Before and particularly after the movie starring Halle Berry, it appears to be a rule that you don’t have Catwoman in a live-action movie without Batman getting top billing. But that wasn’t always the case—back in 2018, we learned the thief very nearly got her own spinoff film where she would’ve been played by Michelle Pfeiffer after the release of Batman Returns in 1992.
During a recent Q&A, Returns writer Daniel Waters shed some light on his plans for the scrapped movie. The most interesting bit about it was that he and director Tim Burton had very different ideas on where to take things. Burton’s vision as similar to “an $18 million black-and-white movie…of Selina just low key living in a small town.” That version, he continued, was inspired by the 1942 horror film Cat People, which told the story of a fashion illustrator who believed she descended from an ancient tribe of Cat People who shapeshift into Black Panthers when aroused.
Conversely, Waters called it his own take “The Boys before The Boys,” a more conventional setup wherein Selina goes to an LA version of Gotham City and finds it run by a trio of unidentified “asshole superheroes. I wanted to make a Batman movie where the metaphor movie was about Batman.” It sounds not entirely dissimilar to Catwoman co-writer John August’s idea for a Catwoman flick, only that lead role would’ve been played by Scooby-Doo alum Sarah Michelle Gellar. Either way, Burton seemed to really not groove with Waters’ version, because the writer said Burton was “exhausted” by what he read.
Have things changed enough to where we can get a Catwoman-led movie or show? It’s hard to say, given WB’s intended direction for DC movies and shows over the next several years. Maybe Zoe Kravitz will get a stab at it, since The Batman movies are locked to their own universe and concerned with the seedy underbelly of Gotham. But DC’s been working hard over the last decade to give Selina her own slice of Gotham where she can have adventures sans Bruce, and she is one of the publisher’s most well-known female characters. Might as well give it another shot, right?
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