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- “Never let 'em see that they get to you.”
- ―Nick Wilde's life motto
- Nick Wilde is a charming, small-time, con artist fox with a big mouth and a lot of opinions. But when a rabbit cop outsmarts him, he finds himself actually helping her solve a mystery.
Nick came from a poor background living with his mother, Mrs. Wilde (his father is never mentioned or seen, except in the original version of the film). As a child, Nick had a dream to join the local Junior Ranger Scouts, as he always wanted to be part of a pack. When he was 8 or 9 years old, his mother scraped up enough money to buy a brand new scout uniform, giving him the opportunity to join a local troop.
Though he was the only predator and only fox in the local troop, Nick believed that would not matter and attended his initiation with confidence and enthusiasm. Unfortunately, his "initiation" turned out to be a cruel hazing prank where young Nick was ridiculed, knocked to the ground and held down while being muzzled by the other scouts for being a fox (as foxes are considered untrustworthy). After running outside to escape his tormentors, Nick tore off the muzzle and broke down in tears, developing a triggering fear of muzzles. Nick vowed to never let them see that they got to him and, from that moment forward, hides himself behind a mask of sly confidence.
As a result of this treatment, Nick declared that if the world viewed foxes as nothing more than sly, vile and untrustworthy scoundrels, he should not only accept it, but embrace it, subsequently doing so by becoming a successful con artist.
This unjust treatment continued well throughout his lifetime, apparent during his adulthood shown in the film, which would only heighten Nick's cynicism. Some of these instances include Nick's interaction with the prejudiced Jerry Jumbeaux, Jr., who specifically states that he has the right to refuse service to anyone, and abuses this power against Nick, openly due to the former's distrust towards foxes. Chief Bogo also displayed this behavior when Officer Judy Hopps, at one point, called Nick forth as a key witness for her case; Bogo unabashedly scoffed at the idea of a fox being trustworthy enough to have its voice heard, thus refusing to listen to his testimony.
At some point while operating as a con artist, Nick fell in with Mr. Big, a feared arctic shrew crime boss. Mr. Big took a liking to the fox, welcoming him into his home and even introducing him to his grandmother, who made him a cannoli. At some point, Nick was involved with selling him a very expensive wool rug that turned out to be made from the fur of a skunk's butt. Feeling disrespected, Nick was turned away and was told to never show his face around Mr. Big ever again.
By the start of the film, Nick appears to be well-off, claiming to have made $200 on a daily basis since the age of twelve (though the accuracy of these claims is questionable). He often works and splits the day's earnings with his quick-tempered partner and fellow fox, Finnick.
In Disney Zootopia: Friends to the Rescue, young Nick is described as sweet, friendly, and mischievous, and is noted to have a natural ability to make others smile and laugh, by replacing the magician, who called in sick, for his childhood friend, Hedy's birthday.
Nick is a fox with a slim build. He's covered in red fur with a cream underbelly up to his muzzle. He has dark auburn fur on his feet, his hands, the tips of his ears, and at the tip of his tail. He has green eyes and a dark purple nose.
Nick's wardrobe consists of a light green Hawaiian shirt, a dark indigo necktie with red and blue stripes, and a pair of grayish-tan pants. He also has a yellow variant of his Hawaiian shirt. While helping Judy during her investigation, he wears a junior ZPD badge sticker over the pocket of his shirt, originally a gift from Judy for Finnick before the latter humorously passed it onto Nick. The sticker is removed after Judy's press conference when Nick feels hurt by her.
After Nick graduated into a police officer, his fox-size uniform is navy blue with sleeves, a peaked cap, a high collar and pants with a gold aiguillette, and the ZPD insignia on his shoulders, along with having a black tie and a utility belt filled with various paraphernalia. He's also shown wearing police sunglasses.
Nick Wilde is shifty, sly, and cunning, traits supposedly common to all foxes. He is easygoing and slick, easily conning and tricking others through his charm and friendly demeanor. He nearly always has a sly smile on his face and seems unfazed throughout most of the film, as he later reveals that because of the numerous years of suffering from prejudice and stereotypes that came with being a fox, he decided on two things; he would never let anyone know they got to him, and if the world only ever saw foxes as sly scoundrels, then he would be just that. This led him to be cynical and pessimistic of the world, and he came believe that animals can only be what they are, not what they want to be. He is very street smart and intelligent, and is also good at telling what kind of person someone is, as he was able to correctly guess upon simply meeting Judy that she was from a family of carrot farmers and graduated top of her class with high dreams of making it big and living in a place like Zootopia where it seemed like everything was great because people could live equally before displaying his pessimistic side and stating she would never make it and would return home.
