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Disney Imagineers' Next Robot Is a Nightmarish Little Freak

M3GAN better watch out, because Disney Parks is planning to beat her to the punch for creepiest robot of 2023.

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Gif: Disney Food Blog

This is truly wild. In our year 2023, we’re finally hitting robotics at theme parks with the knowledge of how to get back up if knocked down, which is totally a good idea. Totally.

During The Art & Science of Disney Parks Storytelling at SXSW today, parks chairman Josh D’Amaro along with Disney Imagineers introduced a prototype robot being developed by the company, a small rabbit with rollerblades that looks like Judy Hopps from Zootopia if she were real and also a Terminator. It tracks, as the next evolution of characters created by the minds behind the Spider-Man flying animatronic from Avengers Campus, Tony Dohi and Morgan Pope. This one likely in development for Shanghai’s Zootopia land opening later this year as it’s clearly a critter with rabbit ears, unless Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is on the cusp of an invasion by Jaxxon.


Check out the video from The Disney Food Blog:


“Robotics is all about precision, repeatability and inhuman perfection.” Morgan Pope explained as the robot crawled up on stage from behind a box, Sadako from The Ring style. While Dohi added, “Our characters are all about personality, right?” Yeah sure, if the personality is nightmare horror.

The presentation went on to demonstrate the state of the art mobility of the robot, which “can make dynamic maneuvers, including falling down and getting back up, as well as a somersault. The dynamic robot incorporates motion-capture data to create performances that evoke emotion, giving Disney Imagineers a new way to bring out a characters’ personality,” Disney Parks shared in a release.

This technical wonder is an accomplishment in robotics, on that much we can agree. But as horror/sci-fi fans we can also agree this is a kind of nightmare M3GAN-style creature waiting to happen. But hey it’s okay cause it’s small, cute and can rollerblade, right? Here’s another angle from NBC News tech reporter Ben Goggin:


Shanghai Disneyland’s Zootopia themed land is set to open later this year. The inevitable robot uprising that will destroy us all has yet to be given an estimated release window.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.