How Catwoman Will Fit Into Chris Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight Rises’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated April 21st, 2012 at 9:01 am,

catwoman dark knight rises How Catwoman Will Fit Into Chris Nolans Dark Knight Rises

Now that we know some early details about the film, fanboy chatter regarding Chris Nolan’s final chapter to his Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, is in full swing. The most recent news about TDKR has actors Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway playing Bane and Selina Kyle – though what the plot of the film will entail is still largely a mystery.

Our own Rob Frappier posted a great article about how Bane will fit into Nolan’s Batman universe, and today we’re following that post up by addressing how the character of Selina Kyle might be presented in the Nolan Batverse – and whether or not we’ll actually see her as Catwoman, a conclusion that many have (perhaps prematurely) jumped to.

Selina Kyle’s inclusion in Dark Knight Rises is hardly a surprise – Catwoman Batman 3 casting rumors have been circling the Web for years now. Chris Nolan has been continuously criticized in his career for creating female characters who are either one-dimensional, totally peripheral, or are otherwise flat and weak. This has certainly been true of Nolan’s Batman movies, where the one major female character, Rachel Dawes, has been labeled as the major weak point of both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight – despite the fact that two different actress tried to pump life into the role. It’s rare that you see people walk away from the death of a major character in a movie franchise happier than they are sad.

But it seems that Nolan himself is aware of the criticisms surrounding his films, and is striving to challenge himself with Batman 3 by taking on arguably the most complicated and rich female character in comic book lore. Aside from the almost-guaranteed awesomeness Nolan will bring to TDKR, it’s going to be very intriguing to see if he can truly grow as a filmmaker and deliver a version of Selina Kyle (Catwoman?) that can surpass all the “Nolan girls” who have come before. But first things first, lets talk about the character of Selina Kyle/Catwoman and what she means to the Batman mythology.


Who is Selina Kyle?

The Many Faces of Selina Kyle by AdamHughes 570x303 How Catwoman Will Fit Into Chris Nolans Dark Knight Rises

The many Faces of Selina Kyle (Click for Larger Version)

The character of Selina Kyle / Catwoman has undergone so many revisions  at the hands of different creators in both the comic books and TV/film that it can be hard to keep track of who she is. Depending on which version of the character you’re familiar with, Catwoman has been depicted as all of the following:

  • A  master thief and criminal
  • A benevolent socialite moonlighting as a thief
  • A prostitute turned vigilante/thief
  • A rebellious mob boss daughter who steals from daddy
  • A mousy (no pun) secretary “born again” as an empowered costumed femme
  • A gray area mix of  thief  and anti-hero
  • A foil and love interest for Bruce Wayne / Batman

Actually, that breakdown is somewhat misleading: the (wonderfully) complicated thing about Selina Kyle / Catwoman is that at any given point she’s a mix of SEVERAL of the things listed above. It’s the complexity of the character that makes her a potential home run for Dark Knight Rises - especially since Rachel Dawes was little more than a backdrop for Bruce/Batman to play off of. Selina / Catwoman has the potential to be everything from the major focus of Batman’s and/or Bruce Wayne’s romantic intentions, to a cunning adversary for him to battle, to a peripheral figure who uses the Dark Knight and his struggles as a means to further her own agenda. The only question is, which version of the character does Nolan have his eye on?


Selina Kyle or Catwoman?

catwoman selina kyle batman dark knight rises How Catwoman Will Fit Into Chris Nolans Dark Knight Rises

We have to question who it is we’re going to see in The Dark Knight Rises. As many Bat-fans who pay attention to the small print have noticed, when Hathaway was announced for TDKR, we were SPECIFICALLY told that she would be playing “Selina Kyle.” More recently, while covering the Arlington Theater tribute to Chris Nolan in Santa Barbara, SuperheroHeroHype observed how Nolan dealt directly with the question of whether or not we’re getting Catwoman in the next Batman movie:

Nolan still wouldn’t confirm whether Anne Hathaway would play Catwoman or just Selina Kyle. When asked, he smiled coyly and wouldn’t say a word.

