So now we know we have Catwoman* in The Dark Knight Rises and that Anne Hathaway will be playing her. The next question how will she play her, and central to this what will she look like? Okay so the real question is what costume will she wear? Unfortunately Michelle Pfeiffer’s PVC won’t work in Nolen’s near real world setting, finding a balance between this and the character from the comics is essential for the success of the character. The costume worn by the character in the comic book has changed over time as demonstrated by the cover of Catwoman: Nine Lives of a Feline Fatale by Brian Bolland:
Initially Catwoman had no disguise or costume, her first disguise was theatrically cat-mask, this was followed by a dress with a hood that had cat like ears, this was the start of the stylized catwoman costume we associate with the character now. Then finally came the iconic catsuit, initially it was coupled with long boots and a domino mask (and sometimes with a tail). The style and the colour has changed a lot over time too, starting with green (a popular voice for DC villains) and later changing to purple and grey. She has a dabbled with black PVC along the lines of her best screen version as portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer’s in Batman Returns. Around ten years ago the costume along with the character underwent a revamp opting for a catsuit that is said to be inspired by Emma Peel’s iconic leather catsuit from the 60’s TV show The Avengers. The most notable update is the goggles attached to a cowl. And this most recent incarnation is probably the closest we will see in the new movie. The key to the costume will be practicality, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see something closer to Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff costume from Iron Man II than Michelle Pfeiffer’s.
Remembering the way Bruce Wayne and Lucius Fox came up with the batsuit in Batman Begins a similar approach should be taken with catwoman. There are two ways this cold be conveyed in the movie: firstly if catwoman is introduced as an established character new to Gotham the way The Joker was a simple analysis of the outfit will suffice. If we see catwoman develop within the movie a little more fun can be had, for example Selina Kyle could purchase a vinyl or leather catsuit but find it uncomfortable and impractical. This will lead to her purchasing (or stealing) a high-tech suit, probably from Wayne Enterprises. Like the Batsuit some kind of military origin would make sense, the characteristics it should display include, a matt finish helping her blend into the background in dark alleys, the ability to mask her heat signature helping her to evade security systems, stab proof . It should be worn with a bullet proof vest over the top and a small backpack for her equipment and weapons. The addition of high-tech gauntlets and shin protectors hidden within a pair of chunky army type boots would make it possible for her to fight Batman “toe to toe”; her costume offering less protection but more flexibility. Her mask/cowl has been known to contain night vision glasses, this would be useful (and could lend itself to a point of fight scene in total darkness). Gloves with retractable claws could be a useful tool/weapon. She may have to dispense with the whip in Nolan’s world though. The other important thing about this outfit is its ability to blend into everyday life in a way Pfeiffer’s catwoman couldn’t; remove the gloves and cowl, throw a jacket over the top and she could walk down the street looking like any other person.
A lot will depend on how the character is introduced into the movie. Will she be established as Catwoman with a mysterious back story like The Joker in The Dark Knight or will we see the development of the character like with Batman in Batman Begins? Will she be a socialite, a hooker or even an amnesiac flight attendant (they are all variation of her origin from the comics). What will be the relationship be between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, will they know about each others secret identity. The best thing about the Selina Kyle/Catwoman character is her potential to have a large story arc. She Can be on the side of good or evil, and even walk the line between the two at the same time. A rise – fall – redemption story would be perfect.
For more on the character and how she could fit into the movie take a look at THIS.
*Assuming Christopher Nolan isn’t messing with us and Selina Kyle won’t be Catwoman in this movie.