Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘Batman Returns’ Writer Reveals Plans For Unmade ‘Catwoman’ Movie

‘Batman Returns’ Writer Reveals Plans For Unmade ‘Catwoman’ Movie

Batman Returns screenwriter Daniel Waters dished the clash of visions with Tim Burton for a spinoff featuring Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. Waters had originally envisioned a satirical approach to the comic book movie genre, similar to the current style of Prime Video’s The Boys. However, director Burton had a much riskier concept in mind.

“He wanted to do an $18 million black-and-white movie, like the original Cat People, of Selina just low-key living in a small town,” Waters told Indiewire. “And I wanted to make a ‘Batman’ movie where the metaphor was about ‘Batman.’ So I had her move to a Los Angeles version of Gotham City, and it’s run by three [jerk] superheroes. It was The Boys before The Boys. But he got exhausted reading my script.”

However, Waters didn’t start approaching the Batman franchise with satire with the proposed Catwoman spinoff. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Waters had his breakthrough in Hollywood writing the dark high school satire Heathers.

According to Waters, the initial screenplay of Batman Returns included criticisms of the first Burton ‘Batman’ film. Though it was a massive commercial success in 1989, it was disliked by Waters. Originally, Batman Returns was supposed to begin with the Batman logo, followed by a depiction of an in-universe merchandise store where Batman would address the issue of exploitative merchandising. However, Michael Keaton persuaded Waters to remove these criticisms from the final version of the film.

“[Michael] Keaton said, ‘This is very clever. Cut it,’” Water recalled.

The ‘Batman Returns’ Screenwriter Recalls Fans Being Upset Over Catwoman’s Origin Story

Regarding Batman Returns, the superhero sequel that Waters and Burton had the opportunity to create together, the screenwriter recalls the backlash the film faced in 1992 from comic fans. This was largely due to their script not faithfully adapting the backstories of Catwoman or The Penguin (played by Danny DeVito).

“It was a weird assignment in that I didn’t need to please anyone but Tim Burton. Before the internet, you didn’t have to go before a tribunal and say what you were doing. It was just two guys in a room riffing. We didn’t know [anything] about Batman villains,” Waters recalled. “We didn’t really understand the whole comic book thing. I just found out DC Comics stands for Detective Comics.”

“The whole thing about Batman Returns is we got attacked by Batman fans because they thought, ‘This is only the second Batman movie, what the [heck] are you doing? You’re already going off-road,” Waters added. “Now there’s like 50 Batman movies, it’s like, ‘Hey. That was pretty interesting.’”