Though nothing official has been released, Kevin Conroy now seems increasingly likely to return to reprise his role as Batman, alongside Mark Hamill as The Joker, in the upcoming Warner Brothers animated feature The Killing Joke.
IMDb.com now lists Mr. Conroy and Mr. Hamill as officially having joined the cast and the film as having officially entered pre-production. This jives nicely with a Collider report from this past July, which stated that voice work on the project had already begun.
Still, the patchy wall of silence, that surrounds the project’s casting, remains in place for the time being.
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Publicist Gary Miereanu of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment gave ComiConverse the following official update.
“Nothing has been officially announced regarding Batman: The Killing Joke, beyond its title and Bruce Timm’s affiliation with the film.”
Repeated requests for comment the actor’s representatives were not returned.
There has been a certain amount of fog surrounding the project’s casting, as denials from both actors have been accompanied by reports that their recording sessions were already underway.
Given the excitement surrounding the The Killing Joke‘s development, it would make sense for studio executives to try and keep the casting of their star voice actors quiet for as long as possible, in order to add to hype.
Only weeks ago, Conroy told a panel of excited fans at Wizard World Tulsa that neither he nor Mark Hamill had officially been offered roles in The Killing Joke; this despite numerous media reports claiming Hamill was already on board with the project.
The dark and legendary Batman story arc by Alan Moore is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated animated films in comics history, and now appears set to feature two of the most iconic voice actors in the genre.
At one time, Kevin Conroy’s presence in any non-live-action Batman project would have been a near certainty; however, in recent years DC Entertainment has begun experimenting with different actors in their Batman animated features, with Jason O’Mara having now held the role in four of DC’s animated films, as well as in the upcoming project Batman: Bad Blood.
It wouldn’t be a forgone conclusion that the inclusion of Hamill’s Joker in a major project would also mean Conroy’s return as Batman. Conroy returned to his iconic role in 2014’s Batman: Assault on Arkham, which was seen by many as a major studio experiment that did much to drive the creation of a live-action Suicide Squad movie. Hamill was not included in that project.
Most fans will remember the duo from their superb performances in Batman: The Animated Series, where both worked with The Killing Joke‘s Executive Producer Bruce Timm, as well as the various incarnations of The Justice League animated series. Animated feature films, however, have gotten significantly darker and more adult in the years since those series were at their peak. Both actors seem to have transitioned into that more adult world of storytelling, as evidenced by Assault on Arkham and other films.
Still, it would be hard to find more adult subject matter than Moore’s The Killing Joke.
In October, Batman-News reported that permission had been given for the project to seek an “R” rating if the Director felt it was necessary to tell the best story.
When that story finally bursts on to our laptops and TV’s, sometime in 2016, and if indeed it does include Conroy and Hamill reprising their iconic roles as Batman and The Joker, it will undoubtedly be an intoxicating mix of drama and nostalgia – with an added touch of controversy.
The Killing Joke is not without its detractors.
The major theme of interest to students of comics and storytelling will, nevertheless, likely be as follows; two actors who attracted legions of child fans with their performances in the 1990’s, continue to reunite to portray more adult versions of those same characters as their core audience ages.
It’s an evolution in storytelling that is extremely unique and one which has allowed both the actors and their fans to continue their journey together longer than any would have thought possible.
Its possible that The Killing Joke would be the last such project that Hamill and Conroy might have the chance to work together on.
If so, it will surely be one for the ages.
Correction: An earlier version of this story listed Mr. Gary Miereanu as a Publicist for DC Entertainment. He is, in fact, a Publicist for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
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