In Batman Returns, how does the Penguin and his Red Triangle Circus Gang manage to get not only the Batmobile's blueprints, but also find a way firstly to remove the Batmobile's protections (locks, security systems and cocoon armor plate) and then to override its features, gaining complete control over the car?

  • 4
    Because bad writing.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 7:01
  • 2
    In a former life, The Penguin worked at a taxi depot and knows a lot about motor vehicles.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 10:59
  • Did Bruce built the Batmobile himself (well, with Alfred's help), or was some of it contracted? Lucius Fox doesn't exist in the Burtonverse, but someone had to be manufacturing all that equipment. Someone with enough connections (and with enough time to reassemble shredded contracts) could conceivably find and bribe that someone. Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 14:18
  • @MichaelItzoe, that's interesting. In the novelization version of the first movie the batsuit is actually described as cloth-like: an invention from Wayne Enterprises to which Bruce hadn't actually given a name to. I assume it was the same for all the other bat-toys. After the Penguin's joyride, we see Bruce fixing the batmobile himself... Still, those blueprints could be found by third parties, I guess, but we might have nothing but speculation to figure out how...
    – Kreann
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 15:10

3 Answers 3


Just before he shows Catwoman the blueprint, he makes mention of the fact that he's a mayoral candidate (and hence a member of the establishment). It's at least feasible that these records were held by the city and therefore readily accessible, at least to someone as well respected as a potential mayor-in-waiting.

Note also that he insisted on being left alone in the city's "Hall of Records" a few scenes earlier, the ideal place to find these sorts of details if they'd ever been submitted.

PENGUIN : Are you perchance a registered voter? I'm also a mayoral prospect.

CATWOMAN : I have but one pet cause, today: Ban The Bat.

PENGUIN : Oh, him again. He's already history -- check it out.

Penguin gestures at the wall ... detailed drawings and blueprints of the Batmobile, inside and out.

  • 4
    Why would Batman file blueprints of the Batmobile with city hall?
    – phantom42
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 10:55
  • 1
    @phantom42 - Because bad writing.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 12:06
  • Not a bad answer. I thought that the tint there was that the Penguin had actually used his time at the city hall to gather information about the children of Gotham's wealthiest families (the ones he kidnaps later). He could have gathered information about other things too, but I don't think there's any reason, beyond bad writing, for the blueprints to be there. Maybe there is no in-universe answer (so we can only go with bad writing), but then we could even say that the Penguin, or somebody from his gang, hacked the batcomputer, and that he managed to do so due to bad writing.
    – Kreann
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 15:00

The Batman Returns novelization states that the Batmobile plans were obtained by Max Shreck, likely purchased from the actual designer/fabricator of the vehicle or from a disgruntled employee of whomever designed and constructed the vehicle. Most likely, they are not the actual blueprints - as far as what they would have wanted in order to sabotage the vehicle - but rather someone's design drafts for making a replica - one of the background plot devices in the film that was removed while it was shooting was the commercialization of Batman with a ton of merchandise (a subtle reference to the merchandise blitz of the first film) which you can still see in bits and pieces including the Batmobile kid's ride that the Penguin had used as the basis for his physical setup to control the Batmobile - that could be authentic looking. If you look closely at the blueprints made for and shown in the film - which I have the official replicas of - there really is no useful information on them that would allow the Red Triangle Circus Gang to do anything to the car because they are actually nothing more than incomplete drafting designs for the external appearance of the vehicle and not technical documents with any detailed information about the inner workings and composition of the car's systems.

The fact that Bruce is seen trying to repair the vehicle - and has it fully assembled again - after it was sabotaged suggests that he does not actually rely on anyone for outside assistance, despite the logic of him not being able to design and fabricate his "toys". In the comics, Bruce is literally a genius because he spends his younger years studying anything and everything, well into his adult years, giving him the expertise to design and build equipment for his Batman persona. Unfortunately, the Burton films never actually depicted a "Wayne Enterprises", which is how the comic book Batman - and later film depictions - arms himself with vehicles and tech, so we have no real information about how the Tim Burton Batman gets his wonderful toys, how he picked up the skills required to be Batman, or where his moolah required to finance being a vigilante comes from.

  • Can you add a quote from the novelisation?
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 12:07
  • I like (and upvoted) your answer Alex, although it can potentially create more questions, like, "How does Bruce Wayne avoid being linked to Batman through the batmobile if there is known designer/fabricator for the batmobile?" As Richard pointed out, if you could add a quote from the source it would be great.
    – Kreann
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 14:19
  • 1
    Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of the novel on my shelves right now. I got it when I was a child and it seems to have parted ways with the rest of my books. It was likely worn out from reading since I loved the movie so much and re-read the novel quite a few times in the 90's during Bat-Mania. The comic book adaptation plays the scene a bit differently and has the core gang members gathered in front of the blueprints and being instructed by "The Tech Clown" - the guy responsible for all the gang hardware - in how to carry out their individual sabotage tasks on the Batmobile's systems.
    – Alex
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 15:32
  • The passage from the novel played like the scene but it switched to a detached narrative. The line went something like this: "There were the plans for the Batmobile, provided by Max Shreck's money, likely obtained from the original designer or a disgruntled former employee of that designer."
    – Alex
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 15:56

When the Batmobile was hacked, in order to open the shields, they used the electronic Batarang that the poodle caught in order to reverse engineer the frequency that Batman used to remotely open and close the shields.

Once inside they used a remote access device of their own design to take over the remote access that Batman used earlier in the film to bring the Batmobile to himself.

The blueprints were only used as a guide as to where to hide the device, which the self diagnostics of the Batmobile later located for Batman allowing him to smash through the floorboard (wow that is some hard hitting) and feel around in order to rip the device out of the mounting and disable it.

  • 1
    Welcome to the site! :) Thanks very much for this, I wonder, do you have any references or supporting evidence you could provide to substantiate this, it would really lift this answer and help make it very convincing :)
    – Au101
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 1:52
  • Can you provide any evidence for you answer? It would improve the quality and attract more attention.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 9:29

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