Batfans everywhere are waking up to news they have been waiting to hear for decades: “The Killing Joke” will feature the voices of Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy, along with a slew of other veterans of “Batman: The Animated Series.” Hamill will reprise his acclaimed role as the Joker and Conroy will do the same for the Caped Crusader. They will be joined by Tara Strong as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon and Ray Wise as Commissioner Gordon.
The announcement was made on March 14, with Comic Book Resources breaking the news. Rumors have abounded since Bruce Timm announced the adaptation last summer that well-known “TAS” cast members would be joining the project, and Hamill and Conroy have both stated for several years that they would like to be involved if the critically acclaimed comic book was ever to be adapted to the screen.
“The chance to work once again with Kevin Conroy, my favorite Batman, in what some consider the definitive origin of this iconic villain is a dream come true for me,” Hamill told CBR. “I am beyond thrilled to return as The Joker in ‘The Killing Joke.’”
“The Killing Joke” holds an esteemed place for fans of the Batman mythology. Featuring The Joker at his most evil, yet giving him a somewhat sympathetic backstory, it featured graphic violence and controversial events that include the crippling of Barbara Gordon. It also led into the followup, “A Death in the Family” that featured the death of Robin Jason Todd (determined by fan vote). These stories combined completely changed the dynamic of the relationships between the characters of Gotham City. While both the crippling of Batgirl (nee Oracle) and the death of Jason Todd have since been retconned, they are still some of the most important moments in DC Comics history.
The announcement of the casting of Hamill and Conroy will likely be met with gleeful jubilation by long-time fans of the Dark Knight, as their portrayals are easily among the best, if not the best, ever. For more than 20 years the duo have been intrinsic to the success of their respective characters, in several different mediums, including movies, TV shows, and video games. While Strong was not the original Batgirl on the show, she did take on the role during the second incarnation, “The New Batman Adventures” and other media, and has portrayed Harley Quinn in the “Arkham” series as well.
There is no release date yet for the increasingly appealing “The Killing Joke,” but it’s sure to be one of the most anticipated DC Comics films in recent years. A preview is planned for San Diego’s Comic Con International.