Adaptations of Catwoman in other media
Created byBob Kane
Bill Finger
Original sourceComics published by DC Comics
First appearanceBatman #1 (1940)
Films and television
Film(s)Batman (1966)
Batman Returns (1992)
Catwoman (2004)
Batman: Year One (2011)
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Part 2 (2013)
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016)
The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Batman vs. Two-Face (2017)
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2018)
Batman Ninja (2018)
Batman: Hush (2019)
The Batman (2022)
Television
show(s)
Batman (1966)
Batman: The Animated Series (1992)
Batman Beyond (pictures)
The New Batman Adventures (1997)
The Batman (2004)
Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008)
Gotham (2014)

Catwoman is a fictional character first appearing in Batman #1. After her debut she would appear in many forms of media appearing in the Batman TV series and its film adaption, Batman Returns, the critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, the critically panned film Catwoman, the critical and financial hit film The Dark Knight Rises, the upcoming 2022 film The Batman, and the popular Batman: Arkham series, among others.

She has been portrayed by Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, Eartha Kitt, Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, Anne Hathaway, Camren Bicondova, Lili Simmons and Zoë Kravitz, and has been voiced by Adrienne Barbeau, Grey DeLisle, and numerous others.

Television

Live-action

Batman (1966–1968)

Julie Newmar as Catwoman in the first and second seasons (1966-1967) of the Batman TV series.
Julie Newmar as Catwoman in the first and second seasons (1966-1967) of the Batman TV series.

Catwoman in the 1966 live-action television series Batman is portrayed by Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt. Newmar portrayed Catwoman in the first and second season, and Kitt portrayed her in the third season. The feature film credits Lee Meriwether as both Catwoman and Miss Kitka. [1] All three Catwoman incarnations are described by comic writer, Marc Andreyko, in an afterword to a Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77 omnibus, as being akin to a "Darrin-in-Bewitched bit of silent recasting" and his colleague, co-writer Jeff Parker, liked how their story "leaves no one out and the readers got it immediately", thus reflecting how the change of actress was never specifically addressed. [2] In the TV series, Catwoman was given neither a background nor an alter ego, but focused instead on her costumed aspects. The costume created for the series was similar to the green catsuit appearing in the comics at the time, though it was constructed by Newmar from black Lurex fabric. One of these costumes tailored for Newmar is part of the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.[3]

Due to other commitments, Newmar was unavailable for the tie-in film produced after the first season, and for the series' third season.[4] An uncredited Caucasian body double played the role in a cameo in "The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra", the series' penultimate episode.

Birds of Prey

The 2002 television series Birds of Prey included an adaptation of the Silver Age Huntress as one of its main characters. Catwoman was also adapted for the series as she is an integral component of the back story for Huntress. That adaptation was limited to the alter ego, a costume design similar to the one used in the 1992 film Batman Returns, and adding the aspect of the character being a "metahuman". Catwoman was portrayed by Casey Elizabeth Easlick. She was uncredited and her appearances were limited to a flashback of her death which was edited into the series title sequence and the rare in-episode flashback.

Gotham

Further information: Selina Kyle (Gotham character)

Camren Bicondova portrays a younger Selina Kyle, an orphaned teenager living on the streets of Gotham City who goes by the nickname "Cat", on the 2014 TV series Gotham.
Camren Bicondova portrays a younger Selina Kyle, an orphaned teenager living on the streets of Gotham City who goes by the nickname "Cat", on the 2014 TV series Gotham.

Selina Kyle is featured in the TV series Gotham, with her younger version portrayed by Camren Bicondova,[5] while the adult version of the character is portrayed by Lili Simmons.[6] Selina Kyle is initially depicted as a 13-year-old thief and orphan who lives on the streets of Gotham City. In the series' pilot episode, she witnesses the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne.[7] She forms a tenuous alliance with GCPD Detective Jim Gordon after he saves her from kidnappers working for the Dollmaker.[8] She promises to help him solve the Wayne murders if he helps her get out of trouble with the law. Gordon arranges for her to stay at Wayne Manor, where she befriends the young Bruce Wayne.[9] She saves him from a gang of hired killers and gives him his first kiss.[10] Throughout the rest of the series, Selina overcomes her insecurities and develops a love-hate relationship with Bruce while helping him keep order in Gotham City, despite often butting heads with him due to her moral ambiguity.

