Catwoman in other media

Adaptations of Catwoman in other media
Created by Bob Kane
Bill Finger
Original source Comics published by DC Comics
First appearance Batman #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 (1966)
Batman: The Animated Series (1992)
The New Batman Adventures (1997)
The Batman (2004)
Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008)

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 Catwoman, the hit film The Dark Knight Rises and the popular Batman: Arkham series just to name a few.

She has been portrayed by Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, Eartha Kitt, Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, Anne Hathaway and Camren Bicondova and has been voiced by Adrienne Barbeau, Grey DeLisle and Laura Bailey.

Television (live-action)

Batman (1966–1968)

Julie Newmar as Catwoman in the 1966 TV series.

Catwoman in the 1966 live action television series Batman is portrayed by Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt.[1] Newmar portrayed Catwoman in the first and second season, and Kitt portrayed Catwoman in the third season. This version of the character 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.[2]

Due to other commitments, Newmar was unavailable for the tie-in film produced after the first season, and for the series' third season.[3] The producers cast Meriwether[4] for the film and Kitt[5] for the third season. 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 actress Maggie Baird 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.


A younger version of Selina Kyle is featured in the TV series Gotham, portrayed by Camren Bicondova.[6] Selina Kyle is depicted as a 14-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 Gotham City Police Department 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] She also helps Bruce find Reggie Payne, the man who stabbed Bruce's butler Alfred Pennyworth. She pushes Payne out of a window to prevent him from telling the people who hired him that she and Bruce are onto them.[11] In the season finale, "All Happy Families are Alike", Selina meets mobster Fish Mooney upon her return to Gotham City and joins her gang. She disappears during a skirmish between Mooney and Maroni's forces.[12]

In the show's second season, she is working for Oswald Cobblepot.[13] She also helps a young Firefly take revenge on a gang of sex traffickers,[14] and tries to protect Bruce from corrupt billionaire Theo Galavan and his niece, Silver St. Cloud. She teams up with Gordon and Cobblepot to save Bruce when he is kidnapped by the Sacred Order of Saint Dumas.[15] She then briefly takes him to live with her on the streets so he can learn firsthand how criminals operate.[16] She volunteers to help Bruce find out what Hugo Strange is up to at Indian Hill, a secret laboratory in the bowels of Arkham Asylum, but once inside she finds herself threatened by Firefly and Mr. Freeze. Firefly ultimately decides to defend Selina, however, and incapacitates Strange. Selina then offers to help Bruce investigate the secret society behind his parents' murder.[17]

Television (animated)

Filmation 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 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.[18] A spin-off focused on the character was in production before being cancelled, and was reconsidered years later as a dual spin-off also focused on Nightwing.[19]

The character design for Batman: The Animated Series was as a long-haired blonde look (based on Michelle Pfeiffer's appearance) when Selina wasn't wearing her costume, and the costume itself was a predominately gray catsuit based on the costume used in Batman Returns as well, and with long black gloves and high-heeled boots.

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.

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

In Batman Beyond, Catwoman doesn't 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 ancient Catwoman as a main character was planned by Bruce Timm, but was finally scrapped.[20] However, in Justice League Unlimited's episode "Epilogue", it was revealed that Seline eventually reformed and became an ally of Batman.

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. The initial episode featuring Catwoman establishes her as working as a charity fund raiser in her identity of Selina Kyle. With the remaining appearances focusing on her activities only as Catwoman, an origin for the character is never provided.

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 being 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.

Film (live-action)

Batman (1966)

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.[3]

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.[21][22]

Batman Returns (1992)

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.[23] 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."[24]

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 Schreck, 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. 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 only finds Shreck's charred corpse with Catwoman nowhere to be found. As the Bat-signal later shines in the night sky, a figure wearing Catwoman's outfit watches it from afar, suggesting that she survived.

Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman derives heavily from the Pre-Crisis version of the character.[25]

Catwoman (2004)

Halle Berry as Catwoman / Patience Phillips in 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)

Selina Kyle is portrayed by Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises.[26][27] 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.

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. She is arrested by John Blake 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 and others 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.

Film (animated)

Video games

Lego Batman series

Arkham series

Further information: Batman: Arkham

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

Catwoman in a promotional image for Batman: Arkham Knight




  1. Based on the credits of the episodes featuring Julie Newmar's appearances since they list her specifically as the actor playing the role of Catwoman.
  2. Moore, Booth (January 24, 2011). "Catching up with the original Catwoman, Julie Newmar". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  3. 1 2 Smith, Ronald L. (2004). "Julie Newmar: The Very Last How to Book - Biography". Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. Retrieved June 22, 2007.
  4. Based on the credits of the film which list Lee Meriwether specifically as the actor playing the role of Catwoman.
  5. Based on the credits of the third season episodes featuring Eartha Kitt's appearances since they list her specifically as the actor playing the role of Catwoman.
  6. Bricken, Rob (February 25, 2014). "What We Learned from the Script for Gotham's First Episode". io9. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  7. "Pilot". Gotham (TV series). Season 1. Episode 1. September 22, 2014. Fox.
  8. "Selina Kyle". Gotham (TV series). Season 1. Episode 2. September 29, 2014. Fox.
  9. "Harvey Dent". Gotham (TV series). Season 1. Episode 9. November 17, 2014. Fox.
  10. "LoveCraft". Gotham (TV series). Season 1. Episode 10. November 24, 2014. Fox.
  11. "Beasts of Prey". Gotham (TV series). Season 1. Episode 19. April 13, 2015. Fox.
  12. "All Happy Families Are Alike". Gotham (TV series). Season 1. Episode 22. May 4, 2015. Fox.
  13. "Damned If You Do...". Gotham (TV series). Season 2. September 21, 2015. Fox.
  14. "By Fire". Gotham (TV series). Season 2. Episode 6. October 26, 2015. Fox.
  15. "Worse Than a Crime". Gotham (TV series). Season 2. Episode 11. November 30, 2015. Fox.
  16. "This Ball of Mud and Meanness". Gotham (TV series). Season 2. Episode 14. March 14, 2016. Fox.
  17. "Transference". Gotham (TV series). Season 2. Episode 22. May 23, 2016. Fox.
  18. Based on the credits of the episodes featuring Catwoman's appearances since they specifically list Adrienne Barbeau as the actor providing the character's voice.
  21. "Holy reunion! West, Ward in 'Batman' film". March 4, 2003. Archived from the original on February 26, 2007. Retrieved June 22, 2007.
  22. "Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt (2003)". Movie Gazette. June 10, 2005. Retrieved June 22, 2007.
  23. "Pfeiffer on Returns & Hathaway". Batman |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  24. Shadows of the Bat: Cinematic Saga of the Dark Side of the Knight
  25. "From Comic To Pfeiffer's Cat". Batman Online. May 29, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  26. "'Anne Hathaway to Play Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises'". January 19, 2010.
  27. Jensen, Jeff (January 19, 2011). "'The Dark Knight Rises' scoop: Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy join cast". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  28. Kit, Borys (April 20, 2011). "'Batman: Year One' Lines Up Voice Cast, Sets Comic-Con Premiere (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 18, 2011.
  29. Slead, Evan (August 17, 2016). "Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar return for animated Batman movie". Entertainment Weekly.
  31. Hamilton, Kirk. "Get A Load Of Catwoman Clawing It Up In Injustice: Gods Among Us". Kotaku.
  33. "Infinite Crisis - Behind the Voice - Grey DeLisle-Griffin as Catwoman". YouTube. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  34. "LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham - Catwoman (1966, Pre-52, Standard) Gameplay and Unlock Locations" (18 November 2014). Retrieved 9 April 2015.
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