As was revealed back during San Diego Comic Con, Batman: The Killing Joke is making its way to the animated world of the DC Universe. Better yet, Mark Hamill, will return to voice the character. It’s an exciting project, and one that’s fairly controversial given the story’s subject matter.
Now it’s likely going to get a bit more controversial because The Killing Joke has been approved for an R-rating, meaning all of the Joker’s torturous acts can move forward on screen without concern for censorship, if producer James Tucker and the creative wants to go that route.
As reported, this would likely be the first R-rated Batman film and likely the most intense to this point. But it doesn’t need to be. The prospect of a mature Batman story isn’t really a novelty today. We’ve gotten the gritty, realistic Nolan trilogy, and we’ve also seen Batman go up against a batch of nightmares in the Arkham series (full of murders and essentially as much dark subject matter as The Killing Joke). Even the animated version of The Caped Crusader has a mature story or two if you count Mask Of The Phantasm and Return of the Joker.
The real news here is that DC and Warner Bros. aren’t shying away from the nastier bits of the story. There’s nothing holding them back.