More Q&A From Byron Howard and Rich Moore


For those of you who thought that the twitter Q&A was a bit too short, Rich Moore and Byron Howard have answered many more questions over on Quora.  From Zootopia at Disney Parks to Judy x Gideon shipping, get more answers to questions you may or may not have had!

Check it out over on Quora, or read it after the break.

Will Zootopia ever have a sequel? What are some possible plots?

We would love that. We love the mammal metropolis of Zootopia, the characters and we are really happy that audiences worldwide enjoyed the movie as much as we did. And that makes it a lot easier to imagine doing a sequel.
We can’t imagine exactly what it would be about, but definitely one thing that we would have to address is Judy and Nick’s relationship. A lot of fans have asked us, are they just buddies, are they best friends, are they potential love interests? We left it pretty wide open at the end of the first one, apparently. So if we ever do a second one, that’s definitely something that needs to be addressed. And it’s fun to think about.
Byron Howard adds… With some of the best sequels, like Empire Strikes Back, which I just watched that not too long ago, it’s amazing to see how each character evolves and they didn’t stay stag, they didn’t just say okay well Luke is this for the first movie and he stays there or Han and Leia are this, they change. When I’ve seen really good sequels, like Godfather II and things like that, what I really enjoy the most is where they take chances with characters and do something new that makes logical sense with what they’ve setup in the first one.

What do carnivores in Zootopia eat?

Good question. A lot of predators can’t survive without protein. For example, we learned in our research that wolves cannot survive without proteins. So in the movie, if you look very closely at one scene where Nick is walking through an alleyway making fun of Judy and saying she’s never gonna be a real cop, if you look to the right-hand side of him, when he moves through that fence, there was a little box from a fast food restaurant called BugBurga. And BugBurga is an insect protein fast food joint for predators where they can go and enjoy cricket chips and grasshopper shakes and cicada burgers. It’s all ground up insect protein that they love.

What is the best easter egg in Zootopia?

There are so many it’s very hard to pick just one. The hidden Mickey on Clawhauser’s face is historic because that’s the first hidden Mickey ever on a character.
One of the more obscure ones no one will ever spot is the one of the evil sheep. He’s wearing a t-shirt that is a takeoff on one of the saloons from the Patrick Swayze movie “Roadhouse.” And so the guy who’s wearing a white t-shirt has a logo and instead of Double Deuce, it’s Double Ewe, and it’s E-W-E, like a female sheep.
And then Aladdin’s lamp is a cool one too. Aladdin’s lamp is on one of the shelves in the lobby of the naturalist club. On one of the shelves next to the door, when he opens up the door to reveal the courtyard, you can see Aladdin’s lamp.

What fan reactions to Zootopia did you least anticipate?

We discovered a huge fan of Gideon Grey online. There are artist fans who send us drawings of Gideon Grey and feel that Judy and Gideon should have ended up being an item, that they have some chemistry, you can see it when he apologized and she apologized. That surprised us, the fandom of Gideon Grey.

[Gerardson, You got noticed by senpai! – Andy Lagopus]

In Zootopia, are Judy and Nick in love with each other or just close friends?

They care deeply about one another and they would each put the other before themselves. And we think that’s kind of the definition of their love.
They’re two very different people with similar past experiences that have found each other and made each other stronger by knowing one another. You can tell that Nick, before Judy came into his life, didn’t have anyone to connect with like that. In the gondola scene where he’s sharing one of the most private parts of his life that ever happened to him, it was kind of a disgraceful memory that he’d love to get rid of. But the fact that she can relate to it and the fact that they both learn that they were very much the same kid when they were younger, like the way Judy wanted to make a difference and so did Nick. Nick wanted to be part of the pack, he wanted to go out there and do good. And then it got shutdown. There was something about that. When we were all crafting that together, that was something that we really loved. And we think that’s why people feel like whether it’s romantic or not, it feels like there’s a strong potential.

What character in Zootopia was the most difficult to bring to life?

They’re all over. From a visual aspect we would say the porcupine character was pretty complicated as she is covered with so many quills. She is complex. We’re still not sure how the animation team figured out how to make the clothes interact with all the quills. Animation-wise, we would say the Sloth was difficult. It took a lot of time to animate him and figure out the right comedic timing, having to slow him down so much and get it right. And in general, Nick and Judy were tricky. Story-wise, it’s all about them, but we knew if they didn’t work, if that chemistry wasn’t there, if they didn’t feel like soul mates and like they weren’t bonding in the right way, that then the movie wouldn’t work. So that was the hardest for us probably.

Why are mammals the only animals left in Zootopia?

In this movie, we only show mammals but we are thinking that somewhere else in the world there are other reptiles and amphibians and birds. But since the movie was about predator and prey, we wanted to make sure that the audience understood very clearly who was predator and who was prey. And when you get into reptiles and birds and fish and stuff like that, it gets very confusing. So for this movie, we just showed mammals, but that isn’t to say that there aren’t other cities in the world or other places in the world that are full of reptiles and birds and amphibians.

