In many fans opinions, you can keep your Christian Bale and Heath Ledger (even though he won an Oscar for it), there is only one true Batman and The Joker and that’s Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill!  These two voiced these legendary characters on the long-running ‘Batman: The Animated Series’, which was in many folks’ opinion was the definitive take on the mythos, without compromising the signature comic book elements for mainstream audiences (or for budgetary reasons).  Now, the Dynamic Duo are reprising their voice roles for the upcoming animated adaptation of one of Batman’s (and The Joker’s) most defining comic book stories, ‘The Killing Joke’.

In a statement, Hamill exclaimed:

“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.  I am beyond thrilled to return as The Joker in ‘The Killing Joke!'”

Echoing the love, Conroy announced:

“I’ve had the great privilege of voicing Batman for more than two decades, and some of my favorite moments in the recording booth have been alongside Mark Hamill.  Mark always enables me to be a better actor. I’m thrilled that we’re both back to bring these characters to life in one of the most heralded Batman/Joker stories of all time.”

joker-vs-batman-animated-seriesPublished in 1988, ‘The Killing Joke’ was a stand-alone graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland which depicted what may have been the closest thing we’ll ever get to a definitive origin for the enigmatic Clown Prince of Crime.  The story is also infamous for being the story in which Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, was paralyzed and had to give up her superhero career.  (Of course she went on to even greater achievements as Oracle.)

Speaking of Batgirl, Tara Strong, who voiced the character on ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ will reprise her role in this film.  She is a very in-demand voice actor and most recently voiced Batgirl in the ‘Super Best Friends Forever’ shorts which aired on the Cartoon Network.

Joining them will be esteemed character actor Ray Wise (‘Agent Carter’, ‘Twin Peaks’, ‘Reaper’) as her father, Commissioner James Gordon.

Though ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ was aimed at kids, it was far from dumbed-down.  Even so, both Conroy and Hamill went decidedly dark, first in the theatrical release ‘Batman: Mask of the Phantasm’ and in the even darker direct-to-DVD film ‘Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker’.

Both Conroy and Hamill have reprised their famous roles in various projects, as well as providing other DC superhero roles, but this will be the first animated project to feature them both since ‘Justice League’ which ended in 2006.

As a bonus, Hamill tweeted the first image of Batman and The Joker from the upcoming animated movie:

‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ will be directed by Sam Liu (‘Batman: Year One’, ‘Beware The Batman’) and will premiere this summer at SDCC and will arrive in stores shortly thereafter.

Sources: Comic Book Resources, Comic Book Movie