During a Batman-focused panel at New York Comic Con this weekend, Batman: Bad Blood producer James Tucker revealed the upcoming animated adaptation of The Killing Joke could potentially come with an R rating.
Though Tucker was not speaking to a concrete decision that had been made by Warner Bros. or the MPAA, the possibility of a more mature rating raised more than a few eyebrows.
"They said we could make it an R," Tucker explained during the panel. "I'm not saying that’s what it will be, but we’ll see.”
The Killing Joke is regarded as both one of the most iconic and controversial storylines in Batman's history. The plot revolves around the Joker's origin story and portrays the character in a markedly darker way that involves what some fans consider to be the sexual assault of Batgirl.
Fans of the Killing Joke have been clamoring for either an animated or cinematic film based on its plot since the one shot was first published back in 1988. In the few times that DC has hearkened back to the story, though, responses have been mixed.
Earlier this year, DC published a variant cover inspired by The Killing Joke that featured the Joker and the new, updated Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) whose origins were written to vastly downplay her history with the Joker.
The cover alluded to the Joker's vicious assault on Barbara and many fans felt as if it was an unnecessary glorification of sexual violence. DC quickly pulled the variant issues because of the backlash. How DC and Warner Bros. will handle The Killing Joke's remake is uncertain, but if the movie does eventually come with an R rating, it may also need to come with a serious trigger warning.