Because he is a con artist, he is tricky and knows how to get out of sticky situations using his words and knows how to get around the city easily managing to evade Judy and tricking her into stepping into wet cement. Despite being a con artist (or perhaps because of it), he has numerous friends and connections (most of whom are shady characters to begin with). He also got in trouble with at least one mob boss, notably Mr. Big (though by the end of the film they seem to have put the matter under the skunk butt rug). He enjoys being sarcastic and poking fun at others, particularly Judy, since she was much more serious than him and was a bunny, on occasion citing stereotypes such as carrot farmer and dumb bunny toward her.
It is implied throughout the film and stated outright by Judy that his obvious enjoyment in poking at others' failures comes from the suffering he endured and seeing another's pain makes his views about his own frustrating life feel better. However, when Judy saw more to him than that, he grew hopeful as he believed someone finally saw him for who he really was, implying that deep down that was all he ever wanted. However, when she unintentionally said bigoted comments about the animals going savage being predators and that their affliction was caused by their "biology" and something in their genes causing them to revert, he felt betrayed as he (a predator) was once more being labeled as dangerous simply because of his species. Despite this, he is quite forgiving, as he did quickly forgive Judy when she realized her mistake and broke down crying. He is also not a glory hound and seems to prefer remaining in the shadows, letting Judy take all the credit for finding the 14 missing mammals, claiming it was because he was not a cop and so didn't need or deserve the credit. He also proved to be resourceful and intelligent, quickly figuring out that the cameras around the city could help them find where Mr. Otterton was and understanding how to avoid being caught on camera doing illegal things by using Maintenance Tunnel 6B and keeping evidence of Bellwether's treachery in case their attempt at hijacking the train where she and her minions grew Night howlers went awry, which it did and also coming up with the plan (alongside Judy) to switch the serum in the dart gun with blueberries in case one of Bellwether's minions caught them and to keep the serum as evidence.
Prejudice remains a big deal for him, as he hates it when others misjudge him, but at the same time does his best to hide this anger under an easygoing facade and sarcastic comments, and easily creating a comeback to retaliate. The only time he ever breaks his easygoing facade are when he is scared for his life, or when someone close to him betrays him. This also shows he is loyal and caring to his friends. His friendship with Judy evolves to the point where he risks his life to help and protect her throughout the film. He even shows a softer warmer side to himself, comforting her over her mistakes and giving her advice. The two times Judy asked Nick to leave her behind, he refused.
Role in the Film
Nick is first seen in Savanna Central after the driver of a truck yells at him for being in the way. This catches Judy's attention and he looks suspicious walking down the sidewalk and enters Jumbeaux's Café so Judy follows him in as she believes that, being a fox, he is up to something.
Inside the café, the owner denies Nick service because he's a fox and he doesn't want any trouble, even though Nick claims he means no harm, and is simply looking to buy a Jumbo-pop as a birthday present for his son (Finnick, disguised as a toddler). The owner's belligerent attitude toward Nick prompts Judy to intervene and citing a severe health code violation, she is able to leverage a more compliant attitude from the owner who agrees to sell Nick the Jumbo-pop.
Nick, having identified Judy as an easy mark, pretends to have left his wallet at home and plays up the dad having a very disappointed son. This works on Judy's sympathy and she pays for the Jumbo-pop herself. Nick, Finnick and Judy leave the store as Nick thanks her for her kindness and even offers to pay her back (knowing full well she won't accept). As the pleasantries finish, Nick and Finnick head down the street keeping up the father/son charade as Judy departs.
The pair now head off to work their Jumbo-pop hustle. Their first stop is Sahara Square to melt the Jumbo-pop down to liquid. Then over to Tundratown where they use the snow to form pawprint molds and refreeze the liquid into dozens of smaller pawpsicles which are sold across the city for $2 a piece. Also they recycle the wooden sticks used for the pawpsicle handles which are then sold as lumber to a construction site in Little Rodentia.
