In 2016, Disney gave us the feel-good 3D animated comedy about a young rabbit officer who teams up with a wily fox con artist to solve a mystery in Zootopia, the metropolis where every mammal lives together in perfect harmony. Zootopia taught us that no matter what sort of mammal you were born, a ferocious predator or peaceful prey, your destiny isn’t dictated by the nature of your species.
Zootopia’s environments were lush, it’s characters diverse, and its story complex and heartwarming. The artists that brought the intricate world of Zootopia to life, with all its different and exotic districts, have released a series of beautiful concept art that reflects the imagination and ingenuity that made the film so special. Here are 10 pieces of official concept art that must be seen to be believed!
This beautiful skyline is what greets hopeful Judy Hopps as she travels from her small town to the mammal metropolis of Zootopia. There, predator and prey live in harmony, going about their lives free from the expectations of their natures. Judy Hopps goes to Zootopia to join its police department and become the very first bunny officer of all time.
This bright, colorful vista was designed by Disney Art Director Matthias Lechner, and represents the optimism and opportunity found in Zootopia. No citizen of Zootopia is controlled by the fact that they happened to be born a predator or prey; each animal can pursue its own destiny, and discover its own dreams.
9 SAHARA SQUARE
The stunning Sahara Square, a stunning oasis of palm trees, is home to all desert-dwelling animals. With its crystal pools, gorgeous sand dunes, and elite water parks, it’s a focal point for socializing and relaxation. Built to resemble a resort of sorts, it is a luxurious amalgamation of exotic locations, modeled after the romantic depictions of the real Sahara Desert, and places like the Taj Mahal.
This piece of concept art depicts it at night, when it’s lit up like the Las Vegas strip, conveying excitement and adventure. The giant palm tree in the center is actually a luxury hotel which was never explored in the movie, but would have been a great locale for intrigue.
8 OFFICER HOPPS
This dark, gritty piece of concept art by Disney Art Director Matthias Lechner shows a different side of Officer Hopps. Normally a jubilant ball of positivity, there are many instances over the course of Zootopia where Officer Hopps loses her perseverance and her drive. In those times, Zootopia can be a very big, very lonely place.
Can one little bunny really make a difference in a big metropolis like Zootopia? Told she’s too small, and too naive, she has to fight every day to be taken seriously by her department and by her superiors. And to top it off, she has to partner with an ex-con-artist like Nick Wilde to accomplish anything, violating her personal code of ethics.
Concept artist Cory Loftis illustrated this little slice of Zootopian life, with a wide variety of mammals relaxing at an establishment known as Cloven. Here, we see various “cloven” creatures enjoying some tasty libations, in what looks like a dive bar filled with pool tables, dart boards, and salt-of-the-Earth clientele.
That the animals enjoying Cloven’s hospitality are all some form of ram, sheep, or goat wearing flannel shirts, trucker hats, and spiked cuffs provides some amusement. We don’t often imagine animals like that in environments like this, but since most came from farms, the rustic, dive bar setting seems almost appropriate. You can see more of Cory’s work in the book The Art of Zootopia.
6 THE OFFICES OF JOHN WILDE
Here we see a fox dressed in a pale green suit, walking towards a small office that reads “John Wilde” and just below it, “formal hire”. It’s presumed to be the offices of Nick’s father, John, though not much is mentioned in Zootopia about Nick’s early life. What we do know is that he suffered extreme bullying at the hands of those mammals considered “prey”, instilling within him the idea that he will never be better than a dangerous killer.
Presumably, his father proved otherwise, seen here going to a humble workspace beside the train tracks. The neighborhood is dingy, there’s used tires thrown around the lawn, and the offices themselves are papered over.
Here we see a wide glimpse of Tundratown, the area of Zootopia purposefully kept at frigid temperatures for its cold-weather citizens. With snow perpetually blanketing everything in white frost, snow plows are a constant sight, as are the snowmobiles that the citizens used to get around the streets.
Here we see Nick Wilde, with his signature green shirt and striped tie blowing in the glacial wind, riding something that looks like a cross between a snowmobile and a sportbike. He passes signs for eateries that read “Fresh Fish”, as well as outfitters displaying “Wool Mittens”. It looks as though he could benefit from some cold-weather gear, considering the flurry of snow falling all around him!
4 BUNNY WARREN
Here’s an interesting piece of concept art that exposes a side of Zootopia we don’t often see; a bunny warren! This black and white rendering by Disney Art Director Matthias Lechner provides us with the jaw-dropping scale of exactly what such a warren would look like in Zootopia. It resembles something between an open-air mall and an apartment building with an open-air courtyard in the center.
Look closely and you’ll see bunnies doing all sorts of activities; socializing with friends, reading the newspaper, ordering food from what looks to be a food court, bouncing down staircases on balls, and gathering around the statue of what appears to be a famous cat.
3 RAINFOREST DISTRICT
The Rainforest District, home to sweeping arboreal splendor and lush flora, can either be a lush beautiful paradise or a wet, dangerous void. Officer Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde spend time tracking down several unscrupulous characters in the area, but also make use of its giant dirigible-powered transportation.
This beautiful piece of concept art truly evokes the grandeur of the area, with its dense trees and tall hills. With its distinctly emerald foliage and coloration, its reminiscent of its other popular film set in a similar environment, The Jungle Book. It’s not hard to imagine Mowgli, Bagheera, and Baloo at home in a place like this.
2 OFFICER HOPPS AND NICK WILDE
From the desk of Character Designer Nick Orsi comes this piece of concept art depicting early incarnations of Officer Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde. Their faces, bodies, and expressions are a lot more angular and “harsh” than their on-screen counterparts, but that’s to be expected when a character is still in the early stages of development.
Orsi had to adhere to several notes from the director, refining his artistic process until he came up with the perfect versions of the two beloved heroes. Aside from Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde, he also came up with the conceptual designs for Chief Bogo, Dawn Bellwether, Yax, and Mayor Leodore Lionheart.
1 ZOOTOPIA AT NIGHT
Here’s an incredible image of Zootopia all lit up at night, with each area of the metropolis silhouetted with millions of neon angles and twinkling lights. To the left is Sahara Square, and to the right of it, Savanna Central. To the right of that, where the blue mist pours in, is Tundratown. Behind it, the Canal District and the Rainforest District can’t be fully seen.
The central station where Judy Hopps arrives can be seen where the giant curved “horn” is lit up, and the arena where Gizelle performs is off to the right in a collection of blue neon petals. At night, Zootopia transforms into what looks like an urban metropolis in South America, like Rio, with endless entertainment, excitement, and music.