I am Catwoman. Hear me roar.
~ Catwoman in Batman Returns
~ Catwoman to Batman and the Penguin, one second before Max Shreck's store explodes

Catwoman is one of the two secondary antagonists of Tim Burton's 1992 superhero film Batman Returns, the other being Max Shreck. She was a lonely, frustrated woman pushed over the edge into obsession and crime after her boss, tycoon Maximillian Shreck, tried to kill her to keep her from revealing his plot to build a power plant that would steal Gotham's electricity.

She was portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer, who also played Velma von Tussle in Hairspray, Eris in Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas and Lamia in Stardust.


Batman Returns

Selina Kyle worked as a secretary for the powerful and ruthless Max Shreck, owner of a business empire and the department store Shreck's. Despite being a secretary, Selina fancied herself as more as an executive assistant, since she helped out in more ways than a mere secretary. On Christmas Eve, Shreck forgot his speech and Selina tried to take it to him, but the city came under attack by the Red Triangle Gang and she herself was taken hostage by one of the clowns. Batman intervened and saved her by knocking the clown out. Selina instantly became fascinated with Batman, who took his leave. She took her defeated clown captor's taser home as a self-defense weapon.

At her flat, things were no better. Selina listened to unpleasant messages on her answering machine: the first from her parents, who express disappointment at Selina not going home for Christmas; the second from her boyfriend, who had decided to go on a Christmas holiday on his own on advice from his psychologist; and the third from herself, reminding her that she has to go back to work and prepare documents for Shreck's meeting with Bruce Wayne, something she herself had anticipated she would forget.

As she went through the files, Selina inadvertently discovered that Shreck's proposed Power Plant would suck power from Gotham City and store it, effectively bringing Gotham under control of the Shreck family. Shreck himself appeared and confronted her about this information, and though Selina swore that she would not let it slip, Shreck pushed her out of the window to silence her.

Though she apparently died, she was mysteriously revived by alley cats and returned home in a daze. When her answering machine gave an advert on a perfume sold by Shreck, Selina appeared to suffer a psychotic break: ransacking her apartment, destroying her possessions, and sewing a homemade cat costume in preparation for her revenge on Shreck. Calling herself Catwoman, Selina became a vigilante in her own right; on her first night, she brutally beat a mugger for trying to rape a helpless woman, but then chastised the woman for being unable to defend herself.

The next day, Selina appeared in Shreck's office while he was speaking with Bruce Wayne, covered in bandages and sporting a more confident and assertive attitude, somewhat impressing Shreck. Selina feigned amnesia and an instant attraction developed between herself and Bruce.

A few days later, during an attack on the city by the Red Triangle Gang, Catwoman blew up the bottom floor of Shreck's store, bringing her into conflict with Batman. In the ensuing fight, Catwoman stabbed Batman in the abdomen (not severely), while Batman napalmed Catwoman's arm and knocked her into a truck of kitty litter, killing her a second time. In response, Catwoman joined forces with The Penguin to destroy Batman, and the two came up with a plan to frame him for kidnapping the Ice Princess and killing him by turning his Batmobile into a bomb.

Meanwhile, whilst in the city, Selina came across Bruce and the two talked for a while before Bruce invited her for an early dinner at his house. Over dinner, Selina and Bruce spoke about Bruce's personal life, and Bruce revealed that he had trouble with his previous girlfriend, Vicki Vale, over his apparent difficulty with duality. Once Bruce makes it clear that he and Vicki were finished, Selina leapt on him and the two started kissing passionately. Their attempts to become more intimate resulted in almost exposing the other's injury and they abruptly stop. Just then, they saw a news bulletin about the Ice Princess's kidnapping with Batman the apparent culprit. As Bruce excused himself in order to suit up, Selina left and gets into her costume to carry out their plan

Catwoman and Batman arrived at the same time and briefly fight before Catwoman forcibly dragged the Ice Princess to the building's roof. To her shock, the Penguin had engineered the Ice Princess to fall off the building while making it look as if Batman pushed her. When Batman was shot and injured from a fall, Catwoman approached him and tried to stab him again, but he kicked her aside and leaves.

Later on, she rejected an advance from the Penguin, who responded by tying her neck to a helicopter umbrella. Though she managed to free herself, she fell into a greenhouse and lost another life.

With her alliance with the Penguin shattered, Selina devised a plan to kill Shreck herself at his annual Maxquerade Ball with a concealed gun. She encountered Bruce at the ball and they danced for a while before she revealed her intentions to him. In the process, they discovered each other's identities, but before they could leave to talk outside, the Penguin attacked and revealed his plan to kidnap the firstborn sons of Gotham, taking Shreck himself hostage.

