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I’m making this post explaining Zoodystopia so I can just link to this whenever I draw something for that AU. :D
During production of Zootopia, the story went through lots of changes. One of the longest running versions took place in a more dystopian version of the world. In an interview, director Rich Moore said:
Byron had imagined that Nick was the main character and this was a story about a predator living in an animal world that looked badly on predators. The prey were kind of the more favored animals in the city, and he had a really bad outlook on the city. The city was very oppressive and they went to lengths to try to control the predators. They had to wear these collars that would give them a shock if they had old instinctual urges like they got mad or excited.
About why it wasn’t working, he went on to say:
So we were presenting a world that was very dystopian right from the top and it didn’t feel like a place where we wanted to be. We instead wanted Nick to just get out of the city. But we were trying to make this version work, because it felt like, there’s a story there. But it got to the point where it was very hard to root for the city and we don’t want to create worlds that we don’t like, that we want our characters not to live in. It’s not what we do as a studio. It’s not that that story couldn’t work, it’s just not the one we wanted to tell. So there came a point where we said, “well, the problem us Nick is out main character and he’s steering this whole thing in a direction that is making it very hard to dig out from underneath and even the sidekick character Judy feels almost complicit in something horrible in the city because she’s the Man. She believes that its a good thing that they wear these collars.
In that version of the script, Nick ran an amusement park for predators called Wild Times. He’d figured out how to remove the tame collars, and he took them off predators in the park so they could run around and be wild for a bit without being shocked.
You can see a lot of concept art, most of which includes the tame collars, here on Mathias Lechner’s site, along with tons of great drawings of Wild Times and its attractions.
So that’s basically it! Zoodystopia is an exploration of the story Zootopia almost was. Personally, I’m glad they changed it. Zootopia is an incredible movie. To overhaul the entire script and story with so little time in production left must have been difficult, but it made such a difference in the overall tone. Still, it’s interesting to speculate about Zoodystopia.