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Your Disney+ experience is about to become a little more “Wilde” with the debut of Zootopia+ this week, featuring a brand new series of short stories, each featuring familiar characters and scenes that will tie directly into the original Disney Animation Studios hit, Zootopia.
Gazelle’s lyrics, “Try Everything”, definitely come to mind when looking at the new series, with so many new and fun moments coming to fans across the globe. The creative team behind this new show came together recently to discuss what it was like to revisit Zootopia, as well as how the series will help weave together these new stories into the larger narrative for the franchise.
Director, Josie Trinidad, focused on giving the spotlight to some of the fan favorite Zootopia characters that may have not had the most screen time in the original film. Each character in the series get a chance to tell their own story.
“There are so many rich characters, and we sort of wanted to focus on the others, the secondary characters. We felt like they warranted their own episodes. They warranted the spotlight.” In that Trinidad revealed that when coming to choose from this wide array of characters and stories, it was natural to bring forward stories focusing on Stu and Bonnie Hopps, Mr. Big, as well as the infamous and small time crook, Duke Weasleton.
“The characters are so fun, so interesting and Zootopia is like New York City, where everyone has a story and you really want to delve into each character,” Trinidad added.
Fellow director, Trent Correy, revealed that they had worked on multiple variations of the series, each giving an endless amount of possibility and making it a challenge to narrow down to
“I might have had ten different versions, their world is so ripe and some of them were new characters, but a lot of them were ones we have had met…the range is huge and it really gave us the opportunity to tell different stories like Chief Bogo and Clawhauser their friendship and dynamic at the office. It was just a joy. All these felt very different and fun to explore those personalities,” Correy said.
The directorial duo also had praises to share about their cast, especially Don Lake and Bonnie Hunt, who reprise their roles as Bonnie and Stu Hopps. “With Don and Bonnie, comedic genius. So incredibly smart and hilarious and they forced Trent and I to elevate the material because they were already a couple of steps ahead of us. We had some hilarious sessions,” Trinidad said proudly.
Both Hunt and Lake chimed in, sharing nothing but praises for returning, excited to bring Zootopia to the world of Disney+. “We just explore and have fun, and there’s kind of a built in relationship,” Lake mentioned. “We certainty appreciate it and want to make the most of it!”
Hunt described their new episodes as “intelligent, and kind, and full of humor”, both of the stars hinting that they would love to return and do more for Zootopia+ in the future. Yet, with six episodes, there are still plenty of other stories to tell. This includes the sneaky and shiesty likes of Duke Weasleton.
Returning to the rule of Duke is the iconic Alan Tudyk, who was given the opportunity to bring a new musical element to his character through a brand new song, “Big Time”. Writers Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson spoke about the song, sharing that they were given the concept directly from acclaimed composer, Michael Giacchino.
Samsel describes “Big Time” as a “Queen inspired genre, leaning into David Bowie’s Starman style”. The song will explore Duke’s quest to reach the big time and imagine a new path for himself. “We had so much fun coming up with the Duke version of all these different kinds of career paths. It was just a blast,” Anderson added.
You can catch all six episodes of Zootopia+ exclusively on Disney+ right now!