We now have a couple of questions about the hit film Zootopia (AKA Zootropolis). In chat, there have been several references to this earlier question:

Are anthropomorphic animals by themselves enough to deem a work fantasy?

Given that the consensus of opinion is that anthropomorphic animals don't make a work on topic, is there a reason why Zootopia would be on topic for SFF:SE?

  • 4
    Thanks for doing the legwork and taking this to meta!
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 12:24
  • 1
    @Randal'Thor - No worries. I like this film and I'd like to see more questions about it.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


Zootopia is very firmly on topic, containing significant elements of science fiction.


Ignoring the talking animals, the film itself is set in a futuristic world, complete with steampunk zeppelins. The city of Zootopia features impossible architecture (suggesting materials technology in advance of our own) as well as being arranged into differing environments that are dependent on currently impossible (or at least implausible) technology such as the rain dispensers in the Rainforest District and the truly enormous heat-exchanger walls that keep the Sahara Square area toasty and the Tundratown area frozen.

One of the central themes is that the police bunny must discover the cause of the disappearance of several predators who turn out to have been

given a fictional drug, making them revert to their savage pre-enlightened state.


The film has been trailed as a 'what-if' world where humans (and indeed any form of primate) never existed. This places it quite firmly into the alternate reality category.

“Apes are too much like us, so as soon as we put them in the story, everyone goes, oh the ape is the smart one. And we wanted all these mammals to seem like more or less equal intelligence, more or less,” said Byron Howard.

How Zootopia was made, talking with Disney’s animation team

Additionally, we see the process by which the animals were uplifted (through evolution) rather than simply being asked to accept that the animals talk as a matter of course

At the Natural History Museum at the end of the film, you’ll see things like primitive jackelopes fending off sabertooth leopard. There are big paintings of primative tribes of lions and zebra shaking hands. It’s supposed to be the moment that they bonded at the watering hold and declared peace. We used to have a scene where Bellweather gives Judy a speech about the fountain and he looks outside and you can see the fountain and town’s square is the watering hole where they united in peace. We actually miss that scene because it gave a nice history of Zootopia, but we didn’t have room for it.


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    dont forget the zombies, or rather the ability to genetically regress to a primal state via drugs, and then be genetically brought back, in maters of minutes.
    – Himarm
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 12:12
  • 8
    There were no zombies
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 12:14
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    @Himarm Returning to primal state /= zombie Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 12:20
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    Those steampunk zeppelins look an awful lot like the heat-exchanger walls....
    – jwodder
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 16:32
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    @jwodder - Pfft. If I'd known that anyone would actually click my links, I'd have done a better job making sure they were correct :-P
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 16:41
  • Downvoting without actually stating why you're downvoting (or offering a dissenting opinion) isn't disallowed, but it's certainly bad form.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 21:40

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