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"I am Catwoman. Hear me roar."

Catwoman was a bandit and vigilante operating in Gotham City. Initially the lonely and fustrated secretary of the cooperate mogul Max Shreck, Selina Kyle was pushed over the edge after her boss tried to kill her to cover up his corrupt business plans. Fashioning herself as the fierce bandit, she worked to take revenge on her boss. During these, Catwoman came into contact with the vigilante Batman, with whom she developed a love/hate relationship.


Early Life

Prior to her life of crime, Selina Kyle worked as a secretary for the powerful and ruthless Max Shreck, the owner of a business empire and the department store Shreck's. Despite being her role, Selina fancied herself as more as an executive assistant since she helped out in more ways than the others seemed to appreciate, something which Shreck himself also seemed to acknowledge. Residing in a a lush appartment, she lived with a black cat named Miss Kitty and fed many of the local starys. She also seemed to have a strained relationship with her mother and in a relationship with an unnamed man.

Batman Returns

Lighting of the Tree Ceremony

Selina Kyle, before she became Catwoman.

During Gotham's Christmas celebrations after the Joker's defeat, Selina attended the meeting between Shrek and Roscoe Jenkins on his proposal for a new powerplant. During it, she tried to offer advice, though they dismissed nonchalantly. As they left to attend the Lighting of the Christmas Tree Ceremony, Selina remained behind to clear up. During it, she found that Shreck had forgotten his speech and decided to take it to him.

As she left, Selina found herself in the midst of an attack by the Red Triangle Gang. After Batman arrived on the scene, she herself was taken hostage by one of the clowns. When the Dark Knight took notice, he rescued Selina by grappling onto the wall behind them and pulling a chunk of wall into the clown, knocking him out. Selina instantly became fascinated with Batman, who took his leave to help bring the situation under control. After he left, Selina took her defeated clown captor's taser, planning to use it as a self-defense weapon in the future.

Discovering Shreck's Secret

Returning to her apartment, Selina began to prepare herself, Miss Kitty and the local cats dinner, during which she listened to unpleasant messages on her answering machine. The first from her mother, who expressed disappointment that she was not going home for Christmas, whilst the second from her boyfriend, who decided to spend holiday on his own on apparent advice from his psychologist. The third was from herself as a reminder to prepare documents for Shreck’s meeting with Bruce Wayne. Having completely forgotten, Selina returned to Shreck's to prepare it.

As she went through the files, Selina inadvertently discovered the plans for Shreck’s proposed power plant. Reading further, she discovered that it would drain power from Gotham City rather than create it, allowing the Shreck family to store it and effectively bring the city under their control. Shreck, having also returned to the office, found Selina reading the information, leading her to confront him on the proposals. As Shreck revealed his motives, she tried to convince him she would not let it slip. However, Shreck, after briefly teasing her to his intetions, pushed Selina out of the window in order to silence her.

Becoming Catwoman

Selina as Catwoman.

Falling through several of the building's awnings, Selina miracualously survived what would have been the otherwise fatal fall, though was knocked unconscious with only a mild concussion. As she lay in the alleyway, the cats she'd fed began to swarm and lick her, apparently riving her.

Though dazed, Selina returned home and began listening to messages on her answering machine again. After listening to an advertisement from Shreck's, she finally let of and suffered a mental breakdown, during which she ransacked the apartment and destroyed her possessions. Believing herself to be a new person, Selina used her sewing equipment to create a homemade cat costume. With this, she took on the identity Catwoman and began planning her revenge on Shreck.

Several nights later, Catwoman happened on a mugger who attacked and attempted to rape a helpless woman. Making her presence known to them, she brutally beat a mugger, carving his face with her claws. As the would-be victim attempted to thank her, Selina refused and chastised the woman for being unable to defend herself, leaving the scene before authorities arrived.

The next day, Selina returned to Shreck's covered in bandages but sporting a more assertive attitude. Interrupting Max's meeting with Bruce Wayne, she shocked him with her miraculous survival, though feigned amnesia to put him at ease. Selina also talked with Bruce, instantly developing a mutual attraction with him. As Shreck regained his composure, she followed his orders to show Wayne out, during which they conversed about her role at Shreck's.

Ransacking Shreck's and Fighting Batman

During an attack on the city by the Red Triangle Gang, Selina decided to seize the opportunity as cover while she ransacked Shreck's. After breaking in as Catwoman, she began ransacking the store with a newly acquired bullwhip, using it to behead the store's maniquines. When confronted by the store's guards, Selina scared them away and rigged the shop's ground floor to explode. As she fled before detonation, Catwoman discovered both Batman and the Penguin waiting outside. When Shreck's exploded, she used the opportunity to flee to the rooftops.

