Zootopia - Nick Wilde

We know Walt Disney Animation is fond of dropping easter eggs into their own films as a way to give shout-outs to other projects in the company’s past or ones currently in development. Even though these references are often hidden in the background, most eagle-eyed fans can pick them out if they look hard enough. But I just learned about a Zootopia easter egg in Big Hero 6 that is so obscure, I’m convinced even the world’s biggest Disney fans probably have no idea what it is.

The sharp-eyed fanatics over at OhMyDisney spotted the shout-out, which is contained within this image. See if you can see it, too:

Big Hero 6

Got it? I didn’t either. But if you take a closer look at Honey Lemon’s phone near the center of the frame, you may recognize a familiar fox from Zootopia. Yep, her phone case is based on an early character design for Nick Wilde, the crafty con man (con fox?) voiced by Jason Bateman.

Big Hero 6 Art Director Scott Watanabe explained the connection:

Early on, Honey Lemon’s phone case was designed to look like a bear, to conjure up a ‘honey’ connection, but we came across a few similar designs in our research. I began to think of other animals and Nick Wilde, the fox from Zootopia (which was in production at the time), came to mind. Thought it might be a fun Easter egg for fans to look out for in the film.

Watanabe also shared a look at a piece of art his team created to show the animators what Honey Lemon’s phone should look like:

Big Hero 6 phone Zootopia easter egg

I mean, that kind of looks like Nick Wilde, but basing this design on an early version of the character seems like a tiny bit of a cheat. Sure, it technically works as a reference, but without the green shirt to give us a fighting chance to recognize the easter egg, I can see how fans might have assumed that was a cat on Honey’s case and not a fox.

Regarding obscure Disney Easter eggs, this ranks pretty high on the list. For me, this is about as tough to spot as a painting of The Little Mermaid’s fish buddy Flounder during one of the songs in Moana:

Flounder Moana easter egg

But maybe that’s just me. Did you notice this Zootopia easter egg in Big Hero 6? If so, well done – I hope you’re putting those skills to good use as a forensic analyst or something.

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