By now we all know that Nolan is as much a trickster off-screen as he is with his movies. When dealing with a Nolan Batman film, the savvy fan knows to A) Never believe anything you hear unless it comes from the mouth of Nolan himself (see Robin Williams playing Hugo Strange or Killer Croc being the villain for examples).  B) Pay attention to how Nolan words the information he does offer, because when dealing with the famed director, the devil is almost always in the details.

That said, the general assumption still remains that Nolan has included Selina Kyle in Dark Knight Rises presumably to present a female foil for our hero on both sides of the mask – i.e., a socialite who challenges Bruce Wayne’s playboy facade, and a thief/anti-hero who challenges Batman’s notions of what constitutes a criminal in Gotham City. Either one of those halves of Selina/Catwoman is complicated enough to fill a movie role, let alone the complications of including both halves while still having time to fully flesh out another complex villain character (Tom Hardy’s Bane).

Anne Hathaway cast in The Dark Knight Rises How Catwoman Will Fit Into Chris Nolans Dark Knight Rises

Hathaway and Hardy will play Selina Kyle and Bane.

Coincidentally  enough,  I was typing this post, our friends over at Bleeding Cool broke news from a talk with Chris Nolan’s longtime cinematographer, Wally Pfister, in which Batman 3 was discussed, including the lingering question of whether or not we’ll see “Selina Kyle” in Dark Knight Rises or “Catwoman.” Said Pfister about shooting the screen test for Anne Hathaway as “Catwoman”:

She looks phenomenal in the wardrobe.

And when Pfister was asked directly if that means “Catwoman” will be in the film:

…I’d get fired and I wouldn’t even get to shoot the picture… I can’t really say, but I definitely want to be around next year…

Now I know some people are going to read this and immediately jump to the conclusion that “Catwoman” will be in this movie – but me, I’m hedging my bets that if anything, Pfister was referring to some elaborate thief’s outfit that Hathaway will don to commit high-stakes robberies in the film. Then again, he could just as well have meant that she looks really hot in a cocktail dress and/or business suit…

So now that we’ve addressed some of the complicated questions, let’s discuss some of the possible answers: how will Selina Kyle and/or Catwoman fit into The Dark Knight Rises?

Continue reading for our ideas…

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  1. Just typed in “Anne Hathaway as Catwoman” to Google images……….

  2. The only thing that annoys me about the casting is Hathaway has “Disney eyes”
    They are too large to be taken in a intimidating way.
    It’s not that she can’t act or look sexy; it’s just because or the eyes, one of the only things that you see in the costume, she won’t look scary to me.

    • Why would Hathaway have to look “scary”? In what way is Catwoman scary? Catwoman is never scary- she’s just deceptive and shadowy a character. Nothing Catwoman does is to intimidate. She’s dressed in black and slips in and out of the shadows. She fights only when she has to or when she feels she needs to. Her name is Catwoman not Tigress.

  3. I am taking a wild guess that Anne Hathaway is playing Selina Kyle who becomes Harley Quinn. I know Catwoman is the idea but I think she has the smile for it. Having HQ to relate to the Joker seems necessary since Heath is gone. You might think this is crazy but you all hope for talia al gual who has never been mentioned before.

    • WHA????? :\ SHEEESSSSh…. Didn’t see that coming!

    • I’ll bet you a buffalo nickel that that won’t happen in a million years…

  4. I can see Selina taking advantage of all the craziness going on in Gotham, all the hysteria, and she just slips through the seams, slides past everyone in the background while their attentions are elsewhere and gets her burglary going.

    I can see her as a survivalist, and an opportunist. All of the above in someone that can get what they want and knows just what ways to get job done in the most elusive and sly manners.

    While it works with everyone else, and it seems that nobody notices this shadowy character that is Selina Kyle- Batman doesn’t fall for it and is a step ahead of her. As if his eyes are everywhere in Gotham even if his hands are full.

    I can see her attempt to manipulate him and try to throw out her bag of tricks at him in the most sublte slick ways but he doesn’t flinch and is savy to her tricks.

    It would take her aback surprise her and spark her notice of him as an attractive mysterious figure.

    I never saw Catwoman as a truly evil or bad person. Just an opportunistic and gray area kind of person. Something Batman doesn’t originally know how to deal with while at the same time he does.

