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Batman: The Killing Joke will have an R-rating

We’re somewhat excited about the legendary Batman graphic novel The Killing Joke getting an animated adaptation. We’re even more excited however, that this is being done under the Warner Bros. Animation umbrella, a branch of the company that doesn’t exactly pull any punches when it comes to releasing cartoon flicks starring characters who are usually meting out justice for all ages.

DC’s animated films aren’t exactly shy to slap on a 13 or even 16 age restriction on their library of films however, with releases that have featured plenty of blood, violence and gore along the way. But The Killing Joke is a different story however. It’s a brutal tale, one that involves some seriously heavy adult themes to go along with a decent dose of bloodshed, something anyone who has read the graphic novel can tell you.

And Warner Bros. isn’t going to water down those themes for the adaptation. “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,” president of Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Digital Series Sam Register said 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.

That’s massively encouraging news to hear. At it’s core, The Killing Joke is about how one bad day can turn even the best people into a deranged lunatic like the Joker, something that the ace of knaves sets out to prove by thoroughly wrecking the life of Gotham City police commissioner Jim Gordon. It’s a gruelling tale, one that involves the Joker going to r-rated lengths to prove his point.

It’s sounding very promising, and after watching the actually damn good Justice League vs. Teen Titans, I’m amped to see this iconic story get the adaptation that it deserves. After all, it already has the best Batman and Joker voices, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, reprising their signature roles for this film.

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