Finding that Batman had given chase, Catwoman confronted him, landing several blows. After he landed a blow, she pretended to surrender before relaunching her attack, knocking him off the rooftop and ensnaring him with her whip. Using the oppotunity to taunt him, Catwoman failed to notice Batman grab a blue corrosive chemical capsule from his utility belt and throw it, catching her arm. Losing her footing, she was rescued by him and pulled to a ledge.

Surprised Batman had rescued her, Catwoman became fascinated with him and began to flirt. However, she took to opportunity find weaknesses in his armor, eventually finding one above his utility belt and stabbing him in the abdomen. In response, Batman knocked her off the rooftop, causing her to fall into a truck transporting sand. Having lost "her second life", Catwoman decided to take vengeance upon the Dark Knight as well.

Alliance with the Penguin

Catwoman teaming up with the Penguin.

The following day, Catwoman tracked the Penguin to his campaign building. Having deduced he was responsible for the attacks, she waited for him in the second floor, where she proposed an alliance between them to take her revenge on Batman. Learning of Penguin's plans to kill Batman by rigging the Batmobile, Catwoman dismissed the plans, reasoning that Gotham would martyr him after death. Instead, she suggested they damaged his reputation and framed as a criminal. Brushing off Penguin's sexual advances, she playfully threatened to eat his canary, though let it go when Penguin threatened Miss Kitty with a hidden blade from his umbrella. Their alliance secured, the two devised a new plan to frame him for kidnapping the Ice Princess and attacking civilians via remote controlling the Batmobile.

Relighting of the Tree Ceremony

Selina kissing Bruce at Wayne Manor.

On the day of the relighting the tree ceremony, Selina encountered Bruce at Gotham Plaza. Walking and talking together, she accepted an invitation for an early dinner at Wayne Manor. Over dinner, Selina and Bruce discussed his personal life, including his previous girlfriend Vicki Vale. After he revealed his difficulty with duality, Selina began to recognize a kindred spirit in him, leading her to kiss him passionately. Eventually drawn away due to their attempts to cover up injuries, they noticed a news report informing them of the Ice Princess's kidnapping at Batman's apparent hands. Moments after Bruce excused himself in order to suit up, Selina also decided to leave to carry out their plan. Leaving instructions with Bruce's bulter Alfred to give an excuse for her abrupt departure, she changed into her costume during her drive into Gotham.

Arriving on the scene at the same time as Batman, Catwoman engaged the Dark Knight in combat. Eventually pulling away, she forcibly dragged the Ice Princess to the building's roof. However, Penguin had engineered their hostage to fall off the building and frame Batman pushed her. After Batman was shot off the rooftop by police, Catwoman approached him and pinned him down. Continuing to flirt with him, she taunted Batman over his failure to save her and the Ice Princess, suggesting that he should retire. When Catwoman attempted to stab him in the same place previously, Batman broke from her grip and revealed he'd prepared. The surprised Catwoman only watched as he fled the scene using a hidden glider.

Penguin's Betrayal

Convening with Penguin on a nearby rooftop, Catwoman watch the chaos in Gotham Square as they drank champagne. Having been misled on his intentions for the Ice Princess, she expressed her dislike of his murder, rejecting his further advancements. Deciding to rid, Penguin tied Catwoman's neck to his Helicopter Umbrella and sent her flying into the skies. Eventually freeing herself, Catwoman dropped into a greenhouse directly across from her apartment window, once again displaying incredible luck. After this, she presumably planned revenge on him next.

During the Penguin's rally, Selina was among the crowds who attended the event. During it, the speakers began playing recorded comments insulting Gotham's citizens, causing them to turn on Cobblepot. Whilst crowds began to boo him, Selina left abruptly, knowing he carried a gun and would likely react violently.

Maxquerade Ball

Selina and Bruce dancing at the "Maxquerade" Ball.

With her alliance with the Penguin shattered, Selina devised a plan to kill Shreck herself at his annual Maxquerade Ball with a concealed gun. During it, she encountered Bruce at the ball and took to the dancefloor. Though he intended to talk about their relationship, Selina revealed her gun and intentions to him. As she began to breakdown, Bruce attempted to calm her. However, after they repeated comments they'd made to each other as Catwoman and Batman, they realized each other's identities. Before they could leave to talk outside, the Penguin attacked, who revealed his plan to murder the firstborn sons of Gotham and took Shreck as a hostage in his son's place.

Killing Shreck at the Old Zoo

Selina, before she killed Shreck at Arctic World.

Whilst Bruce left to save the children from the Red Triangle Gang as Batman, Selina changed into her damaged costume and followed Penguin and Shreck to the former's lair at the Old Zoo. Whilst the latter attempted to escape, Catwoman made her move, throttling him with her whip and dragging him across the enclosure.

Eventually, Batman intervened and attempted to convince her to hand Shreck over to the GCPD. However, she objected on the basis that he'd find a way to convince the no jury would ever convict Shreck. Batman eventually unmasked himself and tried to implore Selina to abandon her vendetta. Though she expressed a desire to share a life with him, Selina refused Bruce's offer, still determined to end it there.