Unknown to them, Judy has been following their activities ever since she noticed Finnick driving a van back in Sahara Square. After Nick and Finnick conclude their work and Finnick drives off, Judy angrily confronts Nick about his trickery and deceit.
Judy angrily threatens to arrest Nick who deflects all of her charges by producing the permits and paperwork that show his exploits to be perfectly legal. Nick is content to walk away but as Judy continues to harass him, he launches into a brutally honest assessment of her situation identifying her as a small-town girl with big-city dreams who moves to Zootopia only to find that not everyone gets along. Plus she wants to be big city cop but is relegated to being just a meter maid and is slowly discovering that no one cares about her dreams and she's doomed to return to Bunnyburrow to live out her life as a carrot famer.
Judy, now furious, gets in Nick's face and calls him nothing more than a Popsicle hustler, to which Nick bluntly states that Zootopia is not a place where anyone can be anything. They will never be anything more than what they are, a sly fox and a dumb bunny. When Judy protests that she's not a dumb bunny, Nick wryly points out that she's standing in wet cement and walks off commending her on her inevitable career as a meter maid.
The next day Judy has staked her career on solving the Otterton case in 48 hours. Upon reviewing the case file she discovers that Nick sold Otteron a pawpsicle shortly before his disappearance making him her only lead. She tracks him down but Nick declines to provide any help. Judy then insults Nick's pawpsicle revenue causing him to brag about his daily take of $200 he claims to have made since he was 12. Judy then charges Nick with Felony Tax Evasion as she produces tax documents showing he reported zero income even though she has recorded his confession of regular daily income using her carrot pen. She uses this arrest threat to blackmail Nick into helping her.
Nick begrudgingly joins Judy's mission, as she promises to give him the carrot recorder once their job is complete. However, as he is not a willing partner, Nick takes every opportunity to delay and frustrate Judy's investigation. He accurately tells her that he last saw Otterton going to the Mystic Springs Oasis, but neglects to inform her that the members don't wear clothes, fully enjoying her discomfort.
Their visit yields a clue in the form of a license plate for a limo that picked up Otterton and Nick considers his obligation to Judy fulfilled. However when she realizes she doesn't have the resources to run a plate, she pressures Nick into more time with her investigation. Again, Nick is able to help but makes Judy pay with frustration. He takes her to the Department of Mammal Vehicles, where his friend Flash works. Flash, can run the plate, however, being a sloth, he takes the entire rest of the day to so. It doesn't help when Nick cheerfully interrupts Flash with a joke that adds even further delay.
By the time, they reach the business where the limo is registered, it is closed and locked for the night. Judy angrily accuses Nick of wasting the day on purpose to which Nick snarkily asserts that as a fake cop he would never impede her pretend investigation. When she accuses him of enjoying seeing her fail to make himself feel better about he sad, miserable life, Nick continues to goad her by not taking offense but simply smiling and agreeing that it does.
As Judy doesn't have a warrant to search the premises, Nick again presses that his obligation to her is over. Judy seems to agree and offers the carrot pen only to toss it over the fence as Nick reaches for it. Undeterred, Nick simply climbs the fence to retrieve the pen only to discover Judy has beaten him there by burrowing under the fence. She then reveals that by seeing a shifty lowlife trespassing into the limo yard, she now has probable cause to search the premises and jubilantly thanks him for his help.
The two find the limo and search it to discover Otterton's wallet and evidence of a vicious attack in the back seat. For the first time in their partnership, Nick realizes that Judy's investigation is a real case with real potential consequences. Unfortunately, Nick also realizes that the limo belongs to to Mr. Big, the most feared crime boss in Tundratown, and Nick has been ordered to never show his face around Mr. Big again.
Nick insists that they leave immediately, but they are captured by Mr. Big's henchmen and taken to the crime boss's house. Nick attempts to talk his way out of the situation doing everything he can to keep Judy from admitting she's a police officer. Unfortunately this fails and Judy gets right in Mr. Big's face, accusing him of being a suspect in Mr. Otterton's disappearance even as Nick cringes in the background. In response to this, Mr. Big orders to have the two iced, only to have a change in heart when his daughter, Fru Fru, arrives and explains that Judy saved her life earlier. Mr. Big spares their lives and invites them to Fru Fru's wedding as honored guests.