Bicondova was cast to portray the teenaged Selina, assuming she was auditioning for a random role named "Lucy" and not finding out what the real role was until after she was selected. While she takes inspiration from previous Catwoman actresses Michelle Pfeiffer, Anne Hathaway and others, Bicondova wanted to portray a side of Selina Kyle not seen before, focusing on her past.[11][5] As the series finale jumps ten years into the future from the rest of the series, Bicondova did not feel comfortable portraying her character as an adult, and at her request, an older actress was chosen to portray the adult Selina Kyle.[12][13] Warner Bros. Television cast Lili Simmons in the role, with Simmons and Bicondova collaborating closely on the adult Selina's characterization.[14]

Animated

Super Friends

Catwoman was originally supposed to be featured in the Challenge of the Super Friends season of Super Friends as a member of the Legion of Doom. However, due Filmation's The New Adventures of Batman development at that time, Catwoman was restricted to appear in the show. She was eventually replaced with Cheetah.[15]

Filmation Batman series

Catwoman was first adapted to television animation by Filmation, for the 1968 series The Batman/Superman Hour. The character design and aspects adapted were similar to those used in the previous live-action television series: a focus on the character in costume, lack of a backstory, and use of the then-current green catsuit. Like the live action TV series, Catwoman behaved like many of her villainous counterparts (Joker, Riddler), by speaking in puns and hiring henchmen who wore outfits similar to hers. Jane Webb was cast to provide the voice for the character.

Filmation returned to the character in 1977 for the animated series The New Adventures of Batman, where Melendy Britt was cast to voice the character in four episodes. Again, no backstory or alter ego were presented within the episodes. The yellow and orange costume design used was unique to the series.

DC animated universe

Catwoman, as she appears in Batman: The Animated Series (left) and The New Batman Adventures (right)
Catwoman, as she appears in Batman: The Animated Series (left) and The New Batman Adventures (right)

Catwoman was adapted for Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, set in the same continuity from the DC Animated Universe, voiced by Adrienne Barbeau.[16] A spin-off focused on the character was in production before being cancelled; it was reconsidered years later as a dual spin-off also focused on Nightwing.[17]

The character design for Batman: The Animated Series is a long-haired blonde look (based on Michelle Pfeiffer's appearance) when Selina is not wearing her costume, and the costume itself is a predominately gray catsuit based on the costume used in Batman Returns as well, with long black gloves and high-heeled boots. Along with a black portion of the mask, this gives the appearance of a seal-point Siamese cat.

When The New Batman Adventures went into development, Catwoman's redesign resulted in an all-black catsuit, blue-white face make-up and short black hair. The first series establishes Catwoman as a socialite and animal rights activist in addition to a costumed thief in the early appearances. Beyond this, no backstory or actual origin is provided within the series. The series does play somewhat on the relation between Batman and Catwoman. She had a crush on Batman, but tried to keep her distance between her and Bruce Wayne, even though they dated.

Catwoman also appears in the short featurette "Chase Me".

In Batman Beyond, Catwoman does not appear as her ultimate fate after her last appearance in "Chase Me" remains completely unknown. However, she was mentioned by Bruce at the end of the episode "Dead Man's Hand". After the release of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, a second movie with an elderly Catwoman as a main character was planned by Bruce Timm, but was finally scrapped.[18] However, in Justice League Unlimited's episode "Epilogue", it was revealed that Selina eventually reformed and became an ally of Batman, though she eventually left him prior to his retirement from crime-fighting much like his other partners.

The Batman

Catwoman, as seen in The Batman.
Catwoman, as seen in The Batman.

Catwoman was adapted along with a number of other Batman related characters for the 2004 animated series The Batman, voiced by Gina Gershon. The character design used was based loosely on the then-current costume used in the comic books. This resulted in a black/dark grey catsuit with a pull-up collar mask, dark red, claw-tipped gloves, a black cowl with exaggerated cat ears, and large amber goggles. She also has blue eyes instead of Green. The initial episode featuring Catwoman establishes her as working as a charity fund raiser in her identity of Selina Kyle. With the majority of her remaining appearances focusing on her activities only as Catwoman, an origin for the character is never provided.

Batman Black and White

Catwoman appears in the Batman Black and White motion comics, voiced by Janyse Jaud.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Catwoman was among the many DC Comics characters adapted for the 2008 animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Nika Futterman. Keeping with the tone of the show, the character design used for most of her appearances was drawn from the 1950s through mid-1960s and again from the late 1970 to the mid-1980s. This outfit is the purple long sleeved dress with green cloak and purple headdress/mask with cat-ears.

