An explosive new Batman theory on the Fan Theories subreddit speculates on the source of Catwoman’s powers in the 1992 Tim Burton disappointment Batman Returns, and the most shocking thing about it is that someone is still thinking about Batman Returns 30 years after it was released.
In the film, Michelle Pfeiffer played Selina Kyle, whose transformation into the original Crazy Cat Lady was triggered by some TLC from alley cats after Christopher Walken’s Max Schrek pushed her out of a window.
According to Reddit user “Wattos_Box,” the cats transmitted a virus, toxoplasma gondii, that effectively gave her the ability to make people around her sick. And according to the reviews of the time, that checks out. Wattos_Box explains what toxoplasma gondii is:
The parasite t. gondii can reproduce asexually in many mammals but reproduces sexually in cats due to a difference in their stomachs. This parasite, which is in 50% of humans, has been linked to changes in behavior in its hosts.
Mice with t. gondii have been found to be less afraid of cats. So basically this parasite is making its hosts dumber toward the fear of cats because cats are its true home. Some studies have shown a link between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and people with the parasite. It has also been linked with increased testosterone and higher tendency to rebel in men and lower testosterone and outgoing, moralistic tendencies in women. Higher rates of car crashes and suicide attempts have been linked to t. gondii. It can also cause serious eye damage. It should be noted that many of these links do not have sufficient proof to be regarded as fact.
That would certainly explain Selina Kyle’s turn to a life of crime. As Wattos_Box explains:
Selina Kyle becomes Catwoman when she is pushed out of a window and revived by cats that lick and bite her. We can see a cat chewing her finger bloody so there is clear bodily fluid connection. T. gondii is spread from cat feces, and we all know cats lick their privates. So it’s not too much of a stretch to believe that she is receiving the parasite in high doses.
But she also just fell many floors from a building and should be dead. My theory is that the cats are purposefully passing immense amounts of t. gondii into her nearly dead body before the brain is lost. The parasite takes a lot of control over her, but it uses her in a way that keeps her feeling like she’s in control, an exaggerated version of the mice who are less afraid of cats.
So not only is she infected by the disease, but she’s the living embodiment of it. As W_B explained at the end of their post, transmission of the virus load would also explain the Penguin’s penguins’ human-level intelligence.
Naturally, this post led to a sophisticated and nuanced debate. Just kidding, it’s on Reddit.
First, BrockManstrong corrected some of Wattos_Box’s statistics, and frankly, we here at WGTC found it very reassuring:
“Um, 11% of people 6 years and older, not 50% of all humans.”
But Wattos_Box wasn’t having any of that. He shot back:
“That’s the US. It’s in 30-50% of humans in the world”
At press time, that comment stands at -3 downvoted. And if you think someone who named themselves BrockManstrong was going to stand for being publicly corrected, well, allow me to publicly correct you:
“Still not the same as ‘50% of all people have this’. That’s also an estimate based on surveys in 88 countries, which ranged from 1% to 90%. That doesn’t mean 90% of people everywhere have it.”
Wattos_Box then responded, allowing us to know what it feels like to be ringside at the Harvard Debate Society:
“Right, it means that 90% of people in some countries have it. And 11% in the US. But out of all the people in the world, 30-50% have it.”
Then BrockManstrong threw Wattos_Box’s own words back in his face:
‘This parasite, which is in 50% of humans'”
That sure shut BrockManstron up. In another thread, user “ostalot” had questions about the theory in general:
“Wouldn’t the host’s cognitive functions be impaired over time. Making them want to do more and more dangerous things till they are dead. Also I wouldn’t say Selena Kyle is reckless. She takes calculated risks, her determination is because she knows that there’s little possibility that she fails. She can also think on her feet (changing existing plans when new information is available) and is known to discard plans if the odds are against her.”
“Also I’m not sure what the end goal of the parasite would be in this scenario. I guess survival but it was already surviving in cats with optimal living conditions (I guess because of the post).”
Meanwhile, “mtfellie” found an opening for a pet theory of their own:
“I mean if we wanna go the science route, it’s probably because the folks of Gotham (in earlier series, not the newest) were in a big city with tons of cars, cars which at the time of release for batman (originally) would be using leaded gasoline.
Leaded gasoline contains a chemical called tetraethyl lead, which after being burnt releases lead into the atmosphere. This lead causes a process called Demylenation in the brain and spine, resulting in poor impulse control and violent tendencies.
This can be demonstrated by comparing graphs of atmospheric lead content with average crime rates. The graphs are nearly identical in shape, but offset by 20 years (roughly how long it takes for demylenation to have it’s full effects).
Here is an article explaining it from Forbes.”
Meanwhile, user “Baystain” leads us out with this Mensa-level observation:
“Lmao awesome dude”
Batman Returns is currently streaming, probably.