You read that title right! ZNN managed to get an exclusive interview with Byron Howard in honor of our One-Year Anniversary! Before we begin, I have to give a huge thank you to Byron for taking some of his time to answer our questions! We asked them to Rich Moore as well, but he is super busy Breaking the Internet. Keep up the awesome work, Rich! We’re all looking forward to it!
This interview was conducted via email, so we have full, written responses for your enjoyment! We ask about his reactions to Zootopia’s whirlwind success, what’s surprised him, and even some worldbuilding trivia you all want to know!
Check out the FULL INTERVIEW after the break!
Byron: Honestly, we hoped it would be huge, though you never know with these things. As we were creating the world, Zootopia looked to have a ton going for it: the worlds within worlds of the many districts, contemporary parallels to our day to day human life, the natural fascination humans have with the animals, and humor. Animal puns with no end. We certainly loved what everyone around us was creating as the film came together, we hoped that audiences would feel the same way once the film came out.
A lot of people have asked about our reaction to the film’s box office. When we saw Zootopia hit one billion at the box office, to us that meant that millions of people had gone out to see the film, and even nicer, that many of those people were going back to see the film multiple times. It made us feel terrific. Plus, they gave us a cake when we hit a billion. We love cake.
As far as the awards go, they were a really wonderful way to wrap up our long, long journey on Zootopia. Years of research trips, story discussions, years of stunning art and design by unbelievably talented artists, and a lot of blood sweat and tears form our wonderful production team. The nicest thing about that positive critical recptiont was that it told us that the film’s message had landed with lots of people around the world.
Everyone worked so hard to make this film work so we hope everyone who touched the film feels like those awards belong to each of them. We are ridiculously fortunate to do this kind of thing day to day. I still can’t believe we get paid to do this cool stuff.
That first version of Zootopia was really compelling because of how bold the shock collar idea was, but it did create a lot of problems for us in that people generally didn’t like the city that we wanted them to love, and it also made the film feel somewhat dated, like a film that would’ve been made in the civil rights era versus one that has been made for a contemporary audience. Working with our expert on bias and discrimination, Dr. Shakti Butler, for many years on the film was a real education for us. Dr. Butler would often point out that the most dangerous bias is often the most subtle. That’s a lot of what we’re seeing today in our own world, and as soon as we changed the movie to talk about subtle bias and the dangers that it presents for people who think that bias is a thing of the past, then the message really starting to feel more useful for today’s audiences. So ultimately, the version that made it to the screen was the right version for the time that we live in.
- What’s Finnick’s REAL name? It’s never actually mentioned in the movie.
- Judy is one of the few Disney protagonists with both parents alive and well, but what happened to Nick’s family? Are they still around somewhere?
- Why is a Jumbo Pop so expensive? Do prices of food items scale with size?
"Just in case"…I know we're all hoping they do have something planned, but those kinds of phrases are just torture.
How exciting though, actually a chance to talk with Byron! I think that definitely says something about how far this site has reached now…
For real, stringing people along like that is just mean, and ya getting a chance to talk with Byron must have been such a privilege and an honor!
Well keeping up interest about potential projects is important, however until something gets officially green light they will never say anything unless Disney says otherwise. Zootopia was first announced in I believe 2013 and had been in development hell for a few years before that.
While I fully expect a sequel (it was a critical success and more importantly made lots of money) don't expect anything to come to theatres before 2020. With the length of time to create a Disney animated, if they had a completed script and dedicated studio resources at the time it was released in theatres then you would get a sequel late 2018
I would still say a comic book isn't out of the question if they just want to do throwaway non-canon-related stories to tide us over for the time being.
Hard to believe that he didnt hear about Zystopia term ect., its actually the reason (still is!) why i trully started being interested in stuff and art from zootopia and stuff. On the other hand, the world is kinda big…
They just always called it "Zootopia" while they were working on it.
Thanks for answer.
So yea, interesting, but in the old story (from what i have seen compiled much or less), zootopia started being, well, utopia right in the end, when collars would be proven to be pointless. So the name doesnt really work with the old idea + other things that already has been said.
All the different aproaches and ideas. I wonder what the future will bring.
I'm sure most staffers usually don't always follow fan trends anyway, at least before the movie came out.
I just hope they make a sequel…
If this is an April Fool's joke, it's very elaborate…
It's not, Andy's shown us photos and the like. We're all super jealous.
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Great interview! But can anyone delete the spam comments?