DC Nation

Catwoman appeared in the Batman of Shanghai shorts on the DC Nation block, voiced by Stephanie Sheh. In a departure from the comics, she was portrayed as a Chinese thief active in Shanghai during the 1930s.

DC Super Hero Girls

Catwoman appears in the web series DC Super Hero Girls as a student at Super Hero High, voiced by Cristina Pucelli.

DC Super Hero Girls

Catwoman appears in the 2019 animated series DC Super Hero Girls, voiced by Cree Summer impersonating the late Eartha Kitt.

Harley Quinn

Catwoman appears in the DC Universe animated series Harley Quinn, voiced by Sanaa Lathan. This incarnation of Catwoman is of African American descent and is said to be the "best burglar in all of Gotham." Introduced in the season two episode, "Trapped", she is recruited by the titular character and Poison Ivy to help them steal Firefly's flamethrower from Doctor Trap's booby-trapped museum. Though she effortlessly makes it through said museum and robs several treasures, Catwoman betrays them and leaves them to die. Despite this, she and Ivy appear to remain on good terms, as Catwoman later attended her bachelorette party in the episode "Bachelorette". In the season two finale, "The Runaway Bridesmaid", Catwoman attends Ivy's wedding as a bridesmaid and with Tim Burton as her date.

Film

Live action

Crew Film
Batman
(1966)
Batman Returns
(1992)
Catwoman
(2004)
The Dark Knight Rises
(2012)
The Batman
(2022)
Catwoman portrayer Lee Meriwether Michelle Pfeiffer Halle Berry Anne Hathaway Zoë Kravitz
Director Leslie H. Martinson Tim Burton Pitof Christopher Nolan Matt Reeves
Producer William Dozier Denise Di Novi
Tim Burton
Denise Di Novi
Edward L. McDonnell
Emma Thomas
Christopher Nolan
Charles Roven
Matt Reeves
Dylan Clark
Writer Lorenzo Semple Jr. Screenplay by: Daniel Waters
Story by: Daniel Waters and Sam Hamm
Screenplay by: John Brancato & Michael Ferris and John Rogers
Story by: Theresa Rebeck, John Brancato and Michael Ferris
Screenplay by: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan
Story by: Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer
Screenplay by: Matt Reeves and Mattson Tomlin
Story by: Matt Reeves
Composer Nelson Riddle Danny Elfman Klaus Badelt Hans Zimmer Michael Giacchino
Cinematography Howard Schwartz Stefan Czapsky Thierry Arbogast Wally Pfister Greig Fraser
Editor Harry Gerstad Chris Lebenzon Sylvie Landra Lee Smith William Hoy
Production Companies William Dozier Productions
Greenlawn Productions
Warner Bros.
PolyGram Films
Village Roadshow Pictures
Di Novi Pictures
Legendary Pictures
Syncopy Films
DC Films
6th and Idaho Productions
Distributor 20th Century Fox Warner Bros. Pictures
Released July 30, 1966 June 19, 1992 July 23, 2004 July 20, 2012 March 4, 2022
Runtime 104 minutes 126 minutes 104 minutes 165 minutes TBA

Batman (1966)

Lee Meriwether portrayed the first feature film version of Catwoman in the 1966 film Batman
Lee Meriwether portrayed the first feature film version of Catwoman in the 1966 film Batman

The first feature film to include an adaptation of Catwoman was Batman, produced immediately after production of the first season of the 1966 television series of the same name. When the producers realized that Julie Newmar would be unavailable due to prior commitments, they cast Lee Meriwether to portray the character.[4]

Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt, a television film which aired in 2003, was a semi-documentary of the production of the 1966 television series and film. It featured dramatizations one of which included Julia Rose portraying a young Julie Newmar on set in character as Catwoman. Newmar and Meriwether also appeared in the film.[19][20]

Batman Returns (1992)

Main article: Catwoman (Batman Returns)

Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed Catwoman in Batman Returns.
Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed Catwoman in Batman Returns.

