Batman: The Killing Joke almost got an animated movie back in 2009

We’re getting an animated movie of Batman: The Killing Joke later this year but it turns out an R rated film was in the works back in 2009. Warner Bros Artist Phil Bourassa has revealed on Instagram (opens in new tab) a concept sketch of the Joker from his time working on the project.

“In 2009 I started working on an animated adaptation of The Killing Joke under the supervision of legendary Animation artist Bruce Timm,” he says. “Two weeks into the project we were told to stop development because Watchmen had under performed at the box office and WB had seemingly lost faith in R rated superhero movies.”

This is especially interesting as the tables have now turned given the success of Deadpool at the box office. Ryan Reynold’s red clad anti-hero broke records with the most successful opening weekend for an R rated movie with over $150 million in takings. Hollywood is now reacting in turn with Wolverine 3 potentially being an R rated adaptation of Old Man Logan (opens in new tab). Given that production on a new adult animated version of Alan Moore’s graphic novel is currently underway with Mark Hamill voicing the Joker, Warner Bros is already ahead of the curve.

“Happy to say that you guys are gonna finally get your animated Killing Joke adaptation in 2016,” agrees Bourassa. “Apparently enough money has been made from superhero movies and adaptations of comics of every stripe that it now transcends the previously assumed limitations of the genre. It’s a good time to be a comic geek!”

Batman: The Killing Joke is out on July 21, 2016 and is directed by Sam Lui. It stars Mark Hamill as The Joker and Kevin Conroy as Batman.

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Image credits: Alan Moore, Phil Bourassa

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