Nimona, set to be released on Netflix in 2023, is now officially the flagship movie for Annapurna Animation. Robert Baird and Andrew Millstein—both former Disney animation execs—are leading the newly-established animation division at Annapurna Inc., which is best known for its video games, including the 2022 feline-follow-along hit, Stray.
“We instantly felt at home at Annapurna,” said Robert Baird. “Their vision is extremely compelling and is a deep match with our values and the types of impactful stories we want to help bring to life.” Both Baird and Millstein come prepared with bona fides for days. They previously headed Fox/Disney’s Blue Sky Studios, where the duo led over 500 filmmakers and were responsible for the development and production of Blue Sky’s feature animation slate. This is pretty interesting because Nimona was being developed at Blue Sky studios—and was about “75%” complete, according to sources—when it was unceremoniously canceled and the studio later shuttered.
Nimona is an adaptation of a webcomic by the same name written by Nathan Stevenson. It will be directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane. The official synopsis on Netflix currently reads:
A Knight (Riz Ahmed) is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and the only person who can help him prove his innocence is Nimona (Chloë Grace Moretz), 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.
In the months following the announcement, various reports came out about how Disney executives wanted the animators to tone done the central queer romance between Lord Ballister Blackheart (who will be voiced by Riz Ahmed) and Sir Ambrosious Goldenloin (Eugene Lee Yang). io9 also received, via an anonymous animator, test footage from the scrapped film, which is included above.
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