Since its release in 1988, Batman: The Killing Joke has been regarded as one of DC Comics’ greatest graphic novels. Alan Moore’s chilling take on the crown prince of crime introduced the world to a more brutal version of the villain, while also adding layers of tragedy and depth to the character.
With voice actors Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy reprising their roles as the Joker and Batman, and the MPAA issuing an unprecedented R-rating, fans are eager to get their hands on the film when it’s released on Blu-Ray and DVD in August. However, now it has been announced that some lucky fans will get to see the movie a few days early, and on a big screen.
As reported by the San Diego Comic-Con International blog, Batman: The Killing Joke will have its world premiere on Friday, July 22nd at the convention. While some specific details have yet to be finalized, attendees of the screening will be treated to a panel led by key members of the cast and creative team behind The Killing Joke.
Aside from Conroy (who, as the SDCC blog points out, has already mentioned he’s attending the convention) and Hamill, the film features the voices of Tara Strong as Barbara Gordon and Ray Wise as Commissioner Gordon. The film was directed by Sam Liu (Justice League vs. Teen Titans) and Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) from a script by DC Comics veteran Brian Azzarello.
Even with the Deadpool-inspired advocacy for R-rated comic book films, including a new cut of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, it’s a daring move to release an animated film aimed “exclusively” at mature audiences. Premiering it at a high-profile venue like SDCC seems to double-down on Warner Bros Animation’s faith in the project, as the fans in the audience will undoubtedly be among the most passionate.
As Timm describes the terrifying and difficult journey of bringing The Killing Joke to life, one realizes how unlikely of an event the world premiere of an R-rated adaptation of one of the bleakest, most violent graphic novels of all time actually is. Only time will tell if the film lives up to the promise of its source material, or if this will satisfy fans who long to see a live-action version of Moore’s relentlessly dark tale.
Batman: The Killing Joke will premiere at San Diego Comic-Con on July 22nd, 2016 and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S. on August 2nd, 2016.