In the months since Zootopia became a Frozen-worthy juggernaut for Disney Animation, directors Rich Moore and Byron Howard say they’ve heard a lot from their fair share of fans — and, as the directors tell it, one of the biggest points of interest seems to be the relationship between protagonist bunny Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) and her fox cohort, Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman).
“I found immediately that there’s one camp [of fans] that want Judy and Nick to be in love, and they ship these characters and want them to get married and show us drawings of their wedding,” Moore tells EW. “And then there’s the other side that says, ‘No, they cannot get married. Why do every male and female couple in a movie have to fall in love? There doesn’t have to be a romance! Why can’t they just be best friends?’ It’s amazing that people are passionate about it and will argue and discourse.”
Well, fans of at least one camp, rejoice: EW has an exclusive peek at a deleted scene from the film that finds Nick and Judy in something of a twee romantic mix-up. It’s one of seven deleted scenes on Zootopia’s upcoming Blu-ray, digital HD, and DVD release on June 7 — along with featurettes about deleted characters, the filmmakers’ real-life globetrotting research journey, and a forensic look into the film’s many hidden Easter eggs (some of which, like the Breaking Bad gag, you can check out here on EW).
This deleted clip finds Judy bringing Nick back to her apartment for safe refuge from the criminal conspiracy they’ve gotten themselves into in Zootopia — and waiting for her is the entire Hopps clan, visiting from rustic Bunnyburrow for a necessary check-up on their cop daughter. When Mr. and Mrs. Hopps mistake Nick for Judy’s boyfriend, it’s right out of Three’s Company — except these are procreating bunnies, so it’s more like hundreds, to be sure.
So, why’d the scene get cut? “We were looking for a moment where someone could threaten her ability to become a police officer, and we thought, well, maybe her parents,” says Moore. “Maybe they think she’s been lying to them, that she’s not a real cop, and they say, ‘Judy, you’re going home right now.’ But we tested it and people didn’t believe Judy would give up everything because mom and dad said go home. So that scene was the eventual creation of the actual scene in the movie when [Judy’s] boss, Bogo, almost cans her. Nick comes to rescue, like he does in this deleted scene, but it carries much more weight when it’s Bogo.”
Howard adds, “It’s great to be able to look back and review a scene like this. There’s a charm to her dad being so thrown by the fact that this was a potential boyfriend. When we screened it for our crew, we got huge laughs. It’s interesting to see this deleted scene because you do see the genesis and early infant form of those ideas before they really took hold. For this in particular, Judy steps up and defends Nick against her parents, but it flips in the real movie. And we gave that piece of power to Nick, and that then was something important to Judy that she can talk about in the next scene, which became the gondola scene where they level with each other.”
Zootopia is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD on June 7.