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Zootopia and Robin Hood

Zootopia and Robin Hood

An analysis of the rather obvious similarities between the basic settings (and physics) of the recently-released Zootopia movie, and that of 1973 animated movie Robin Hood, both by Disney.


--a comparative analysis by BaltoSeppala--

Given the recent release of the Disney movie Zootopia, one might presume there would be a concurrent renewed interest in the much older Disney movie Robin Hood.  Oddly, in spite of the very obvious similarities between the two fictional universes, it seems to not be the case.  I find this unfortunate, as the two movies are ripe for fan-created crossovers as well as comparisons.  Technically, it can be argued that the two animated universes are the same, just set in vastly different time periods (one medieval, the other ultramodern).

If you are interested, please read on as I attempt to break it down.  Keep in mind that there are some minor spoilers in here pertaining to Zootopia so, if you haven't seen it yet, and are concerned about such things, then I suggest not continuing.  Otherwise, read on and enjoy!  And please let me know (in the comments) what you think!

The Two Universes

Superficially, apart from the differences in the time frames between the two movies (Robin Hood is set in a medieval English setting, and Zootopia is set in an ultramodern and presumably American setting), the physics and facets of both universes are practically identical:

  • ---Both universes have anthropomorphic animals, of a variety of species, as sentient and civilized residents.  Though, in one glaring difference, Zootopia's movie locations--the city of Zootopia and the country town where Judy Hopps grew up--are only populated by many different species of mammals, whereas the village of Nottingham and, presumably, all of England (and the rest of the world) in Robin Hood are populated not only by many different species of mammals, but also by birds and reptiles.  And, unlike Zootopia, the Robin Hood movie also features a variety of domestic dog breeds and farm animals.  In Zootopia, we get hints of domestic farm animals mostly in the form of sheep and pigs.  There are no apparent domestic dog breeds (or those of other real-world pet animals) seen in Zootopia;
  • ---It is POSSIBLE that sentient and civilized birds and reptiles do exist in the Zootopia universe, but that they may simply live in other places.  The movie never suggests or even states that they don't exist.  Nor that sentient and civilized forms of domestic animals don't (mammalian or otherwise).  About the only life forms we DON'T see, represented among the populations of both movie universes, are amphibians, insects (as well as arachnids and other similar forms), fish, and worms & such.  Perhaps, for the carnivores in both universes, these are their food sources.  Unless they've all resorted to a vegetarian diet;
  • ---The most glaring lack of mammalian presence in both universes is that of any form of primates.  This, I firmly believe, is meant to demonstrate the lack of humans; that the line of primates, if they existed in either universe, would eventually give rise to humans.  So, there are no lemurs, no aye-ayes, no lorises, no tamarins, no marmosets, no tarsiers, no monkeys, no gibbons, no orangutans, no chimpanzees, no bonobos, and no gorillas.  And certainly no humans.



Nick Wilde and Robin Hood

Okay, so Nick Wilde is not actually the protagonist of Zootopia (Judy Hopps is), but he is a primary supporting character and, even if you haven't seen the movie yet, you can tell from the trailers that he ends up being a pretty good guy.  Typical of a fox character, he has the cleverness, the mischievousness, and the quick wit you'd expect.  Sure, he starts off as a dishonest, even somewhat manipulative thief and con man.  But his backstory (presented in the movie) shows a boy fox who very much wants to be a good guy and a hero.  And, by the end of the movie, with Judy's help, he gets to live that dream.  Even during the movie, the basic goodness of the character comes out, and he shows himself to be a more or less honorable thief.  But unlike Robin Hood (at least as that character is portrayed in Disney's earlier movie), Nick Wilde clearly goes through a major character arc, and we see him struggle with the very nature of who and what he is, as opposed to what might have been and maybe still could be.  It's a great story!

Universes    Movie

Now, in Disney's Robin Hood movie, we don't get to see the backstory of its protagonist, the fox character Robin Hood.  We only ever see him during his young adulthood, in his own role as an honorable thief and bandit, "borrowing from those who can afford it", which he then distributes to the poor folk of the village of Nottingham.  He still has the cleverness, the mischievousness and the quick wit of a fox.  And, like Nick Wilde, may even be considered something of a con man.  Though he doesn't prey upon merchants and the common folk, but only the rich.  And he's quite a heroic and good-hearted fellow.  The unresolved possibilities for the character encompass all the questions we have pertaining to his past, as well as what will come of his marriage to Maid Marian and any children they may have.  Frankly, I've envisioned him (for the possibility of fan fiction material) as an ancestor of Nick Wilde!