Catwoman is portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer in the 1992 feature film Batman Returns. Re-created by Daniel Waters, the character is based on the Selina Kyle from "Catwoman: Her Sister's Keeper". Annette Bening was originally cast in the role but dropped out due to pregnancy.[21] Other actresses including Nicole Kidman, Madonna, Jennifer Beals, Lorraine Bracco and Demi Moore were all linked to the role, and actress Sean Young campaigned heavily to get it (even turning up to Warner Bros. Studios in a homemade Catwoman suit). When it was suggested to Tim Burton that Michelle Pfeiffer was interested, something clicked to the producers thinking "She's perfect. She also could be both Selina Kyle and Catwoman."[22]

This version of Selina Kyle is depicted as a mousy, lonely and frustrated secretary of corrupt tycoon Max Shreck. After Selina accidentally discovers Shreck's plot to build a power plant that would steal Gotham's electricity, Shreck attempts to murder her by pushing her out the window of his top-story office. She survives the fall and is mysteriously revived by a group of alley cats that flock around her and begin gnawing at her fingers. When she returns home, she suffers a psychotic breakdown and becomes Catwoman. As part of her larger plan to destroy Shreck, she allies herself with the Penguin, which attracts Batman's attention. Meanwhile, she begins a relationship with Bruce Wayne, at first not knowing that he is Batman. It's when she unknowingly helps Penguin frame Batman for a murder that her conscience resurfaces, with her quest for revenge gradually destroying her. At the climax of the film, Catwoman tries to kill Shreck. Although Shreck shoots her several times, he fails to kill her. She then kills Shreck by kissing him with a taser in her mouth while holding onto an exposed power cable. An explosion ensues, but afterwards, Batman finds only Shreck's charred corpse; Catwoman is not present. As the Bat-signal later shines in the night sky, a figure wearing Catwoman's outfit watches it from afar, suggesting that she has survived.

The film's interpretation of Catwoman derives heavily from the Pre-Crisis version of the character.[23]

Prior to the announcement Michael Keaton will be reprising his role as Batman in the upcoming The Flash set in the DC Extended Universe [24] , Pfeiffer previously stated a willingness and enthusiasm to reprise her own role as Catwoman.[25][26]

Batman Forever (1995)

While Catwoman did not return in Batman Forever, she was referenced by Dr. Chase Meridian when she tells Batman: "You like strong women. I've done my homework. Or do I need skin-tight vinyl and a whip?".

Aborted spin-off

Burton had no interest in returning to direct a sequel of Batman Returns, but was credited as producer.[27] With Warner Bros. moving on development for Batman Forever in June 1993, a Catwoman spin-off was announced. Michelle Pfeiffer was to reprise her role, with the character not to appear in Forever because of her own spin-off.[28]

Burton became attached as director, while producer Denise Di Novi and writer Daniel Waters also returned.[29] In January 1994, Burton was unsure of his plans to direct Catwoman or an adaptation of "The Fall of the House of Usher".[30] On June 16, 1995, Waters turned in his Catwoman script to Warner Bros., the same day that Batman Forever was released. Burton was still being courted to direct. Waters joked, "Turning it in the day Batman Forever opened may not have been my best logistical move, in that it's the celebration of the fun-for-the-whole-family Batman. Catwoman is definitely not a fun-for-the-whole-family script."[31] In an August 1995 interview, Pfeiffer re-iterated her interest in the spin-off, but explained her priorities would be challenged as a mother and commitments to other projects.[32] The film labored in development hell for years, with Pfeiffer replaced by Ashley Judd. The film ended up becoming the critically panned Catwoman (2004), starring Halle Berry.[33][34]

Aborted Batman reboot

In 2000, Warner Bros. commissioned Darren Aronofsky for an adaptation of Batman: Year One to reboot the Batman franchise. The script featured an African-American Selina Kyle/Catwoman in a prominent role.[35]

Catwoman (2004)

Patience Phillips was Catwoman but not Selina Kyle of the DC Universe in the 2004 film Catwoman.
Patience Phillips was Catwoman but not Selina Kyle of the DC Universe in the 2004 film Catwoman.

