DC Comics

Two months ago we told you all about Batman: The Killing Joke, DC's upcoming animated flick that will double as its first R-rated film. A few days later, the first trailer for the comic-adaptation surfaced, chock full of shots of Batman and The Joker really going at it. A month later, and we were given a release date: July 23.

Today the fine people at Empire have given us an inside peek at the release, and there's a lot to unpack. Mark Hamill shed some serious light on the project, and you can check out brand-spanking-new stills from the animation.

Hamill (Luke Skywalker himself), who voices The Joker, detailed the project:

"I can't imagine how people are going to react to this, because I'm a 'Killing Joke' purist. When they first talked about it, I said, 'The only way we can do this is as a book on tape so that we honor every comma, every word, every letter, every syllable of Alan Moore's script. We can add music and special effects to enhance it.' They kind of said, 'What are you talking about? Nobody is doing this as a book on tape. It's not commercially viable for us to do it that way. See if you can get the rights and record it in your basement or something if that's what you want to do. This story has to be expanded.' If we just adapted 'The Killing Joke' as an animated film, it would maybe be fifty-five minutes. They've actually done a really incredible job of supplementing it with Barbara Gordon/Batgirl material."

We also got some answers as to why it took so dang long for Killing Joke production to begin. Producer Bruce Timm told the pub:

"...Right around the time we were ramping up, the 'Watchmen' movie was released and underperformed. Everybody kind of took a step back and said, ‘Well, maybe the time's not right for an R-rated superhero movie, so put it on the shelf.’ A couple of years later, it came up again and we even had started production with character designs and stuff. But then that horrible shooting at the Dark Knight Rises theater happened and everybody got nervous again about it, because of gun violence, so we put it back on the shelf."

Read the story in full right here. Then take our quiz, Are You More Batman or Superman? Make sure to revisit our Back of the Class podcast wherein our team discuss the very first Killing Joke trailer, below.