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Naya Rivera’s Voice (and Hiss) Lives on in Role as Catwoman in The Long Halloween Animated Film

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 29: Actress Naya Rivera arrives at the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 29, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) & DC comics catwoman

The late Naya Rivera has one more posthumous performance coming up in the animated DC film The Long Halloween, where she plays longtime Batman love interest and anti-heroine, Catwoman/Selina Kylie.

The Long Halloween stars Jensen Ackles as Batman and Josh Duhmel as Gotham City D.A. Harvey Dent. A video shared by Entertainment Weekly begins with behind-the-scenes footage of Naya Rivera smiling as she shares that she got to hiss like a cat during her recording session.

“My favorite thing to record today was I got to hiss like a cat,” she says with a laugh. “They liked it!” Watching the clip, it is Catwoman and Batman together with Harvey Dent (pre-Two-Face). Catwoman attacks Dent, but Batman tells her to let him go. In response, Dent threatens to put Selina in Arkham, and she responds with a hiss.

Rivera’s casting as Catwoman reflects this growing trend of her being played/voiced by BIPOC women. While Eartha Kitt and Halle Berry played incarnations of Catwoman, they were not playing Selina Kyle’s Catwoman. In the case of Kitt, due to the laws at the time, she couldn’t even be a love interest to the caped crusader. Harley Quinn has Sanaa Lathan voicing the character, DC Super Hero Girls had her voiced by Cree Summer, and  Zoë Kravitz will be her in the upcoming film The Batman and voiced her in The Lego Batman Movie.

Part of this shift, I think, is not just from a general diversity push, but also from those who really found attachment to the New Earth image of Selina Kyle being Latina. In New Earth, her mother was Maria Kyle, who is referred to as being Cuban at one point by another character. This gave Selina a Latina mother and an Irish father. For a lot of people, that is Selina’s origin, and therefore, having someone like Naya Rivera, who is Afro-Latina, voice the lead character is pretty damn cool.

Batman: The Long Halloween is a 13-issue comic series that tackles the early years of Bruce Wayne as Batman and also set up the origin story of Two-Face. It very much is the story that sets up how Batman’s arrival in Gotham did help to transform the world into the costume party collection of rogues that we see today. Since I love the DC Animated films in general, I am very much looking forward to watching this.

Although Jensen Ackles will always be Jason Todd/Red Hood to me.

(via EW, image: DC Comics & Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.