The streaming platform announced that actors Chloë Grace Moretz, Riz Ahmed, and Eugene Lee Yang will essay the characters of Nimona, Ballister Boldheart, and Ambrosius Goldenloin, respectively. A collaboration between Netflix and Annapurna Pictures, the film began production in early 2021 and will release in 2023.
Nimona is adapted from the 2015 New York Times bestselling graphic novel of the same name by author ND Stevenson, who shared the first-look poster via Twitter.
He wrote, “Nimona has always been a spunky little story that just wouldn’t stop. She’s a fighter, but she’s also got some really awesome people fighting for her. I am excited out of my mind to announce that the Nimona movie is alive, coming to you in 2023 from Annapurna and Netflix.”
“Set in a techno-medieval world unlike anything animation has tackled before, this is a story about the labels we assign to people and the shapeshifter who refuses to be defined by anyone,” states Netflix.
Soon after the announcement, netizens, including those working on the film, took to Twitter to express their joy over the project finally seeing the light of the day.
Haley Brooks wrote, “So pumped to share that Nimona is back! Been working on this film since early 2018 and can’t wait for everyone to finally see it!”
Erin Humiston, a 2D animator and storyboard artist, wrote, “Oof! She has a release date! Nimona was my first project when I joined Blue Sky Studios and I spent so much time in Nimona’s world, with a ton of ups, downs, laughs, and even tears. It looks just as beautiful as I last saw it when the studio shut down. Godspeed, Nimona!”
Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox Animation had acquired the rights to Nimona back in 2015, and the film was set to be directed by Patrick Osborne. However, following Disney’s acquisition of both studios in 2019, Blue Sky was shut down in 2021 and the film was shelved even though it was reportedly 75% complete.
Debate around Nimona recently resurfaced amid the backlash that Disney faced, in March, for having donated money to the sponsors of the controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill and not taking a strong stand against it subsequently. Officially known as the Parental Rights in Education bill, the legislation limits discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, and was passed last month.
Three former employees of Blue Sky Studios said, in March, that Disney pushed back against LGBTQIA+ elements in the film, including a same-sex kiss between the characters of Boldheart and Goldenloin. This reportedly caused a “weird atmosphere” at the studio, especially among the queer employees. Despite the tension, the executives at Blue Sky approached Disney with reels that included the same-sex kiss, but the studio was shut, shortly after.
The statements aligned with earlier accusations from employees at Pixar that Disney executives were actively censoring LGBTQIA+ content.
It is notable that Disney recently restored a same-sex kiss scene in the upcoming Pixar film Lightyear, following continued push back over the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, including a walkout protest organised by Disney employees calling for substantial change in the company’s policies. The media giant also finally denounced the bill, but only after it was already passed by Florida’s governor.