Brand New 2016 Disney Animation Movie 'Zootopia' Unveiled at D23
Zoo-what? Disney Animation has been quietly preparing a number of secret projects, one of which is the Marvel superhero movie Big Hero 6 set for 2014, the other is their 2016 feature, a project called Zootopia. Announced for the very first time today at Disney's D23 Expo, the animated movie is being directed by Tangled's Byron Howard from a script by Jared Bush and takes place in a different world where animals are essentially people. Basically, it's posing the question: "What would the world look like if animals lived in a modern looking world without humans?" The first piece of Zootopia concept art has also been unveiled.
Disney's Zootopia plot summed up: a buddy action comedy set in a world where humans never existed. As reported by SlashFilm covering the D23 presentation, Howard and writer Jared Bush's inspiration comes from all the classic animated Disney animal movies, specifically Robin Hood (from 1973). Howard wanted to do a "film with animals in clothing" and Zootopia is what they came up with. It focuses on two animals from opposite sides ("flat teeth vs sharp teeth"): Nick Wilde, a fox (seen below), and Lt. Judy Hopps, a rabbit, who start off as enemies and eventually become friends. Here's the only concept art image released so far:
Here's the more official plot synopsis from Disney: In the animal city of Zootopia, a fast-talking fox who's trying to make it big goes on the run when he's framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Zootopia's top cop, a self-righteous rabbit, is hot on his tail, but when both become targets of a conspiracy, they're forced to team up and discover even natural enemies can become best friends. The entire world is meant to be designed by animals, as if from their minds not ours. For example: "A mountain is an apartment building, and there are 'habitats' instead of neighborhoods." They have a Wall Street Gerbil and polar bear karaoke in Tundratown.
No voice cast has been announced for Zootopia yet, as they're still in early stages of development. Disney Animation is currently planning a release in 2016 for this movie, so we have a long ways to go. I'm intrigued by this concept and I want to see some actual footage (which probably won't happen for another year or two). The references to Disney's old Robin Hood movie and other classic animated animal adventures are what make Zootopia sound promising. We'll definitely be keeping our eye on this over the next three years.