Catwoman found Shreck trying to escape from the Penguin's lair and confronted him, ready to finish him off. Batman intervened and requested that they hand him over to the police, but Catwoman objected on the basis that no jury will ever convict Shreck.

Batman unmasked himself as a sign of peace and implored Selina to abandon her vendetta and live with him in Wayne Manor, but Selina refused, determined to end things there and then. Shreck drew a gun and shot Selina four times, but ran out of bullets. With two lives remaining, Selina sacrificed her penultimate life by electrocuting Shreck with the taser she previously obtained and causing a massive explosion. In the aftermath, her body is nowhere to be found, but it is later revealed that she survived (with her suit repaired) as she is shown looking up at the Bat Signal in the movie's closing scene.

Selina presumably left Gotham after this, and left her cat, Miss Kitty, with Bruce as a farewell gift.

Nine lives

Catwoman appears to have nine lives, rendering her invulnerable until all are used, like a cat. In the course of Batman Returns, she loses eight of them:

  1. When Max Shreck pushes her out the window (before she becomes Catwoman).
  2. When Batman knocks her off a building.
  3. When the Penguin sends her drifting away on an umbrella and she falls into a greenhouse.
  4. When Max Shreck shoots her.
  5. Shreck shoots her for a second time.
  6. Shreck shoots her for a third time.
  7. Shreck shoots her for a fourth time.
  8. When she kisses Shreck with a taser and, while they are electrified, grabs a wire causing the generator near them to explode, killing Shreck.





  • Catwoman was never seen again after Batman Returns, which is consistent with each of Batman's various girlfriends only appearing in one movie each. Her fate is left unknown, though she only has one of her nine metaphorical lives left by the end of this film. With this "reality", and her attempted murder avenged, Selina may have chosen to protect herself, and given up her dangerous activity as Catwoman. It is possible she sought out Bruce. He was again single at the end of the events of Batman & Robin, seemingly taking place only five years after the events of Batman Returns. However, if one counts The Lego Batman Movie as canon, she returns as one of the villains Joker's Rogues gang.
  • When Tim Burton was set to direct Batman Forever, his intention was to use The Riddler as the main villain and possibly have Catwoman return. As Burton was replaced, this never came to pass.
    • Also, Burton stated that he wanted to produce a Catwoman spin-off with among of future Batman Returns sequels. However, when he was replaced by Joel Schumacher, the idea of the spin-off was dropped.
  • For the role of Catwoman, Michelle Pfeiffer learned Yoga, weight lifting, kick boxing and karate. She also spent 1 month training with a 12 foot bullwhip. Michelle Pfeiffer called this one of her most "challenging roles" and critics called it one of her most "iconic roles" that will be famous forever.
  • Bruce and Selina discovered their dual personalities, thus exposing one of Burton's main themes — duality — in the film.
  • This Catwoman was used in one of Christina Aguilera's costume changes in her music video for "Keeps Gettin' Better" and the Live action TV show Birds of Prey.
  • Before the release of Batman & Robin, many fans suggested the possibility of the return of Catwoman and the Riddler. However, this rumor ended up false.
  • According with Joel Schumacher, Catwoman was set to reappear in the unmade sequel of Batman & Robin, that was named Batman Unchained. In the film, she was planned to return as a hallucination by the Scarecrow's fear gas.
  • Before Michelle Pfeiffer was cast as Catwoman, Annette Bening, Raquel Welch, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Madonna, Ellen Barkin, Cher, Bridget Fonda, Lorraine Bracco, Jennifer Beals, Susan Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara, Mary Steenburgen and Shelley Duvall originally auditioned for the role of Catwoman, but turned down the role.
  • In the comics, Catwoman sports black hair and green eyes, but in Batman Returns, Catwoman is depicted as a blonde with blue eyes.


  • Batman Returns
  • Batman Forever (Mentioned Only)
  • Batman Coke Commercials (Cameo)
  • Catwoman (Cameo In Photograph)
           Batman Movie Villains

Joker | Bob | Carl Grissom | Max Eckhardt | Vinnie Ricorso | Antoine Rotelli | Eddie

Batman Returns
Penguin | Max Shreck | Catwoman | Red Triangle Circus Gang (Organ Grinder, Poodle Lady, Tattooed Strongman, Stungun Clown, Thin Clown, Fat Clown, Sword Swallower & Knifethrower Dame)

Batman Forever
Riddler | Two-Face | Two-Face's Thugs (Sugar & Spice) | NygmaTech (Frogmen) | Neon Gang (Neon Gang Leader) | Salvatore Maroni

Batman & Robin
Poison Ivy | Mr. Freeze | Bane | Snowy Cones Thugs | Golums (Golum Gang Leader) | Jason Woodrue