Ever since the project was announced at Comic-Con last year, we've been dying to see what the animated adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke will look like. Well, the first teaser trailer for the film has now appeared, along with a 10-minute behind-the-scenes featurette. The provenance of these videos is a little dubious — there don't appear to be any uploads on official channels — but the content looks genuine.
"If people want to see a really nasty, vile Joker, this is the one."
The teaser is pretty straightforward, but the featurette offers insight into how one of the most famous (and infamous) Batman stories was adapted. The crew discusses the legacy of the comic, which established many of the tropes of the Batman vs. Joker mythos, and the difficulty of translating its realistic art style drawn by Brian Bolland. They explain that they looked to simpler renderings of Batman by Kevin Nowlan for inspiration, but "stripped down even further for animation." The voice actors for the film, reprising their roles from Batman: The Animated Series, also pop up, with Mark Hamill (who voices the Joker), commenting: "If people want to see a really nasty, vile Joker, this is the one."
The team behind the film, which is due to be released this summer, also discuss the elements they've added, mainly in the form of expanding the character of Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl. Gordon's treatment in The Killing Joke has long been controversial. She's shot, paralyzed, stripped nude, and, it's suggested, sexually assaulted — all done simply to break the spirit of other characters. The new prologue seems like it might attempt to redress this one-sided treatment, concentrating on Batgirl as the Batgirl, not just a victim. "The audience gets to spend more time with Barbara Gordon as a person before the events of The Killing Joke," says the film's executive producer Bruce Timm. It'll be interesting to see how successful the team are in translating such a culturally dense comic to film.