Nimona Saved By Netflix After Disney Scraps LGBTQ+ Animated Film

Finally, some good news. "Nimona," the animated movie from "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power" creator ND Stevenson is finally going to see the light of day, following Disney's shut down of animation studio Blue Sky.

The news comes as a big victory for animation, as production on the film was unceremoniously shut down and then canceled halfway through, with only 10 months of production left. The story follows a young shape-shifter in a techno-medieval world, and tackles themes of queerness and identity. Stevenson originally published "Nimona" as a webcomic on Tumblr starting in 2012 before HarperCollins printed it as a book in 2015. 

Also in 2015, 20th Century Fox Animation announced that they would make an animated film based on "Nimona," but following Disney's acquisition of Fox in 2019, the film got pushed back first to 2021, then to 2022. Controversy arrived when Disney announced in 2021 that they were shutting down Blue Sky Studios and canceling the release of "Nimona," despite it being nearly completed. To make matters worse, a report from earlier this year revealed that "Nimona" faced pushback from Disney over a same-sex kiss, with the studio asking for the scene to be cut entirely.

A spunky little story that just wouldn't stop

Now, Netflix announced that it is partnering with Annapurna Pictures to produce the film and release it in 2023. According to a press release, production for the film began early last year. At this time it is unknown what, if anything, changed from the Blue Sky days. 

We do know, however, that the cast is still the same. Chloë Grace Moretz will star as Nimona, the shape-shifting teen, Riz Ahmed as Ballister Boldheart, a disgraced knight, and Eugene Lee Yang as Ambrosius Goldenloin, a gallant knight tasked with killing Nimona.

This is the latest project Netflix has rescued from the oblivion, as the streamer has been exponentially increasing its animation output. Whether it's Oscar-nominated fare like "The Mitchells vs. The Machines," musical comedies like "Vivo," indie films like "Animal Crackers," going all the way back to 2016's "The Little Prince," the streamer has quickly become a powerhouse in the animation industry. 

While Disney and Pixar have become creatively formulaic, and DreamWorks is just churning out sequel after sequel, Netflix is filling the space DreamWorks once had as a fierce alternative for animation creators. Just look at their output last year. From "Maya and the Three" to "Arcane," they're giving money and resources to animation creatives to tell stories no one else would make.

Netflix also released the first image of the movie's version of Nimona. The film will be released in 2023.

Netflix describes "Nimona" as such:

"A knight is framed for a crime he didn't commit and the only person who can help him prove his innocence is Nimona, a shape-shifting teen who might also be a monster he's sworn to kill. 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."