While DC Entertainment may have taken their time getting their cinematic universe off the ground, they've been making successful animated movies for a long time. Each animated movie is usually based on a particular storyline from DC Comics, bringing their iconic characters to life in a whole new medium.
Recently, DC's animated movies have also become a testing ground for their live-action movies and the possible directions they might go in. An animated adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, for instance, was released just a few years ago. Now it appears as though Ben Affleck's worn and weary Batman in Batman v Superman is taking inspiration from the iteration of the character seen in the movie. Another one of their more recent animated films, Batman: Assault on Arkham, had a heavy focus on the Suicide Squad, who are in the process of getting their own movie set for release next year.
DC Entertainment is now adding another one of their acclaimed stories to its library of animated films. At the Comic-Con panel for Justice League: Gods and Monsters today, Bruce Timm formally announced that they are indeed adapting Batman: The Killing Joke as an animated film for release sometime in 2016:
Batman: The Killing Joke is coming to animated film 2016 -- Just announced by Bruce Timm at our JL: Gods & Monsters panel! #DCSDCC
— DC Comics (@DCComics) July 11, 2015
It seems as if DC veteran Bruce Timm will be leading the project, although any other official details are scarce at this point. Joker voice actor Mark Hamill previously said that he would love to return to voice the villain for an animated version of The Killing Joke, calling it "a dream unfilled." Whether or not Hamill comes back to play the character for the project remains to be seen, although fans would certainly embrace Hamill if he were to return to voice the clown prince again.
The Killing Joke was a 1988 one-shot comic book written by Alan Moore, drawn by Brian Bolland, and colored by John Higgins. It provided a new origin for the Joker, depicting him as a tragic character who was once a failed comedian before turning to a life of crime (that is, if you believe The Joker's story).
The comic was one of the more controversial works to come from DC during the time, and for good reason. It was a very dark take on The Joker and Batman's relationship (one theory claims that Batman kills Joker at the end), although now it is often seen as one of The Joker's most defining stories. Also of note, The Killing Joke was the story in which Barbara Gordon - who was Batgirl at the time - was shot and paralyzed by The Joker. That particular element of the story had a huge impact on Batman continuity, leading to Barbara eventually becoming Oracle.
Some may be skeptical about DC choosing to adapt The Killing Joke into an animated film. After all, the colorful, almost surreal look of the book would likely be difficult to reproduce for a straight-to-DVD cartoon. That said, DC already did a solid job adapting some of their other iconic works, like The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, so there might be nothing to worry about on that front.
Batman: The Killing Joke is set for release sometime in 2016.
Source: DC Entertainment