Though DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. have had a little bit of a rocky start to their live action extended universe films, with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice under whelming fans and critics alike and underperforming at the box office, they are miles ahead of the competition with their animated features. For years, DC's animated films have been an excellent representation of their source material and have told stories fans have wanted to see for years, and their latest feature, Batman: The Killing Joke, is taking on one of the most classic comic stories of all time. Not to mention that the film, which will be coming out on Blu Ray this August, will be rated R.
DC and Warner Bros. have just released an official synopsis for the film, as well as a brand new image of Barbara Gordon's Batgirl, who will be voiced by Tara Strong in The Killing Joke. Strong is one of the most prominent voice actors in the business and has worked with DC in the past on Teen Titans and other projects. The official synopsis for the film comes courtesy of CBM.
"What does it take for a person to snap? How much despair for a mind to fracture? These are the twisted questions that The Joker has set out to answer, to show Gotham that even an ordinary man like Commissioner Gordon is only one bad day away from sheer insanity. Based on the acclaimed DC Comics graphic novel, witness a journey into the dark psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime. Follow his humble beginnings as a struggling comic to his fateful encounter with the Dark Knight that changed everything. Fueled by the return of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as The Joker, witness the birth of a super villain, the fortitude of a hero and the punch line that will leave you speechless."
The original story that the animated feature is based on was written by comics legend Alan Moore and though it has been the subject of a ton of praise over the years, it has also been the subject of quite a bit of controversy as well. The Killing Joke deals with some very dark subject matter, specifically in regards to what happens to Barbara Gordon and the way that the character is treated in the material. Though the material is very harsh, it has been considered one of the greatest graphic novels of all time and the character of Gordon is still affected by the events in the comics today. The producers of the film have said that they have expanded largely on the Batgirl story in order to help bolster the story enough to help make it enough of a story for a feature length adaptation.
The voice cast will of course include Tara Strong as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, with Ray Wise voicing Commissioner Gordon. But as mentioned in the synopsis, both Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill have returned to voice Batman and The Joker respectively. Conroy has been the voice of Batman for the majority of DC's animated output for more than 20 years and Hamil is right next to Heath Ledger in terms of definitive Jokers outside of the comics. The pair originally voiced the characters in Batman: The Animated Series together.
Batman: The Killing Joke sadly won't be getting a theatrical release like Mask of the Phantasm did in the 90's, but it will be making its way to San Diego Comic Con this year, for those who are attending the event. The film was directed by Sam Liu and was written by Brian Azzarello. Look for it on digital HD on July 26 and on Blu Ray on August 2.