Batman Bits: ‘The Killing Joke’ First R-Rated Batman Animated Feature, Plus a ‘Batman Begins’ Mystery Solved
We’re not a group that shies away from a fun bit of Batman news, yeah? As movie-goers start to mentally prepare themselves for the forthcoming Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice experience heading our way next year, it’s important to remember the long print and visual history of The Caped Crusader. Today we’ve got two fun bits of Bat-news from two very different sources: one dealing with an iconic villain story in comic form making the leap to the “big screen,” and the other with a long-standing question from fans surrounding a cinematic version finally being answered. Read on to learn more!
Let’s start with a follow-up to this year’s San Diego Comic Con, where we first learned that Batman: The Killing Joke, arguably the most iconic story ever told about Batman’s arch-nemesis The Joker, would be getting the animated-film treatment. Fans got excited, and understandably so: the 1988 graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland functions as an origin story for the comic character, one that (pardon the pun) paints him as a tragic figure and makes him a bit more identifiable to the reader. It’s also the story, of course, that dramatically changed the direction of the tale that Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, would take throughout the rest of the Batman universe.
Now we’ve learned through news reports that the animated version of The Killing Joke has been approved for an R rating, meaning that pretty much all of the original tale’s graphic content is now fair play to be utilized and shown on screen. James Tucker, producer of the film, dropped the news at New York Comic Con, but as a slew of fans and corporate-media types were quick to point out, just because DC has been given the ability to make the movie as a rated-R experience doesn’t necessarily mean that they are definitely going to. While viewers have obviously seen more than one “mature” Batman stories translated to film and TV, The Killing Joke would certainly seem like a prime candidate to continue that trend.
In other Batman-film news, a recent Reddit Q&A with Jonathan Nolan – brother of The Dark Knight Trilogy director Chris Nolan and co-writer of the screenplays for The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises – answered a bit of long-standing trivia surrounding the first film in the trilogy, Batman Begins. In one of the earliest teasers for the film, Christian Bale speaks a monologue over the entire trailer that outlines some of the “how” and “why” that Bruce Wayne seeks to be the Batman, but none of the speech was ever found in any of the actual films, not even in any deleted scenes that were released. Nolan finally gave an explanation, and it was actually a fairly simple one:
“I wrote this in a couple hours in my brother’s trailer while he was shooting the scene in which Bruce is arrested for stealing Wayne corp supplies on his ‘journey…’ [It] remains some of my favorite writing from these films. Was written specifically for the trailer. Wouldn’t have worked in the film.”
So there you have it – a bit of creative editing makes for what essentially became an “exclusive limited-edition” Batman speech that you’ll only ever hear in one lonely advance-promo for the film. It’s almost like a cinematic collector’s item, and that, honestly, is pretty darn cool when you think about it.