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The Batman: What Zoë Kravitz Is Reading To Prepare For Her Catwoman Role

Zoë Kravitz is getting ready to take on the mantle of Catwoman in The Batman, and to prep, she's doing a little heavy reading.

In a recent sit-down with the Happy Sad Confused podcast, the star revealed that, to inform her characterization of Selina Kyle and her slinky alter-ego, she's looking to an iconic storyline by the writer who is basically responsible for the dark, gritty characterization of Batman we all know and love.

During this, the Golden Age of Superhero Cinema, it's become commonplace for stars who have been cast as beloved heroes and/or villains to prepare for their roles by diving headfirst into comics canon, and they'll often announce their research publicly, to the delight of fans. Perhaps no one aced this test harder than Brie Larson, whose tweeted image of herself in jammies reading a Captain Marvel comic endeared her to the Marvel faithful. Kravitz is no different, and to get into the head of Batman's nemesis-slash-love interest, she's picked some pretty excellent reading material. "I've been reading the Year One comic," the actress told podcaster Josh Horowitz. "It's great, it's super badass" (via ComicBook).

That it is — and if its writer had never taken on the Caped Crusader, we might still only think of Bats as a spandex-clad goofball who sticks the prefix "Bat-" in front of the names of all his gadgets and occasionally dances the Batusi.

What is Batman: Year One?

We refer, of course, to Frank Miller, the legendary comics scribe who rehabilitated Daredevil for Marvel Comics before jumping ship to DC to take on one of the most significant comic series in history: The Dark Knight Returns, which depicted a 55-year old Bruce Wayne coming out of retirement to face all of his old foes in a darker, more dangerous version of Gotham than readers had ever seen before. A couple of interesting side notes: The 1986 series was actually titled The Dark Knight, but since each of its four volumes presented a variation on that title on its cover, readers simply assumed the title of the first issue applied to the entire series. Also, it's the reason we now call Batman the Dark Knight. Some writers had referred to him as the "Darknight Detective" in the '70s, but Miller pared that down to the iconic moniker which would eventually become the title of the greatest Batman movie ever made.

The Dark Knight Returns was a smash hit with fans, and for his next trick, Miller penned Batman: Year One, which was published in 1987. As the title implies, the series basically took the opposite tack from The Dark Knight Returns, giving us a young, inexperienced Batman in the first year of his crime-fighting career as he faced off against crime boss Carmine Falcone and encountered allies like Harvey Dent and James Gordon for the first time.

Elements of the series' story were used for Batman Begins, like Bats' conflict with Falcone (whose first appearance was in Year One) and the brief allusion to the Joker at the end. With The Batman returning to the early days of Bats' career, though, some fans are rightly wondering if the flick is shaping up to be a more direct adaptation of the Year One storyline.

Is The Batman based on Batman: Year One?

Well, the answer is "probably not." Selina Kyle was featured prominently in Year One; she was inspired to become Catwoman after seeing Batman in action. While it stands to reason that The Batman may take some inspiration from Miller's work, however, Year One did not feature any of Bats' traditional rogues' gallery, and we already know that the movie will introduce us to the Riddler (portrayed by Paul Dano) and the Penguin (portrayed by Colin Farrell).

It's also been speculated that The Batman may actually be adapting a different storyline: The Long Halloween, which was published in 1996 and 1997, and was written by Jeph Loeb. That series also took place early in Bruce Wayne's career, and featured an extensive cast of villains. Jeffrey Wright, who is playing James Gordon in the film, even stoked this speculation by sharing that he read the series in the course of his own research into his character.

We find it to be likely that The Batman will not directly adapt any one storyline from the comics, but will draw inspiration from several, just like all of the best Batman flicks of the past have done. In digging for insight into the character of Selina Kyle, though, Kravitz could do a heck of a lot worse than Batman: Year One. Miller pretty much defined Batman and his associated characters as modern audiences know them, and with so many widely varied takes on Kyle having graced screens both large and small, the actress is taking a smart approach in going back to the source.

The Batman is currently slated to hit theaters on October 1, 2021.