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Zootopia 2 - What We Know So Far

With the massive critical and commercial success that followed Disney's "Zootopia," it isn't surprising that fans are curious about a sequel. The 2016 buddy-cop film won audiences over with its poignant and accessible message about prejudice (via Slate), along with its effortless comedy. Since its release, the internet has been abuzz with predictions about what a sequel may look like, who would be coming back, and when it would be released.

Those speculations may be more based on reality than people realize, too. Directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore have continually expressed interest in a sequel, with Moore telling Collider in 2016, "It would be nice to revisit it again." One fan's poll on the r/Zootopia subreddit showed that dozens of people would be willing to wait up to five years for a sequel that winds up being better than the original. That's a high bar to clear, but anything is possible.

So, when might Disney fans be returning to the sprawling animal metropolis where anyone can be anything?

When will Zootopia 2 be in theaters or streaming online?

As Disney+ continues experimenting with releasing films via streaming as a byproduct of the pandemic, it's fair to wonder how a "Zootopia 2" release may look. With films like "Luca" and "Turning Red," Disney chose to forgo theatrical releases and went straight to exclusively streaming. But with the built-in success of the first movie and a guaranteed audience of eager fans, "Zootopia 2" may fare differently.

From Marvel projects to live-action remakes of classic tales to reboots of nostalgic fan favorites, Disney has a lot on its plate. We don't have a release date for the sequel, but given the buzz online, it's clear that fans are hoping it comes sooner than later to join the ranks of other long-awaited sequels. "Zootopia" was in development for two years, so patience is key here.

It's also possible that "Zootopia+," an upcoming anthology series from Disney+, will serve as a follow-up to the film rather than a traditional sequel. The series is slated for release in 2022.

However, with no official word from anyone at Disney, it's impossible to know whether or not "Zootopia 2" will be joining the growing franchise.

Who will be in the cast of Zootopia 2?

While there isn't a formal casting at this point, two cast members have already spoken on their involvement regarding a sequel. Mark Smith, who voiced the grumpy Officer McHorn, told The Sun in a 2017 interview that he would be reprising his role in the next movie. Aptly nicknamed "Rhino," he came from humble beginnings and later became a "Gladiator" competitor and then an actor.

The late Tommy Lister, who voiced the hot-headed fox Finnick, leaked information to fans during a meet and greet in 2019 in which he said, "I can tell you for sure I'm doing another 'Zootopia' with Disney." He also said they were creating a trilogy, claiming the sequel was set to have a $300 million budget. Given his death in 2020, it's hard to say whether or not he will be replaced by another actor.

Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman would presumably be returning as their respective main characters, Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde, to continue fighting the good fight.

In a 2016 interview with Collider, Byron Howard revealed his affinity for the bubbly, overweight cheetah, Officer Clawhauser (Nate Torrence), and spoke about how many different routes another "Zootopia" story could follow. This could be foreshadowing for a sequel (or trilogy), or it could be something that's explored in "Zootopia+."

What will Zootopia 2 be about?

Because "Zootopia" didn't end on a cliffhanger, the possibilities for a sequel are endless. Goodwin and Bateman have both expressed their wishes for the sequel, with Goodwin telling CinemaBlend that she'd "like to see Nick have to be the one to convince Judy that the world is worth fighting for."

Bateman, on the other hand, said he'd like to see, "The two of us, kicking ass out there. Cleaning up the streets. We're a couple of new cops out there. So, bad guys, be warned." Building upon the first movie's themes of diversity, racial profiling, and acceptance, it will be interesting to see how the sequel navigates portraying Judy and Nick's policing in a positive light without overstepping the political and social strides that have been made since 2016.

Perhaps Judy and Nick will continue to better their community, or maybe they'll travel beyond their home and encounter new animals with more complicated social codes and explore how they need to adjust their approach to policing. The short-form style of "Zootopia+" could also impact the direction of a sequel as it would have several already-established stories to build off.

Whichever way it goes, fans of "Zootopia" are eager to dive back in and see what happens next.