Judy Hopps and Skippy

Okay, so the comparison here is a bit more tenuous.  Certainly Judy Hopps is the protagonist of the Zootopia movie.  There is no doubt about that.  She's the heroine, and she also has a great deal to go through in the movie, including learning from her own mistakes (and she makes them).  But she's also got a bright, chipper and even slightly snarky personality, and is really quite an entertaining character!  Hers is a very well-constructed story!  But just like Skippy, the boy rabbit from Robin Hood, we see Judy in her youth, dreaming of being a police officer and doing good.  And we also learn of the obstacles she must overcome to get there.  But she has a dream, and she's determined to see it become a reality!  This is so much like the personality of Skippy!

Zootopia    Hood

Skippy, from Disney's Robin Hood movie, is only ever seen as a young boy, just having turned seven years of age.  He's an energetic, enthusiastic kid, who idolizes Robin Hood and wants to grow up to be just like him.  In this, we see the goals of the character as they are similar to Judy Hopps when she is just a kid.  Now, unfortunately, we don't get to see Skippy grow up and live out his dreams.  But, at the end of the movie, he does ride off with Robin, Maid Marian and Little John, which leaves a wide open door for what we can all presume are future adventures, where Skippy and even any potential sons or daughters of Robin and Marian become a new gang of "merry men"!


Mayor Leodore Lionheart and King Richard The Lionheart

Well, even right off the bat, the similarities (even in just their names) imply a connection...even if it wasn't at all intended by the writers of Zootopia: the "Lionheart" name/title.  Whether there is some unofficial or subtle connection in this is a question worthy of consideration and further discussion.  But the two characters play similar roles.  We see, firstly, Mayor Leodore Lionheart, in Zootopia, as a confident and outspoken leader of the city of Zootopia.  He exudes power, confidence and pride, befitting an African lion.  And while he falls into scandal during the course of the movie, he is subsequently exonerated and resumes his post as mayor, proving himself to be a good and honorable character!

Character    Lionheart

King Richard "The Lionheart", of course, is the rightful King of England in the Robin Hood movie, and a character of impeccable nobility.  He carries himself in a regal manner very typical of the English nobility (and again, also befitting an African lion), and is a master of the spoken word and of etiquette.  Of course, we don't get to see very much of him during the movie, until the closing scene (we get to see rather more of Leodore Lionheart in Zootopia).  But even when he doesn't appear on screen, characters are talking about him.  So he is a formidable presence...beloved by the citizens of Nottingham, who are loyal to him.  Even Robin Hood fights for him, and becomes his nephew-in-law at the end of the movie by marrying Maid Marian (we must presume, therefore, that Marian is a step-niece of King Richard, as there is no way a fox could be born into a lion family).  King Richard, however, is presented as a good-hearted and heroic character. 

Are Leodore Lionheart and King Richard The Lionheart related through a long family line?  Was that just a coincidence, using the "Lionheart" title and giving it to characters that are both African lions?  An interesting question to ponder.

And, in the grander scheme, can we consider Zootopia to be a modern-day version of the Robin Hood world?  It is very possible, as there are so many incidental (and perhaps even intentional) similarities which are hard to ignore or dismiss.  The questions remaining to be answered are many of course...like whether or not mammals are the only creatures in Zootopia who are sentient and civilized, or if there are enclaves and population centers of birds and/or reptiles elsewhere in that world.  Perhaps a Zootopia sequel will resolve those!  And, of course, there are plenty of open opportunities for fan art and fan fiction!  Right? 

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December 07, 2016
France Is not currently on the site
It's obvious than "Robin Hood" and "Zootopia" take place in a special part of the Disney Cinematic universe ;).

June 17, 2016
Site Booster Greece Is not currently on the site
Zootopia's director created a world entirely populated by anthropomorphic animals. In Judy's play we see that animals were way more primal very early in their history. According to the writers of Zootopia said that Robin Hood was an inspiration to Nick Wilde and the movie itself. Therefore in the world of Zootopia it is possible that Robin did in fact exist and live somewhere between the 1100s and early 1200s so its possible for Zootopia and Robin Hood to be connected

April 09, 2016
Usa Female Is not currently on the site
futago pass
I think that it was confirmed by the creators that the Robin Hood world is considered Zootopia in medieval times. Wonderful article, it's very well written!

April 01, 2016
Usa Male Is not currently on the site
O' Cap'n My Cap'n!
:mdr: Mortianna.

Well there isn't much gore at all in that version. Violence, sure. And good hard sword fighting. But compared to movies made today? Not very gory at all.

April 01, 2016
Site Builder (Content), Site Builder (Gr... Usa Female Is not currently on the site
It is! I think I may have enjoyed it more than the Disney version. Don't get me wrong, it's a great classic, but the Prince of Thieves stood out to me more. ...Of course I'm no fan of gore, but it's Robin Hood after all.

