Yesterday at D23 expo, Walt Disney Animation Studios announced Zootopia (working title), a feature slated for 2016 that will be directed by Byron Howard (Bolt, Tangled) and written by Jared Bush (a writer on the TV series All of Us). The film’s set-up is standard buddy-cop comedy, in which a fox named Nick Wilde who is framed for a crime he didn’t commit teams up with rabbit cop Lt. Judy Hops. The twist is that the entire film is set in a world in which humans never existed (a la Pixar’s Cars) and animals have built everything. Entertainment Weekly elaborated on this conceit:
[Disney] also displayed concept images of Zootopia’s title city. “One of the key concepts is if you squint at any frame of film you might think you’re looking at an animal in a natural environment,” Howard said. He then showed a frame of a snow-covered Alpine mountain, which faded into an irregularly shaped white pyramid luxury hotel. Just like New York has Chinatown and Little Italy, Zootopia has distinct regional neighborhoods like Tundratown, Sahara Square, Little Rodenta (the bad part of town, populated by vermin), and Burrowborough, populated by millions of bunnies.