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Fan Blubbering — Zootopia: The Bird & Reptile Dilemma


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The lack of birds and lizards from Zootopia’s animal menagerie was duly noted. While the topic of fish and insects, relegated to non-sapience and predator food, has been resolved. The complete absence of the rest of the animal kingdom has not been so easy to clear up. Many fans became giddy when the creators stated they were open to the idea of having movies based around cities of said species. Now the phrasing is very important (movies of other cities) and this notion has several factors that need to be taken into severe consideration before Zootopia nonchalantly triples in size. Remember Zootopia’s message. Anyone can do anything and everyone is invited. While some people make the immediate connection that including more would only aid in this endeavor, I would instead like the viewer to imagine the implications. First and foremost, is Zootopia so creatively sterile that we’re already recycling the first movie’s theme? Are the inhabitants of this world so obtuse that they have reasoned that killing, separating, and judging people by their species is wrong and we should all live in harmony, yet we should also live in hermit kingdoms completely separate from all who are too different? So the way I see it we have four options: 1. Birds & Lizards have always been here, just unseen.Stupid beyond description. No. Negative. Notta.

2. Zootopia integrates birds & Lizards into itself. Forgoing the massive headache of not even seeing them outside the city, what type of plot would have this be an issue? Are they setting up a bird only ghetto that is simultaneously kicking animals out of the district they already settled? Why is this happening only now?

3. Completely different bird & lizard only cities in the world of Zootopia. So we get a new cast of characters and a new plot. We still get all the problems above though, you have city of unified birds but only birds, Separate But Equal I guess.

4. Have movies where Bird & Lizard cities exist in an entirely different narrative universes. Probably the best of amongst this set. Though even as spiritual successors they can carry the burden of justifying their own existence. So if you create these worlds, everyone is immediately going to compare it Zootopia; particularly the less fanatical in asking if the story couldn’t just have taken place in its originator. One aspect that makes Zootopia different from most other anthropomorphic animal stories is that being animals, not just essentially humans with animal motifs, is incredibly relevant. So we get the question as to what in the narrative theme would be so important that they need to be birds/ if we take the focus off them being lizards or birds, then why have birds or lizards? Are we taking a step backwards by having talking animals become merely literary cheesecake? Speaking on anthropomorphization, lizards & birds raise other problems that aren’t caused by an all mammal population. Another medal Zootopia can pin on is its rather hardline stance on how far it extends its humanization courtesy. Animals stay the size of their wild counter parts. Everyone has the same number of digits as their ancestors had. Indeed without this qualifier, Judy’s perseverance plot ceases to exist. Forgoing the necessity that the “lizard brains” have developed sapience, Birds face a striking challenge of possessing only feet. All wings suddenly becoming hands would instantly break the world’s own rules. Yet without such, the birds stand at a striking disadvantage with the rest of society. Lizard’s face the challenge of being cold blooded, which makes primarily lizard habitats a necessity but also restricts where and what they can do in comparison to warm bloods.

Approach from a different Angle



Undoubtedly some (if not most) of my readers are still willing to excuse the faults I have presented and see them as obstacles to overcome in the pursuit of utopian Zootopian society. Despite my prior words, I’m not completely against having them in the world. So allow me offer another line of thought. What if the differences were irreconcilable but Zootopia had to deal with them all the same?

So far we’ve explored the practical challenges but taking it a step further: imagine a complete outsider scenario, wherein you cannot communicate with another being on the one basis that its thought pattern is too alien. What if lizards were as smart as mammals, but never developed empathy and had built a society completely based around self interest? Considering the only uncontested lizard emotions are fear & aggression, what would the actual outcome be of encounter with such creatures? No pity, no compassion, no remorse. If they decide mammals are a threat, then it’s a campaign of whole hearted xenocide. If they decide mammals are useful than its slavery and if they’re really hungry than you’re food. You can keep them at bay only in so long as they measure what they would lose in retaliation to be more than what they would gain. Let Zootopia’s newest lesson be how to deal with sociopaths.

What if lack of hands has dramatically slowed the development of bird civilization in comparison to the mammals? Should the mammals interfere? What if the birds covet what the mammals have? And of course, what if Nick & Judy are opposite sides of these arguments?

Those are stories I would consider worth telling. I’ll reinforce that had they been in Zootopia from the beginning this discussion wouldn’t be happening but now we must measure the integrity of this lovely setting against all we want to see in it. Just some food for thought.



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