Seven years after Fox Animation first announced the sci-fi/fantasy epic Nimona, the oft-delayed animated feature will now release in 2023, having found a new home at Netflix, a new production company, and new directors.
Early last year, Netflix teamed with prestige production house Annapurna Pictures (Missing Link, Sausage Party) to revive Nimona, the big screen adaptation of ND Stevenson’s New York Times bestselling graphic novel. Before that, it was being produced at Blue Sky Studios, where the film was well into production.
Now, DNEG (Ron’s Gone Wrong) is animating it out of its studio with Blue Sky veterans and Spies in Disguise directors Nick Bruno and Troy Quane at the helm. Roy Lee, Karen Ryan and Julie Zackary are producing, with Robert L. Baird, Megan Ellison, and Andrew Millstein on board as executive producers.
Netflix’s official synopsis for the film reads:
A Knight is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and the only person who can help him prove his innocence is Nimona, a shape-shifting teen who might also be a monster he’s sworn to kill. Set in a techno-medieval world unlike anything animation has tackled before, this is a story about the labels we assign to people and the shapeshifter who refuses to be defined by anyone.
Notable casting additions to the production include Chloë Grace Moretz as titular protagonist Nimona, Riz Ahmed as Ballister Boldheart, and Eugene Lee Yang as Ambrosius Goldenloin.
Today’s announcement is not the first time that Nimona has received a definitive release date, although it is the first such guarantee to come from Netflix. In 2017, Fox animation stated that the Blue Sky-produced film would be ready for theaters by Valentine’s Day of 2020. A first delay saw the film’s release pushed to March 2021 before several Fox films – The Bob’s Burgers Movie, Ron’s Gone Wrong, and Nimona – were all delayed. At that time, Nimona was the last Blue Sky title officially announced as going into production and was scheduled to release in January 2022.
Blue Sky’s future was quickly filling with grey clouds as uncertainty about the company swirled following Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, the studio’s parent company. In February of last year, Disney announced it was shutting down Blue Sky Studios and that production on Nimona had been halted. Blue Sky then closed on April 10, ending an era in which the company, powered by franchises such as Ice Age and Rio, became the largest animation studio on the east coast of the U.S.