Ever since it was published in 1988, Alan Moore and Brian Bolland‘s Batman: The Killing Joke has been widely hailed as one of the greatest Batman stories of all time. It’s also long been a dream project of Batman: The Animated Series stars Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill. So, why has it taken 28 years to get an animated adaptation?
During an extended feature in Empire Magazine, animation legend Bruce Timm revealed that there were two prior attempts to make Batman: The Killing Joke as an animated film. Timm went on to reveal why both attempts were ultimately abandoned. “The first time, it was because we had told the home video department that chances are if we do this story, it’s going to get an R rating,” related Timm. “This was years ago, but they said, ‘We’re okay with that, but we’re going to kind of hedge our bets monetarily.'”
Timm went on to explain that the film would have been a shorter movie offered for sale at a lower price to make up for the fact that it wasn’t an all ages story. “But right around the time we were ramping up, the Watchmen movie was released and underperformed. Everybody kind of took a step back and said, ‘Well, maybe the time’s not right for an R-rated superhero movie,’ so put it on the shelf.”
As for the second attempt, Timm noted that production had started and character designs were already in place for The Killing Joke when the mass shooting at the Aurora, Colorado screening of The Dark Knight Rises took place. After that happened, the project was once again “back on the shelf.”
You can read the entire Empire feature here, which also has quotes from Hamill and Conroy.
Batman: The Killing Joke will finally be released digitally on July 23, with a DVD and Blu-ray release to follow on August 2. The world premiere screening of the film will be held at San Diego Comic-Con 2016.
Are you looking forward to seeing The Killing Joke come to life in animation? Go a little mad in our comment section below!
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Image: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment