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Warner Bros. Open To More R-Rated DC Animated Films

The animated DC film world may be getting darker in the near future. Warner Bros. is reportedly considering a more mature path with R-rated DC cartoons.

DC animation director and producer James Tucker told Comicbook.com that the studio isn't done dabbling in on-the-fringe themes for upcoming animated movies set in the DC universe. Tucker explained that while he can't say for sure what Warner Bros. will decide to do moving forward, he knows the company is open to additional adult-rated DC animated movies.

"It's hard to say," Tucker said. "I will say this: that they have said that if the content merits the R [rating], they'll look into it. They're open to it, which was not something that was a part of the landscape until recently."

He also mentioned the merits that come with producing an R-rated film, particularly the flexibility in portraying certain plot lines on screen. Tucker said that he enjoys having the option of an R-rating "because there [are] certain things that you just can't do without being a little edgy, without being a little more violent."

DC's canon of animated movies has recently introduced a pair of R-rated picks with Batman: The Killing Joke, an offbeat adaptation of the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, and Justice League Dark, which features characters created by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin. The former was the very first R-rated animted feature for Warner Bros. Both flicks were stamped with the adult rating due to violence, language, and mature themes.

But, according to Justice League Dark director Jay Oliva, the aim for all DC animated movies is a PG-13 rating, not an R. Because of this, when the studios do make R-rated movies, they are given much more freedom to dive into gore and grit.

"When we make these films, our goal is always a PG-13, so there's certain things that we know we can get away with and things that we can't; we can't do beheadings and we can't do arterial blood spray or anything like that," Oliva said. "I'm just trying to tell the best story that I can, and from there, we edit some things out, or we try to hide things. Instead of showing a beheading, we'll cut to the shadow on the wall as you see the beheading in the shadow, but you don't actually see it."

Oliva also explained that the first R-rated DC animated film set a precedent for his film to nab the rating. "The Killing Joke was kind of a godsend in the sense of... its success and because Home Video took a chance of releasing it as an R, it paved the way for [Justice League Dark]," Oliva explained. And now, it certainly seems Justice League Dark will influence plenty of other R-rated movies from the studio.

While we wait to see what R-rated flicks DC and Warner Bros. drum up next, check out the DC Comics movies they'll never be allowed to make.