FEATURE: Five Ideas for R-Rated Animated DC Movies

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For a while, DC’s original animated movies were all either PG or PG-13. However, that changed last year with the release of Batman: The Killing Joke, an R-rated adaptation of the iconic graphic novel. The following movie, Justice League Dark, was also rated R, while a Watchmen adaptation is said to be in the works.

These recent efforts have shown that DC now has free reign to tell more adult-oriented stories in animation – if it fits the story of course. Naturally, fans may speculate on what the next R-rated movie(s) from DC is coming. Below, we’ve compiled a list of five possible ideas.

Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters
“The Longbow Hunters” was one of DC’s adult-oriented comics from the 1980s. It was a darker storyline for Green Arrow; it had a lot of violence, nudity, and a more grounded plot starring the Emerald Archer. Most other Green Arrow stories aren’t this mature, and while TV’s Arrow has dealt with some darker elements, it’s still held back by being on The CW. So, why not an animated movie?
Green Arrow has yet to star in an animated DC film, and “The Longbow Hunters” would be a good debut. Embracing the mature elements of the comic would set it apart from DC’s other movies, while it can introduce non-comic readers to the darker side of the Green Arrow mythos that won’t be seen on television or even the big screen. Whether this is set in the DC Animated Movie Universe or its own continuity, “Longbow Hunters” would be a great movie.

Hellblazer
The DCAMU introduced John Constantine in the Justice League Dark movie, which again boasted an R rating. Following that film’s success, maybe Matt Ryan’s Hellblazer Constantine can be spun off into his own film. And perhaps that movie could be rated R.

Like “The Longbow Hunters,” the Hellblazer comic from DC/Vertigo was slapped with a “Suggested for Mature Readers” label, while the character’s last cinematic outing, 2005’s Constantine, was rated R. So, it would make sense to produce another Constantine film aimed at an older audience. A new movie starring John Constantine would heavily explore the supernatural side of the DCU, and it would fully embrace the horror roots of the comic without limitations.

Before Watchmen
As said earlier, Warner Bros. is apparently developing an animated Watchmen movie. Few details are known, but it is expected to be another faithful adaptation of the comic. This is coming as the Watchmen brand is gaining a revival, with an HBO series in development and Dr. Manhattan in the main DC Universe in the comics. If the animated film is a success, then maybe DC can continue with a prequel.
In 2012, DC published a series of comic book titles named “Before Watchmen.” Each of the eight limited series and one-shot focused on a single character from Watchmen, set before the events of the original comic. It wouldn’t be surprising if DC adapted this material some day, whether in a new live action film or in animation. And again, it would help expand the Watchmen franchise’s brand.

Suicide Squad
The Suicide Squad took the spotlight of 2014’s Batman: Assault on Arkham, which was rated PG-13. The team will make their DCAMU debut in next year’s Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay. Few details, including the rating, for that film are known. But regardless of the rating for that particular movie, an R-rated Suicide Squad title would be ideal.
The characters in the Suicide Squad would fit well into more mature storylines. I mean, their name is the Suicide Squad, for Pete’s sake. It would be great to see a grittier, more adult-oriented storyline surrounding these characters. And with the success of the movie last year, DC is inevitably going to do a lot more with these characters.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
And finally, we have one of DC’s most iconic video games. Injustice: Gods Among Us introduced us to an alternative world in the DC Multiverse, where Joker manipulates Superman into killing Lois Lane and Metropolis. This causes Superman to go rogue, kill Joker, and essentially become a dictatorship. Pretty dark stuff. This leads to a war between heroes, with Batman leading the insurgency against Superman’s regime.
It would be great to see an animated Injustice movie, especially if it is rated R. While the video games and comics have been teen-friendly, making an R-rated movie would allow it to really explore the darker elements of this story. It would also make it very clear that this universe is very different from the mainstream DCU. An animated movie can explore the first game, the second game, and/or the tie-in comics. There’s a lot of story to tell in one movie, if not several.
Honorable Mentions: Lobo, Deadshot, Deathstroke, Superman: Red Son, Harley Quinn

Which animated R-rated films do you want to see from DC?

Paul Romano

Editor-In-Chief at WOBAM! Entertainment
Founder and EIC of WOBAM! Entertainment. Christian. Student. Watcher of movies and TV, reader of comics, all that good stuff.

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Founder and EIC of WOBAM! Entertainment. Christian. Student. Watcher of movies and TV, reader of comics, all that good stuff.