But you know, I could have sworn I ran into Mortianna in Walmart last week. lol As we were making our way out, a old lady with long grey hair walked by and made some sort of "errrrrg" sound.

April 01, 2016
Usa Male Is not currently on the site
O' Cap'n My Cap'n!
I'm glad you enjoyed it! lol It's a very entertaining movie, even if it is a substantial spin off of the traditional story, and because it's been criticized for having American actors in it.

April 01, 2016
Site Builder (Content), Site Builder (Gr... Usa Female Is not currently on the site
It's up to you. lol But I did enjoy watching it!

April 01, 2016
Usa Male Is not currently on the site
O' Cap'n My Cap'n!
I guess I could try the comparison to a live action movie. But there are many, many differences. And, of course, so many different live-action versions of the Robin Hood story, it'd be hard to really know where to start unless I specifically only tackled just the one. lol

April 01, 2016
Site Builder (Content), Site Builder (Gr... Usa Female Is not currently on the site
I guess only time will tell. But I do hope that the release of Zootopia in the will spark some sort of activity here. And if you can get this article translated for the French side, you may manage to spark some ideas, as I've noticed the French users like to mix and match characters.

The thought just came to mind, but have you ever considered in writing a article that compares the Disney Robin Hood to the Prince of Thieves? (which I did order and watch)

And I see you joined in on the avatar change. :icon302: Nice!

April 01, 2016
Usa Male Is not currently on the site
O' Cap'n My Cap'n!
True...there are only a handful of users of my generation on here. I guess, with the others, we'll see as Zootopia's marketing in the U.S. and abroad takes off this year. And whether or not we can link it up here on Robin Hood Source. After all, there is always still the possibility of a Zootopia Source on the English side, since the French one seems to be doing fairly well right now.

I noticed the new avatar. lol Didn't waste any time, did you?

April 01, 2016
Site Builder (Content), Site Builder (Gr... Usa Female Is not currently on the site
Well, in that case, these people need a bucket of ice poured down their backs. lol But hopefully, even though most of the users on here aren't of you generation, my article idea will spark some activity on here. I just hope people won't complain that my article (even though I don't write a lot) is too long.

I think I am too. lol And as you can see, I've already changed my avatar. :icon302:

April 01, 2016
Usa Male Is not currently on the site
O' Cap'n My Cap'n!
EDIT: Fixed the broken Zootopia link, which takes you to the Internet Movie Database page for the movie.

April 01, 2016
usa Female Is not currently on the site

April 01, 2016
Usa Male Is not currently on the site
O' Cap'n My Cap'n!
Actually, Zootopia's humor and complex plot does seem to be aimed at an older audience...and I think teens and adults fit primarily into it. There's nothing disconcerting, like overt violence or sexual material. But the humor is complex, and the story line is quite complex. This is not, really, a kid's movie from that point of view. So the percentage of adults in the crowd who were alive in 1973 or at least a few years afterwards, and were old enough to have seen and understood Robin Hood, should be able to make the connection.

I think your idea of a global fan news is really good, and I would like very much to see that! I think it will help. Thanks, by the by, for adding this to the must-see. That should help! I hope! (It's Robin Hood Source's first article, so it's a start, right? LOL)

I do think you're gonna like the movie. The bull appears to be a water buffalo, and is the Chief of Zootopia's police force. His name is "Chief Bogo". He's not a bad guy. But he is a no-frills, all-business, rough & tough police chief, with very little patience and almost no sense of humor. Still, I think you'll like him. And Judy? I can pretty much rest assured that, once you have the movie in your possession, we're going to be seeing you with Judy Hopps profile images, etc. lol

April 01, 2016
Site Builder (Content), Site Builder (Gr... Usa Female Is not currently on the site
There are probably several factors to as of why Robin Hood is being ignored, but I think one of those factors is the age of the film. While it doesn't sound like Zootopia is geared to a specific age group, I would imagine a lot of the fans are teenagers and young adults. This age group may not care for Robin Hood simply because it's "old" or, for some reason, may not have heard of it. But I would like to imagine the real factor would people just aren't observant these days. lol But I do have an idea (which I've been tossing around recently) of posting a global fan news (monthly), that may or may not spark some activity around the Sources.

I can't offer much since I haven't seen the film (I think I'm going to enjoy Judy Hopps from your description ), but I think it's likely that Robin Hood was a source of inspiration. I think Disney would have to be lying if they ever said that wasn't the case. lol I think even that bull, who I'm going to guess is a police officer, reminds me of the sheriff of Nottingham. I don't know what his personality is like, but their appearances are similar.

I've added this article as a must-see. :p

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