While the pair debated, Shreck drew a pistol and shot Bruce. Defiantly challenging him, Selina, still believing she had nine lives, approached him and "survived" four shots. Eventually cornering him at Penguin's generator with the gun empty, she equipped the taser she'd taken from the terrifying clown and "kissed" him with it, holding a cable from the transformer over their heads. This cause the machine to overload and an explosive chain reaction. Though Shreck died, Selina survived the explosion, leaving only her former boss' charred corpse behind.

On the Prowl

Selina, alive looking at the Batsignal.

In the aftermath of the incident, Selina fixed her costume and began prowling Gotham's streets again. Bruce also began searching the city for her, hoping to find an indication she'd survived. During one of his searches, Catwoman's shadow was noticed in an alleyway. Fleeing before Bruce arrived, Selina left Miss Kitty behind for him to find as an apparent farewell gift. Sometime later, Catwoman observed the Batsignal being lit from the Gotham rooftops, calling Batman on another mission.

Batman '89

Reuniting with Bruce

Though Bruce assumed she'd left the city, Selina actually stayed in Gotham and maintained a low profile. She also claimed she'd been following him from the shadows and monitoring for afar since the incident at the Arctic World. The Catwoman costume also changed to feature less patchwork, integrating longer gloves, boots and a belt into the suit. When copycat criminals dressed as Batman set light to the Royal Autobody, Catwoman attacked and subdued the criminals, scarring their faces with her claws to make tracking them easier. When a disguised Bruce arrive on the scene, she stayed behind to greet him.[1]

Different Fates

"You like strong women. I've done my homework. Or do I need skin-tight vinyl and a whip?"
―Chase Meridian to Batman[src]

According to one account, Catwoman left Gotham, though her exploits became well known. Dr. Chase Meridian also learned of the attraction between her and Batman, later noting that he seemed to like strong women with "skin-tight vinyl and a whip".

Another account suggests that Selina was one of many "Catwomen" to have existed throughout history, having apparently been resurrected by the messengers of Bast. A photograph of her was collected by Ophelia Powers and shown alongside some of her believed-predecessors to Patience Phillips.


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Behind the Scenes

Annette Bening was initially cast as Catwoman, but was forced to drop out due to pregnancy. Jose Fernandez had already sculpted a cowl for Bening, which looked more animalistic, covering her nose and upper lip. When Michelle Pfeiffer was chosen to replace her, it was decided to make a cowl that revealed more of her face. Pfeiffer trained at the Steeleboxer kick boxing gym two hours a day for six months. She also practiced yoga, weight lifting and karate. Additionally she spent three months training with a 12-foot bullwhip.

Nine Lives motif

Catwoman and Batman.

Catwoman displayed incredible luck in her brushes with death, leading her to believe she had nine lives. This is related to a common superstition about cats, due to their apparent swiftness and ability to escape potentially harmful situations. In the course of Batman Returns, Selina lost eight of her "lives" in the following incidents:

  1. When Shreck pushed her out the window (before she became Catwoman).
  2. When Batman knocked her off a building and into a sand truck.
  3. When the Penguin tried to hang her on his umbrella-copter.
  4. When Shreck shot her left shoulder.
  5. When Shreck shot and grazed her right thigh.
  6. When Shreck shot and grazed her left thigh.
  7. When Shreck shot for a fourth time and missed completely.
  8. When she yanked a cable that caused the generator near them to explode, which killed Shreck.


  • Tim Burton was set to direct a Catwoman spin-off film, with Daniel Waters returning as screenwriter. This prevented the character from appearing in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Catwoman's absence the later installments seems consistent with Bruce/Batman's other love interests in the other Anthology films, as they either break up during or after the films' events.
  • Catwoman's costume from the film was replicated for her counterpart from the Birds of Prey TV series, though with notable differences to the cowl. A replica was also worn briefly by Christina Aguilera in the music video for the song "Keeps Gettin' Better".
  • Selina/Catwoman's character arc is strikingly similar to that of Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy from Batman & Robin. Both are glasses-clad women who get involved in an argument with their abusive bosses, who then attempt to kill them, but they somehow survive, trash their living area or working area, and exact revenge on their killers (the main difference being the fact that Kyle's boss is killed much later than Isley's).
  • In the scrapped third Schumacher film entitled Batman Unchained, Catwoman reappeared as a hallucination induced by Scarecrow's Fear Gas. Pfeiffer was expected to reprise her role from the film.
  • Pfeiffer's Catwoman is mentioned in a deleted scene for the Arrowverse crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths. The scene in question showed an article that claims that she'd become a socialite and become engaged to Bruce. This briefly appears in trailers for the crossover.
  • Pfeiffer also expressed interest in returning to the role after the official announcement of Michael Keaton's return as Batman in The Flash.



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