ByTom Chapman, writer at Creators.co
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Tom Chapman

Well, it was only a matter of time really before "R fever" hit us hard. First it was Fox with Deadpool and now it is happening in the DC Animated Universe. While Suicide Squad will (probably) scrape by with a PG-13, in the animated universe things are looking a little darker for the Dark Knight. That's right Batfans, the hotly anticipated Batman: The Killing Joke will be the DCAU's first R-rated film.

Batman and Joker
Batman and Joker

In a statement, Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation & Warner Digital Series said:

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.

Register went on to assure us that The Killing Joke would remain true to its source material. The animation will also offer a 15-minute prologue to set up the story, so even hardcore fans of the graphic novel will have something new to look forward to:

'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.

Warner Bros.' incarnation of the classic Alan Moore tale will seemingly stay true to its roots if it truly getting an R-rating. Once again starring the dynamic duo of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, The Killing Joke is described as the ultimate Joker origin story. The 1988 novel gives us a look at the man before the clown, and fleshes out characters like Jim and Barbara Gordon.

Bad news though, kiddies, there are no plans for an edited PG-13 version to follow, so at least we know the Clown Prince of Crime will remain in all his gory glory. So, why an R-rating? Let's run down five moments that make The Killing Joke such a side-splitter:

1. Tricks Of The Trade

The Killing Joke charts the Joker's attempts to lure Batman into a final showdown and starts with a pretty bloody beginning. The first victim is the hapless owner of a run-down amusement park. The Joker convinces him to give to him for free. Joker "shakes hands" on the deal, poisoning the owner in the process. Joker asks him to "stick around," and boy does he, becoming a permanent fixture of the fairground.

2. Barbara Bites The Bullet

In one of the comic's most infamous scenes, Barbara Gordon is happily sipping tea at home. The Joker, in holiday attire, shoots Barbara through the spine and kidnaps Jim Gordon. Despite surviving the attack, Barbara is left wheelchair-bound and the Oracle storyline is born.

3. The Humiliation Of Jim Gordon

Kidnapped and stripped by some creepy babies, Jim Gordon is subjected to psychological torture at the hands of the Joker, who shows him images of his injured and naked daughter in an attempt to drive him insane. All of this while the Joker sits atop a throne made of tiny baby dolls — creepy AF!

4. Joker Takes A Tumble

So, what makes The Killing joke the ultimate Joker tale? It appears that Mr. J was just a simple engineer in the wrong place at the wrong time — and was actually a victim of Batman! Set up by a gang of criminals to don the Red Hood mantle, Joker is pushed into a vat of chemicals by Batman, who inadvertently creates his arch nemesis. We get to see the softer side of Joker in TKJ. Grief stricken when his wife dies in a tragic home accident, the Joker starts life as a failed comedian. As for the chemical vat scene? Batman has already touched on this with Jack Nicholson's portrayal in 1989, so let's see how the animated version turns out — cue Mark Hamill's manic Joker cackle.

5. Joker's Fun House

If an abandoned theme park isn't scary enough, try entering a Fun House and Hall of Mirrors occupied by a psycho in a purple suit. Both Batman and the Joker take a pretty big pummeling in the finale and there is a weird joke-related twist at the end, causing the famously stoney Batman to crack a smile. The question is, with a novel that is so bloody, will anyone walk away alive?

We don't have long to wait to see how the amazing drawings of Brian Bolland and Alan Moore's story come to life on our screens. With a world premiere at San Diego Comic-Con, Batman: The Killing Joke is released on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD later in the year.

Are you psyched to see the psycho? Sound off about 'The Killing Joke' below.

(Source: Entertainment Weekly)

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