Will there be a Zootopia 2? More importantly, will Disney ship Zootopia characters Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps as many fans of the animated Disney movie are hoping? Directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore had a chance to discuss many issues at the 2017 Golden Globes, and in one interview, they have confirmed Zootopia 2 has enough story ideas that could entice them enough to make a sequel.
During the backstage interview at the 2017 Golden Globes, Howard discussed how he originally pitched the Zootopia movie and the five-year process of its creation. At first, they simply wanted to create an anthropomorphic film like the Disney classic Robin Hood, but the Disney mandate was for them to create an animated film using animals “like no one has ever seen.” They spent two years researching and even went on a research trip to Africa to watch how the prey and predators would congregate peacefully around the waterholes. Eventually, the realized they were being given the opportunity to discuss fear in ways only an animated movie can pull off.
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“Our producer, Clark Spencer, reminded us that The Lion King gave parents and children a wonderful opportunity to talk about death,” Howard told IndieWire in a separate interview published in 2017. “And I remember being shocked when seeing Bambi’s mother die. It was a huge wake-up call when seeing it as a kid.”
The difficult part was capturing the zeitgeist of bias and discrimination without turning Zootopia into a “message movie” or a polemic instead of the desired goal of a “modern fable.”
“That’s what made this one a real challenge: the manipulation of this fear of the other, people that aren’t like us,” Howard said.
In the 2017 Golden Globes interview, Moore explained that the theme became “about discrimination and racism and the damage that does to our society.” Howard said the core idea was to discuss the “damage of learning by” fear, prejudice, and racism, but then the “world around us started to explode.”
“These crazy examples of bias and fear mongering were coming into the news daily. It was something we hadn’t planned, but it made us all the more dedicated to… get the message out in the right way,” explained Howard. “No matter where we were in the world — whether it was Europe, Asia, or South America — everyone saw something different in the film but the fact that they could all find parts of that bias message to relate to, to help empower them. That was what was really reassuring to us. It let us know that we had tried to craft the message in the right way.”
The real trick to emphasizing this theme was to make newbie bunny cop Judy Hopps the lead protagonist since she gave hope that racism could be cured at an individual level. Some fans may already know this, but originally, Zootopia character Nick Wilde was supposed to be the main character. They also realized that using assistant mayor Bellweather to discuss “fear mongering and manipulation” would be best since the sheep was also the surprise villain instead of a stereotype.
“The fact that animation allows people to let go of the barriers that we see with just watching humans on screen. It helped them see themselves in Nick or Judy and understand their flaws and how to deal with them,” Howard said. “And what was great was going around the world and talking to people who saw something they could relate to on a personal or political level. Some people asked us about immigration or gender or equality issues.”
Zootopia 2 Ideas: Romance In The Air For Judy Hopps And Nick Wilde?
When Byron Howard and Rich Moore consider ideas for Zootopia 2, their primary concern is whether they can create a worthy follow-up for everyone’s favorite Zootopia characters.
While they would not go so far as to confirm a Zootopia 2 release date, Moore did admit, “From our end, it’s a great world to play in with a wonderful set of characters, and I can’t see why we wouldn’t jump back into that world.”
Last year, Moore also admitted the ending of the Zootopia movie hinted that Nick and Judy’s relationship could become a “little bit more,” but he never thought it would turn into this huge shipping debate.
“It’s so weird because half the fans are like, ‘We love WildeHopps, and they need to get together and get married,’ and then there’s this other side that’s like, ‘No! They should not get together. Do male and female characters always have to get together at the end of every movie? Can’t they just stay best friends?’” Moore said at the time.
Back then, Howard also discussed how Zootopia 2’s story would be forced to address the relationship status of the main Zootopia characters. In fact, Howard called this debate the “main issue we’ll need to address.” Unfortunately, at least one side in the Zootopia shipping debate will be disappointed, and at the time, Howard was not sure which direction they’d be going.
Fast forward to 2017 and the Zootopia directors are still mulling their options.
When asked about plans for the Zootopia 2 movie, Moore said, “There are those [viewers] that believe there is no romance and others that say they have to be together.” While not exactly a direct answer, Howard added that the world of Zootopia 2 would allow “us to discuss so many things that we don’t normally get to talk about with animated films.”
— WildeMotorist (@WildeMotorist) December 12, 2016
Is the story of Zootopia 2 confirmed with these answers? Apparently not, but it will give the WildeHopps shippers hope. Meanwhile, fans are simply hoping they’ll start filming Zootopia 2 in 2018 or sooner.
[Featured Image by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures]