, as the studio will finally be making an animated adaptation of Alan Moore’s (Watchmen) classic graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke.
Arguably the darkest Batman tale, The Killing Joke tells two stories. The first is an origin story for the the Joker as a struggling comedian who attempts to help some gangsters rob a chemical plant to get some quick cash for he and his pregnant wife. This origin story, of course, heavily influenced the birth of the character in Tim Burton’s Batman. The main story follows the Joker, who shoots Barbara Gordon – Commissioner Jim Gordon’s daughter and later, Batgirl – paralyzing her from the waist down. He also kidnaps Jim Gordon and holds him hostage in an abandoned amusement park.
Controversy has surrounded the story as many believe it’s implied that the Joker sexually assaulted Barbara after shooting her, since he takes nude photos of her in agony to drive her father insane during the kidnapping. As Moore is one of the more adult storytellers of the medium, it is said that more explicit panels of the scene were submitted, only to be cut from the final release. While DC isn’t expected to include those cut shots in the film, it will be interesting to see how they handle the scene.
Since 2008, Warner Bros. has produced straight-to-video animated stories featuring Batman. In 2010, they released Batman: Under the Red Hood, based on the Under the Red Hood run of comics. They later produced critically-acclaimed adaptations of Frank Miller’s (Sin City, 300) seminal Batman graphic novels in Batman: Year One and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, both of which influenced Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises, respectively. Batman’s design in Batman v. Superman was also influenced by The Dark Knight Returns.
At this time, we have only heard that Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) will produce the film. No casting has been announced at this time, but fans are clamoring for Mark Hamill (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), who voiced the Clown Prince of Crime in the 90’s animated series as well as three of the Arkham video games. Although he appears in flashbacks in the recent game Batman: Arkham Knight, Hamill announced his retirement from the character. However ,when a fan asked him if he would ever return to the character for an adaptation of The Killing Joke, he replied that he would, “love to be a part of that project.”
Hello/Goodbye Joker! I’ve enjoyed every minute behind the wheel of the Crown Prince’s crazy car- I’m going to miss him more than I can say!!
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) October 19, 2011
Thats a dream unfilled! Id love to be apart of that project! @NecromorphZ:What are the chances youll play the joker in killing joke
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) October 24, 2011
Plenty of other actors have voiced the Joker in other animated adaptations, including John DiMaggio (Wreck-It Ralph) in Batman: Under the Red Hood, and Michael Emerson (TV’s Lost) in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2. It will be interesting to see if Hammil and/or Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman and Bruce Wayne in The Animated Series, will join the project as many hardcore Bat-fans see them as the definitive voices for the characters.
No release date has been announced at this time for the animated version of Batman: The Killing Joke but DC often ties these releases to a feature release. Given that Jared Leto’s (Dallas Buyers Club) Joker will make an appearance in Suicide Squad, it makes sense that the movie would hit theaters around Suicide Squad‘s August 5, 2016 release.