Every time there’s a new Disney movie, there are new fan theories. I imagine you’ve received wind of some of Zootopia‘s new set; for instance, the theory that Nick Wilde might be descended from Robin Hood. An intriguing suggestion, but to even consider it, you have to prove it’s possible – that Nick Wilde and Robin Hood even exist in the same universe. The possibility grew on me, leading me to more questions, until I wanted to know what other Disney stories might click with Zootopia. This is where that train of thought led me.
First off, let’s lay out some ground rules. One, I’m not trying to prove that anything is necessarily so, only that it’s completely possible within the confines of the laws defined by these story worlds. That’s the fun of fan theories. Second, I’m going to assume that you’ve seen Zootopia; but even if you’ve been living under a rock, I won’t be spoiling much in terms of story, so you can read on safely, but you’ll have to understand two basics about Zootopia: it’s a world full of anthropomorphic animals (so, furries), and the movie’s outstanding theme is racism and defying stereotypes.
Ready? Good. Let’s go wild. After all, it’s a pretty big world.
Could Robin Hood exist in the Zootopia world?
Up front, one question makes or break this possibility: Have birds and reptiles evolved in the world of Zootopia?
They definitely existed in Robin Hood. So for this theory to work, there has to be some other city, somewhere outside of Zootopia, where anthropomorphic reptiles and birds exist. Is this possible? I’m going to say yes, yes it is. And it’s possible to justify their absence in Zootopia.
We see a lot of racism in Zootopia on various levels: significantly, predator versus prey, but even just among the prey, we see rhinos and buffalo discriminating against a rabbit. It’s very probable that if there’s this much racism among mammals, they might stick to themselves, and segregate birds and reptiles (the warm-blooded versus the cold-blooded); in a way, this even seems fair, and it comes down to biology. The difference in the infrastructural needs of evolved birds, reptiles, and mammals is pretty crazy.
It took enough work to divide the city into sixteen districts to support different mammals’ environmental needs; not to mention creating at least one city-within-a-city for housing Zootopia’s smallest denizens (wherein the mice probably treated shrews and moles as second-class citizens).
Somebody will read this and think, “the filmmakers just needed to draw the line somewhere, they said so themselves.” So true. And this argument against this theory actually works in its favor. If it was too complicated for the filmmakers to conceive of a city suited to meeting the needs of the full spectrum of mammals as well as reptiles and birds, then it would be too hard for the animals that inhabit the Zootopia world, as well. It’s not that the filmmakers couldn’t find room for more characters from other biological classes; it’s that they couldn’t make their world find room for them.
You could also argue that the lack of songbirds in Bunny Borough, or lizards and snakes in the rainforest district, suggests that these animals must have evolved and moved elsewhere.
That’s the case from the Zootopia side, but there’s more to be said about how Zootopia fits into the world Robin Hood created.
When Robin Hood was made, its world was designed to mimic the natural order of the animal kingdom: they put predators in power, and class in Nottingham went down depending on how big you were and what you ate. We have lions for royalty, a badger for a sheriff, and herbivorous peasants. What’s interesting to note, however, is that what we see of birds and reptiles would appear to put them in an even lower class than any of the mammals: we have an owl beggar, a rooster minstrel (i.e. a hobo), a chicken lady-in-waiting, and vultures and crocodiles as guards and soldiers (though there were mammal soldiers, they seemed to be generally higher-ranking). It’s easy, then, to imagine the world of Nottingham developing, over several hundred years, into the world described by this theory.
Back to Zootopia for a moment, to address one more obstacle. In a world where all the prey is evolved, what can the carnivores eat? Bugs, sure; they’re highly nutritious and there’s plenty of ’em, but let’s face it, Mayor Lionheart would need a lot of ants to fill his belly. Fish? I can’t confirm it, but the rumor’s out there that there was a fish stand somewhere in the movie; and this makes sense. Animals tend to evolve out of the sea, after all, and when it’s survival of the fittest, someone has to get left behind. Sorry, Nemo.
That said, in the Zootopia world, where mammals are definitely evolved, there can’t be much doubt that somewhere in the sea there’s an Atlantis built by evolved dolphins and whales. I want to see the fanfics now, preferably starring narwhals. But I digress. Let’s continue.
Does the sky fall on Chicken Little? Is Mickey Mouse confined to the clubhouse?
So here’s the deal. Chicken Little and Mickey Mouse could, very possibly, exist in the same world; but it’s not so easy to fit them into Zootopia. One reason is simply proportion; Mickey, a mouse, is the same size as Donald, a duck, which obviously doesn’t jive in Zootopia. The other reason is that Chicken Little and Mickey Mouse seem to exist in a universe with a complete, utopian lack of racism. We’ll address this one first.
In Chicken Little, you see mammals and birds all living together. (Not to mention a fish, though just how evolved he actually is … remains unclear.) For that to fit into this theory, the only excuse would be to chock it up to regionalism, a hard pill to swallow when you consider Chicken Little’s barnyard home resembles the American South. I’m … I’m sure you can see the obstacle to calling it a racism-free utopian region.
Proportion is less of a problem, but it could really swing either way; certainly they don’t attempt the same accuracy as Zootopia (which isn’t perfect either), but they’re not quite as carelessly sized as the Mickey Mouse gang. Chicken Little doesn’t have anywhere near the same level of world development as Zootopia, or as much source material to draw evidence from. It’s a virtually lawless world which has no place in the well – ordered universe defined in Zootopia. I’m going to have to reject it from the theory and, to be honest, maybe this movie is better left forgotten, anyway.
Moving on to Mickey Mouse, we have a case all its own. It’s impossible to make a cohesive argument for or against, because there’s simply no set canon. Between Mickey, Donald, and Goofy and all their separate stories and spin-offs, in movies like A Goofy Movie and television series like DuckTales and Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, we’ve seen a multitude of versions of the characters and the world they inhabit. Sometimes they even include humans. Possibly worse, they include distinctly unevolved animals, such as Pluto. There’s not much that can be done to explain why the classic Goofy vs Pluto paradox could exist in this theory.
But rather than reject Mickey Mouse completely, I simply propose a new headcanon: now properly proportioned, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy live in Duckburg and its suburb, Mouseton. They’re close friends; and even though Mickey is in constant danger of being stepped on during one of Donald’s tantrums or because of Goofy’s clumsiness, they still manage to forge an unbreakable bond of friendship, even in the face of adversity (and diversity). Truly inspiring.
Bonus Theory: Zootopia is Naboombu
I found this idea on and I knew it would be fun it run with it.
Some of you might have seen Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks, but maybe not in years. Some of you (like me) might not have seen the movie but at least know of it. And some of you are scratching your heads and saying, “Wasn’t Naboombu what Aladdin called himself when Genie made him a prince?”
For those who don’t know or don’t remember, Naboombu was an island full of, you guessed it, intelligent animals, created by the abominable experiments performed by the wizard Arathon. How long ago did this happen? Just how big is the island? These questions are never answered, leaving plenty of room for our theory. Robin Hood takes place at some point in time after Arathon created Naboombu, but before Mr. Browne and the others visit the island. Zootopia takes place years after the events of Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Maybe … 45 years later?
At this point, this theory makes room for fitting other movies such as The Lion King and The Jungle Book, or it could even fit into the grander theory that all Disney movies are connected (except Chicken Little I guess). More than anything else, if this were true, it would mean … our theory has now entered a world where humans exist, or existed at one point in time. Perhaps Zootopia is really just out there, waiting, hidden somewhere in the south pacific …
I should’ve known! The illuminati were behind Zootopia all along!