Did Zootopia Originally NOT Star Judy Hopps?

Zootopia star, Judy Hopps

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: “Zootopia” originally starred a different character other than Judy Hopps.

Sometimes, it seems as though these movie legends that we feature give off the wrong impression about about how movies normally work. We’re always talking about how some movie was drastically changed at the last minute, but for the most part, that’s not how things go. Most of the time, movies follow the same basic script that they had from the beginning of the film process. This is especially true with animated films, as they take so much longer to make, so typically everything is settled with an animated film well before the film is actually set to be released. Of course, that means when there are exceptions to this typical process, they stand out more, especially with animated films, where dramatically altering a film late in the process is quite costly.

In the past, we’ve discussed how the original story for Toy Story was scrapped so late in the process that they almost had to cancel the film’s release period. We’ve seen how Beauty and the Beast scrapped its early work to revamp Belle and how “Frozen” had to throw out a bunch of animation when they decided that Elsa was no longer the villain of the film. Similarly, then, the recent Disney hit film, Zooptopia, had to get rid of a lot of finished work when they decided just a year before the film was set to be released, that the film was starring the wrong character.

Zootopia is about a young rabbit police officer named Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) who fights stereotypes in the anthropomoraphic world of Zooptia, as rabbits are not seen as the sort of animal that you would typically see working as a police officer. Her pluck and moxie carry her through, as well as her optimistic way of looking at life.

Judy, though, was NOT originally the star of the film!
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