Can two different species have offspring in Zootopia? Will we see them in future sequels?

We usually go back to science. We think what people got a kick out of a lot when we were making the movie is that we always went back to science. If it’s biologically possible in the real world, we probably would be able to do it.
What did Byron Howard and Rich Moore learn about animal interaction that most changed Zootopia?
When we went to Africa as part of our research trip, we were camping right next to a watering hole, where during the day animals would come in and drink together. You’d have hundreds of wildebeest and elephants and giraffe. We saw these lions come in and they drank water right next to zebra, who they usually eat and snack on. And then they looked at each other and then they went their separate ways and everything was peaceful. We thought that’s really amazing that they found a way to cooperate around something that they need. And we go that’s just like human beings. Human beings live in these cities and they have to find a way to live together. And that really inspired the whole core of what the movie became.

In Zootopia, now that Judy is involved with the mafia, how will it affect her career?

We wondered about that. Would Mr. Big go straight after this? Maybe Mr. Big has seen the err of his ways? Or maybe Judy’s now a crooked cop? We think that she is smart enough to know how to use all resources in apprehending a criminal or solving a crime, without stepping over the line. And to address her involvement with Mr. Big, when they took Weaselton to Mr. Big, Judy wasn’t a cop at that moment. She had resigned at that point in the story.

Why aren’t bunnies supposed to be called “cute” by other animals in Zootopia?

We think that’s more Judy’s personal preference. We don’t know if every bunny thinks that it’s an insult to be called cute. But we think that Judy, her whole life has been trying to do something that’s unique to a bunny, like becoming a police officer. So being called cute kind of feels like an impediment to achieving that goal. So we don’t know if it’s a universal feeling amongst bunnies but certainly with Judy, she doesn’t like to be referred as just being one of the flock.

Why does Nick wear a tie in Zootopia?

Because he is trying to put on an air of respectability. He’s casual but he knows that wearing a tie makes people respect him and animals will listen to another animals in a tie. So when he’s doing his popsicle hustle, it helps attract a mark, like it did with Judy.
In earlier versions of the movie, we had talked about the tie being Nick’s dad’s tie. Because in the early versions, Nick had a very strong bond to his dad and his dad had a very tragic backstory. And so we had different things. At one time, it was like this fedora, this hat that his dad used to wear that he loved and kept and was very sentimental about it. Then one time, it was the tie. Being seen as someone to respect is probably part of the reason he wears that tie.

How will Zootopia get incorporated into Disney parks?

Well we have BIG plans to do a whole makeover. We’re doing a whole makeover from the moment you walk in. The train at the beginning of Disneyland there, it’s going to be the Zootopia Express. Main Street is going to become Sahara Square. When we do that, we’re going to get out that statue of Walt with Mickey and put the watering hole right there in the middle. With the live stage show, Shakira’s gonna perform every night as Gazelle. It’s gonna be amazing. Every part of the park is going to be Zootopia-themed… JUST KIDDING.
In all seriousness now, there is a meet and greet opportunity with the Nick and Judy at Disneyland in California. They’re really awesome.

What were the biggest challenges of making Zootopia a reality?

We would say the biggest challenge is that it is literally the biggest world that we’ve ever created at Disney Animation. The cast was gigantic, not just our main and secondary characters, but supporting characters and background characters. There were 64 unique species in total, each one with male, female, and child, and with tons of variance within each one of those. So we were able to create hundreds of thousands of unique characters for big shots, big crowd shots. The scale. The scope and size of the place made it a huge challenge.

What was the biggest difference between Zootopia and other animated films you’d made in the past?

The scale was enormous. They keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And not every movie has to be big but there was something about the movie we were trying to put together and the story we were trying to tell with this that needed the world to be enormous. And even the fact that it was about something very complex, about bias and a really complex contemporary idea was something we think was new to us. And so we wanted to make sure that the film was saying the right thing. And the fact that people around the world really got into it and really love the way the film spoke to that issue is great for us.

What were the factors the directors took into consideration when casting Zootopia?

We had an amazing cast and we got all of our first picks for everyone who played key roles in this movie. We start with archetypes when we start to think about the characters. We think about okay well this fox has to be a charming con man and this bunny has to be a dedicated, good-hearted, determined fiery young woman who’s gonna make her mark in the world. And so then we go out and we look and we make our list. And we look at actors around the world.
And just whose personalities bring the most to the characters. We cast by type also and by personality because we really like for the actors to bring a part of them to the movie, so you can feel something of Jason Bateman in Nick and some Ginnifer Goodwin in Judy. So there’s already a mask in front of the actors because of animation, that they’re removed from the audience, we don’t wanna muddy it even further with them doing a funny voice or something that gets away from who they are as human beings.


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