In 2004, the feature film Catwoman was released. Starring Halle Berry, this film's Catwoman bears little resemblance to the comic book version. Berry portrays Patience Phillips, an artist and graphics designer who works for a cosmetics company called Hedare Beauty, which is ready to ship a new skin cream called Beau-Line that is able to reverse the effects of aging. However, as Patience visits the factory where it is being manufactured, she learns that the product has deadly side-effects. Laurel Hedare (Sharon Stone), the wife of the company's CEO, orders her killed. Hedare's minions drown her, but she is mysteriously brought back to life by Midnight, an Egyptian Mau cat, and from that point on develops cat-like abilities. A researcher named Ophelia Powers (Frances Conroy) tells Patience that Egyptian Mau cats serve as messengers of the goddess Bast, suggesting that Patience has been granted supernatural powers. Wearing a mask to disguise her identity, Patience stalks the night as Catwoman seeking revenge against her murderers. Eventually, her search leads her to Hedare, who murders her husband and frames her for it. In the film's climactic fight scene between Hedare and Catwoman, Hedare falls to her death. Patience is cleared of murder charges, and decides to become Catwoman permanently.

The movie alludes to other women who have been granted such cat-like abilities, particularly in a scene in which Patience is introduced to a series of photos of prior Catwomen, including Pfeiffer's Batman Returns version of Selina Kyle.

The film's story has nothing to do with the Batman universe, and is considered "Catwoman in name only". It was poorly received by critics and audiences, and is commonly listed as one of the worst films ever made.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Jewel thief Selina Kyle disguised as her alter ego Catwoman in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises.
Jewel thief Selina Kyle disguised as her alter ego Catwoman in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises.

Selina Kyle is portrayed by Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises.[36][37] Entertainment Weekly describes this version as an enigma, a wily and witty con artist, as well as a high society grifter. She is depicted as a femme fatale antiheroine whose actions often blur ethical lines, similar to her portrayal in the comics. Certain actresses considered for the role of Selina Kyle included Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, Kate Mara, Gemma Arterton, Blake Lively and music superstar Lady Gaga.

In the film, Selina Kyle is hired by corrupt businessman John Daggett to steal Bruce Wayne's fingerprints; Daggett in exchange promises to expunge her criminal record with a "Clean Slate" computer program. Bane subsequently uses Bruce's prints to attack Gotham City's stock exchange and bankrupt Bruce with bogus stock trades. She also steals the pearl necklace belonging to Bruce's deceased mother and takes a congressman hostage. After Daggett betrays her, Selina leads Batman to Bane's trap without realizing that Batman and Bruce are the same person. She attempts to flee Gotham, fearing that Bane's terrorist group will eventually kill her. John Blake arrests her for kidnapping and takes her to Blackgate Prison to await trial. She is subsequently "released" when Bane takes control of Gotham. When Batman returns to Gotham and offers her the "Clean Slate", she aids the Dark Knight in liberating Gotham City from Bane's chaos. With Selina's help, Batman rescues Lucius Fox. Using the Batpod, Selina destroys the blockade at the tunnel leading out of Gotham. During the battle, Selina kills Bane with the Batpod's grenade launcher and helps Batman destroy Talia al Ghul's convoy. At the end of the movie, Bruce leaves the Batman mantle behind and enters a relationship with Selina. She is never referred to as "Catwoman" in the film, although she does receive the moniker in related The Dark Knight Rises collectibles and books. Instead, emphasis is made upon her profession as a "cat" burglar in headlines shown in the film; also, her safecracking goggles resemble cat ears when not in use.

Gotham City Sirens

Catwoman is set to appear in Gotham City Sirens with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, but the film's production has stopped for the moment.[38][39]

The Batman (2022)

In October 2019, Zoë Kravitz was cast to reprise her role as Catwoman in the 2022 film The Batman.[40][41] Zazie Beetz, Alicia Vikander, Ana de Armas, Ella Balinska and Eiza González also auditioned for the role.

Animated

Video games

Lego

Batman: Arkham

Further information: Batman: Arkham

The character is voiced by Grey DeLisle, where this version has a range of different animations and abilities.

Catwoman in a promotional image for Batman: Arkham Knight
Catwoman in a promotional image for Batman: Arkham Knight

Injustice

Batman: The Telltale Series

Catwoman appears in Telltale Games' Batman series, voiced by Laura Bailey.[50] Like the modern interpretations of the character, she serves as an anti-hero and occasional ally of Batman.

Other games

Radio

Fine Arts

Starting with the Pop Art period and on a continuing basis, since the 1960s the character of Catwoman has been "appropriated" by multiple visual artists and incorporated into contemporary artwork, most notably by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Mel Ramos, Dulce Pinzon, F. Lennox Campello, and others.[54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61]

References

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