Spolier Alert: Did You Catch The Dark Knight Rises’ Lesbian Undertones?

As the tragic massacre in Colorado fades from the headlines, we felt like we could finally bring up something that’s been gnawing at us since we caught The Dark Knight Rises last weekend.

Who was that “cute little blonde thing,” as NPR’s David Edelstein put it, running around with Ann Hathaway’s Selina Kyle?  Played by Juno Temple (Dirty Girl, Jack & Diane), the nameless character was described as a “street smart Gotham girl” prior to the film’s release.

Fanboys (and girls) speculated she was meant to represent Catwoman’s longtime gal pal, Holly Robinson. (Temple’s character is listed as “Holly” on IMDB.) If so, her presence in DKR is an awesome little Easter egg for Catwoman fans.

But as Edelstein points out in his review, she also subtly skews Selina’s sexuality, even for those unaware of her comic-book history.

Introduced by Frank Miller in the influential 1987 miniseries, Batman: Year One, Holly is initially a whiny underage prostitute who Selina takes under her wing as she transitions from dominatrix to costumed cat burglar. The character disappeared for much of the ’90s, but was brought back in Ed Brubaker’s re-vamped Catwoman series in the early 2000s.

Brubaker’s version of Holly was a recovering drug addict and lesbian who acts as Selina’s eyes and ears on the streets of Gotham. She even takes over the role of Catwoman during Selina’s 2006 maternity leave. The character earned Catwoman a 2004 GLAAD media award, though she’s so far entirely absent from the current series’ continuity. That’s the nature of the medium, folks.

Despite lacking much in the way of development, Temple’s character’s cozy relationship with Hathaway did lead Edelstein and others to suggest they may be more than just friends. For those of us aware of Holly’s comic-book bio, that’s a tantalizing possibility.

Maybe the next Batman director will give us more than just a wink and a nod.