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Unproduced Batman: The Animated Series episode: "Catmoves, Part One"
Batman: The Animated Series producer Bruce Timm stopped by the message boards here at The World's Finest, in Aug. 2021, to share the outline of an unproduced episode from the acclaimed cartoon. Continue below to hear directly from Timm...

I was going through some papers recently, and came across a 15-page treatment dated 9/19/90. As far as I know, it's the very first proposed Batman: The Animated Series story committed to paper:

"Catmoves, Part 1"
by Warren Greenwood and Frank Brunner

Both of them were artists just finishing up the first season of Tiny Toon. I'd known Warren as a top storyboard artist since my earliest days in the Animation business, and I'd been a fan of Frank Brunner's comics since I was a teenager (Howard the Duck, his legendary run on Dr. Strange, various excellent stand-alone stories for Star Reach, Creepy, Web of Horror, Alien Worlds, etc. If I recall correctly, they were both 'at liberty' for a few weeks while waiting for the second season to get officially green-lit, and took the opportunity to work up a few Batman story pitches. Besides Parts 1 and 2 of "Catmoves," i seem to think they wrote a third treatment, but I don't remember what it was about. I don't have a copy of it directly at hand at the moment (or "Catmoves, Part 2" either).

Anyhow ..."Catmoves, Part 1," in brief:


Catwoman is committing a series of robberies all over Gotham with an army of mercenaries, a cyborg mountain lion and a huge hovercraft assault vehicle in the shape of a cat's head: "We are reminded of the great flying stone head in Zardoz.

Throughout the episode we see snippets of a recurring dream / hallucination ... seemingly Selina's memory of her past life in Ancient Egypt, when she was literally the cat-godess Bubastis.

Later, we find Bruce Wayne strolling through Gotham's Inner City after dark : "A shattered ruined landscape ... it looks almost post-holocaust." He is described as "A huge man, almost seven feet tall and powerfully built ... he also looks crazy as a bedbug..."

He's there to leave two roses at the spot where his parents were killed. On his way there, he passes by "Junkies and winos hunkering in dark doorways. Street crazies babble at him. Crackheads swarm around him like flies..."

After paying his respects, he finds a pathetic, starving little black kitten, which he impulsively names "Shadow" and decides to adopt.

Back at Wayne Manor ("Impossibly huge. Baronial. But with weird towers and geodesic domes as if perhaps the master wasn't playing with a full deck") he and Shadow watch the evening news reports about Catwoman's crime wave. Drug warehouses are being hit all over the city, but no drugs are being stolen, just large amounts of cash.

Later, the swanky hi-rise office of corporate raider Daniel Dollar is attacked by the hovering Giant Cat-head: "Smaller scarab-like attack hovercraft converge on the tower ... ski-masked men in camo uniforms blowing out windows with assault rifles, etc."

Her forces overwhelm Dollar's security team. SWAT teams converge, but Catwoman has taken prisoners and threatens to blow up the building: "She appears on TV with the hostages like Saddam Hussein, surrounded by Egyptian paraphenelia."

After the broadcast, she dismisses her goons and sits alone in the dark, dreaming of her long-ago life in Ancient Egypt, surrounded by other animal-headed gods: "A royal party of the gods on a huge barge floating down the Nile, the men and women of earth lining the shores to pay tribute."

Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne is in the Batcave, watching the news while Shadow plays on the computer console: "He stares at the screen with a deranged intense expression," the video footage shows children among the hostages.

At Dollars office, Catwoman tells him she wants all of his liquid assets - all 900 million bucks of it - brought to the tower or she'll blow it up. There's a big bomb sitting right on his desk, so you know she means it. While they wait for the money to arrive, she amuses herself by running his business - making random stock trades, trying to buy the Egyptian exhibit from the Gotham Museum, donating large sums of his money to animal rights groups, etc.

On the tower's rooftop, Batman stealthily swoops in with his 'Year One'-style Bat-glider rig and attacks Catwoman's goons — two of them drop unconscious with razor-sharp drug-tipped ninja stars imbedded in their necks.

We cut to an upshot on Batman: "Lost in the darkness. Pulling some sort of big weapon out from under his cape..."

On the rooftop is a spectacular atrium garden: "Six stories high, with an 80 foot waterfall, tropical plants and winding stairways of green marble ... filled with a score of Catwoman's soldiers."

Batman comes walking out of the shadows, armored up head-to-toe in black Kevlar, his face completely covered in a black welder's mask-type helmet "...with a single red eye-slit and tall bat ears ... he is also carrying a very large black machine gun..."

The thugs do shoot first, at least, but their bullets just bounce off Batman's body armor. And then he returns fire:

"Batman blasts the thugs with rubber bullets. They fly off the stairs, topple over railings into the waterfall. He empties the clip. Smashes a thug in the face with the rifle stock. Kicks the sh** out of the few thugs left standing..."

Once inside the building, Batman searches for Catwoman in the 100 room complex - "drifting from room to room like a shadow." He finally locates her and "...enters her bedroom like an incubus..."

She's sleeping in an Egyptian sarcophagus. He grabs her wrist, turns her over - but it's a dummy! Gas shoots out of its mouth - "He gasps for air, chokes, nearly vomits, and passes out."

Catwoman steps out of the shadows with her cyber-lion and gloats as we fade out...


Well! There’s a lot of wild, intense stuff here, seemingly very much inspired by Frank Miller’s edgy take on the character in The Dark Knight Returns. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot of actual story - it's mostly a string of violent action sequences, with very little character development. It's so far removed from the approach that Eric Radomski and I were thinking of, in tone and texture, that we both figured it was pointless to even have them take a second pass on it.

Also, even though we definitely wanted to push the envelope in terms of intense action sequences, spooky atmosphere, sophisticated themes and storytelling, the treatment was excessively loaded with things that never would have been allowed in children's programming’ in the early 1990s. Like, not even close! The hyper-violent action beats, the emphasis on dark urban squalor, references to the illegal drug trade, the repeated mentions of Batman's "deranged" mental state and the overall bleak, downbeat mood - honestly, if we had delivered this treatment to the execs at WBA and Fox Kids, we probably would have been fired on the spot.

I do hope I can find my copy of Part 2 someday, I'm curious to see how it all plays out - Catwoman's delusions, little Shadow's fate, etc.

--Bruce Timm

Note: The above details were edited slightly for clarity. No details were removed or fabricated.

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