    I think they both seem to be a step ahead of each other yet haven’t figured each other out. So, it makes for an interesting potential tension not just sexually but a dynamic exploratory tension.

    That’s my take on it. My perspective as a fan.

  5. Btw I think she’s going to be a more of a cat burglar – Selina Kyle who wears a cat burglar outfit that is similar to one of the Cat-woman suits.

  6. She’ll be a socialite, maybe Falcone’s daughter. And she will seduce Bruce, and will break into the new Wayne manor (which will be in the film).

    She may even discover Bruce is Batman and auction that info to the highest bidder of the Criminal Underworld, i.e. Bane.

    She will be Catwoman (Harley Quin?? lol), but just a woman in a black burglar suit, like Catherine Zeta Jones in Entrapment. She may wear a mask, but I doubt the cat theme will be too strong. The media may just dub her the woman catbuglar – “Catwoman”.

  7. Not to be facetious… but shouldn’t this and the Bane one be titled “Wow MIGHT Catwoman/Bane Fit…” or “How Catwoman/Bane COULD Fit…”?

    That’s twice now I’ve seen headlines in my RSS feed insinuating there’s some new insight no one else seems to have… only to find it’s just (admittedly well-written and considered) guesswork. Kudos to successful self promotion, I guess.

  8. I don’t think Nolan will incorporate Anne because of sex appeal. Hopefully it’s more about her acting chops.

    • I could live with both

  9. I think that she will be in there as Catwoman. it would be weird to have Selina Kyle and not have her as Catwoman.

    I think that she will be a sort of weird love interest for Batman as in the comics and TV show. The real fights will be with Bane.

    It’s curious to see why Bane is the choice for a villain in this series, but I bet it will be pretty interesting.

    I think she will be Catwoman.

  10. After the “Batman and Robin” fiasco that tanked the Batman series, Chris Nolan’s Batmans shouldn’t have any critics……

  11. It’s tough for me to picture a cat burglar in TDKR. I picture her as someone seeking vengence against the mob. Batman tries to convince her to be a “good” vigelante throughout the film and we think she will, and then she turns on him at the end – or something like that…

  12. The article is right on, the characters develop the trademarks associated with their comic counterparts, but they don’t run around in the movies announcing themselves and acting kitchy. Even Wayne beoming Batman was a long process portrayed as an evolution rather than one montage scene of planned gimmicks coming together. I agree Kyle will develop personality trademarks that when the film ends we’ll all say, hey she WAS Catwoman.

    • agreed with ya

  13. I’m done blogging about this. It’s too depressing. But, even though some of you bashed Jennifer Garner, to me, she is the best actress who will ever live, and she would’ve been a better Catwoman than any other actress out there.

    • Garner – the best actress ever? lol, she’s not bad but not top 10 in the past ten years imo.

  14. catwoman riddler

    elektra was okay at best, definitely a hint of a chick flick

    catwoman with berry wasn’t horrible but it was bad

  15. I am in favor of Selina Kyle taking a major role as a love interest and a minor role as a criminal. I don’t mean a non-existant role, her criminal element is highly important.

    I am reminded of the end of Batman Begins, when Rachel Dawes commented that Bruce Wayne was the mask that Batman wore, not the reverse. This is one of Batman’s most intriguing qualities: That Batman is not his job, it’s the core of his soul, and he can never, ever, let anybody in.

    Nobody really understands Batman. Maybe not even Alfred, and certainly not Rachel Dawes, who, while caring deeply for Bruce Wayne, refuses to accept the life of Batman, a life that Bruce Wayne almost gave up, to be with her.

    But now, shortly after the death of Rachel Dawes, emerges a woman who is in every way perfect for Bruce Wayne, and Batman. Selina Kyle is literally the only person anywhere that can truly understand, and accept, Bruce Wayne as a mask. She represents the only healthy relationship that Batman might ever get a chance at, and the only person anywhere who can keep up with, and even love, Bruce Wayne’s complicated Dichotomy.

    Except that she’s a pathological criminal. Somebody that Batman is sworn to oppose. And yet, it’s so easy to look the other way, when mass murdering, psychopathic criminals walk the streets.

    In Batman Begins, we saw tested, Batman’s resolve to save Gotham City, at all costs. His unwillingness to be influenced by others.

    In The Dark Knight, it was his resolve to uphold justice without vengeance. His unwillingness to give into personal vendetta.

    And now, in the Dark Knight Rises, we have a chance to see his resolve to uphold all intents of the law, even those that cause him personal sacrifice. His unwillingness to give into personal indulgence.

    That’s a Batman I want to see.

    • Ardentpause you’re so right.

      And, might I add that Hathaway has proven she can hold her own in a number of situations opposite strong actors and characters, and just may be able to pull off a worthy woman for Bruce in this go-round.

  16. Salina Kyle /Catwoman
    I say throw it all in their. Take all versions of Salina Kyle /Catwoman. Take every thing that makes the character what she is. It would fit together perfectly. I would make it were Salina Kyle /Catwoman. is a daughter of a mob boss. The only thing is her father is not your every day mob boss. I would make her mother one of the prostitute’s that worked for her father before she was ever thought of. I would make her father any woman’s worst nightmare. I would say all her mother knew was the street life. That right their tells you she needed to survive some how. So she became a prostitute & some were down the line in her life she came to work for a mob boss. Who would later be Salina Kyle’s father. Her mother was making a lot of money for Salina Kyle’s father. She was his most prized precession. He obviously slept with her to & more then the customers but around the time Salina Kyle was born. Her mother started to realize that she didn’t want this life for her daughter & she wanted out but. Just one big problem Salina Kyle’s father. He didn’t care about her or the baby & she knew this just like she knew he wouldn’t let her & the baby leave.
    So she did what any mother would do tried to protect her daughter & she did just that until Salina Kyle 8th birthday came. Her mother was only able to protect her this long because what would the mob boss’s customers want with a baby & then even when she was finely of age to work & bring in money her mother would always ask to trade places with her daughter. The only problem now is that when u have a lot of customers asking for your daughter. What can u do her mother tried but in the end it cost Salina Kyle‘s mother her life. Salina Kyle never forgot every thing that happened on her 8th birthday & vowed revenge. Now at this point Salina Kyle’s life was set. No matter how bad she wanted to revenge her mother. She couldn’t not now any ways. So she would become a prostitute also. Her father’s new prized precession continuing right were her mother had left off as if she was never gone. With just the memories & the stray kitten her mother found & gave to her when she was just a baby or so you would think.
    You could then come up with a story where she escaped but in doing so. She had her freedom but no where to go & she had to live on the street with her feline cat as her only friend. She would then have to steal to survive becoming a master thief and criminal or vigilante/thief & thanks to her father. She wanted every thing she never had & made her second vow that she would never live the way she was living again & that she would have the most valuable things in the world. Some were down the line in her life with her feline friend she revenged her mother & got closer to her second goal.
    You could also add more to the story by saying she was able to become a secretary

  17. We have to see an industrial espionage, high tech, “sane” cat woman depicted on the small screen as a woman with a mission. What the mission is, is uncertain. I am hoping for a little dominatrixy, slick, kitty cat, hard-edged, subtly twisted, sex-goddess delivery from Anne Hathaway.

  18. I think Nolan is the WORST batman writer ever….And I have been reading batman since I dunno….1975.

    I have seen The joker die, go to arkham, and return from both, BUT I HAVE NEVER SEEN A VILLIAN DIE BEFORE THEY BECOME ONE! AKA Harvey Dent/Two Face.

    I am starting to wonder if Bane breaks batmans back in this one, which is what really happened when he first met Bane in “Vengence of Bane” Written by Graham Nolan (no relation)(thank god).

    I am sick and tired of warner brother writers whipping up whatever twist in history of batman to pacify the brainless sheeple of todays movie going crowd just to turn a buck. It is simply a total butt rape to Bob Kane the creator of batman.

    Original batman(1989): Incinuates The Joker killed Bruce’s parents, also reveals the Jokers idenity, which any TRUE BATMAN FAN OR WRITER knows has always been unknown.

    Don’t get me started with the other 4 Crap piles that came out of WB in that series.

    On top of all that, I cannot believe that DC just goes “OK screw up batman’s history. He’s made us enough money now lets totally reinvent the wheel.” Once again leaving Bob Kane spinning in his grave.

    I am going to see this movie but just like the rest: without paying.