There, Mr. Big gives information on Otterton's disappearance, advising that Nick and Judy travel to the Rainforest District, to question a jaguar named Mr. Manchas, the driver of the limo and the last person to have seen Otterton. Upon meeting Manchas, they find him in a state of deep fear, having been viciously attacked by Otterton, who had mysteriously reverted to a savage beast. Though initially hesitant, Manchas agrees to let Judy and Nick into his home to talk further, but before he can do so, he suddenly loses his sanity and becomes savage himself. Nick and Judy make a run for their lives, and are hotly pursued by Manchas, though they narrowly escape.
Chief Bogo and his police force arrive on the scene, only to find that Manchas is nowhere to be found. Bogo accuses Judy of failure, and requests her badge. Nick views Judy's heartbreak and steps in to defend her, noting that Chief Bogo had set her up to fail by giving her an unfair deadline with no resources. He points out that ultimately, she still has ten hours left to solve the case, forcing Bogo to stand down and allow them to continue.
Nick and Judy take their leave on a gondola, where Judy thanks Nick for his help. Nick responds by revealing his traumatic childhood experience that would lead to his stoic nature, con artist lifestyle and sympathy towards the oppressed and underestimated.
Judy comforts him, and thanks him, again, for his warm heart insisting that he's more than just a sly fox. Suddenly, Nick gets the idea to track what happened to Manchas by using the city's camera systems, with Judy having the connections in City Hall that allows her to do so.
They visit Assistant Mayor Bellwether, who grants them access to the city's traffic cams and they discover that Manchas was taken by wolf mercenaries. After losing track of their van on the cameras, Nick uses his knowledge of the city's maintenance tunnels to uncover their stealth exit from the Rainforest District and tracks them to an abandoned asylum on the outskirts of the city. Impressed by his knowledge, Judy congratulates Nick and the two head out to the asylum, finding it heavily guarded by wolves, but are able to sneak inside.
There Judy finds that all the missing mammals the ZPD is searching for have gone savage and been contained at this facility. They come across Mayor Lionheart and a doctor where they learn that Lionheart is overseeing the operation and keeping the animals confined to avoid a city-wide panic and seek a cure for their condition. The doctor reveals that the savagery may be a biological condition as only predators seem to be afflicted but Lionheart resists making this information public because, as a predator himself, he fears the loss of his position. Although Nick and Judy's presence is revealed due to a ill-timed phone call on Judy's phone, they escape by flushing themselves down an elephant-sized toilet, and report their findings to Bogo, who then raids the asylum and arrests Mayor Lionheart.
Following these events, Judy is hailed a hero, and a press conference is held in regards to the situation. Nick advises a nervous Judy to remain calm, and moments before it's time for her to speak to the press, Judy offers Nick a position on the police force as her partner. Nick, touched that someone sees something beyond his species, takes it into consideration, and proudly looks on as she speaks about her latest victory. When asked why the predators are savage, however, Judy suggests it may have something to do with "natural behavior", which is taken as a serious sign that predators are reverting to their ruthless, aggressive ways, not seen since the earliest days of the earth, thousands of years prior. Nick takes extreme offense by this, feeling Judy has done nothing but labeled all predators as "savages" which, in technicality, she did. While being confronted on the matter, Judy starts to feel threatened, and actually makes reach for her fox repellent, confirming that she, too, sees Nick as a potential savage, much like the rest of the world. A hurt and betrayed Nick then leaves the department, declining Judy's offer to join the force.
Following these events, Nick returns to his normal life, reuniting with Finnick, and finding himself lounging about in solitude on his spare time. About 2.5-3 months after the press conference, Judy suddenly returns and with a breakthrough in the case, needing Nick's help to solve it and save the city. Nick rebuffs her, which prompts Judy to confess how foolish she's been, and how regretful she is for causing so much trouble while, most importantly, hurting Nick in the process, and believes that after the case is solved, he can hate her forever. Knowing her words are genuine, Nick forgives Judy, teasingly recording her confession on her carrot recorder, which he held onto. The two then make their leave and track down Duke Weaselton for information.
Duke stole unique flowers called "night howlers" on Judy's second day in the city, and those flowers were linked to what causes animals to go savage. When Duke refuses to cooperate, the pair bring him before Mr. Big, who threatens to ice him unless he told them what they wanted to know. Duke reveals that the flowers were sold to a ram named Doug, who owns a laboratory hidden in the subway tunnels. Nick and Judy find the lab, and learn that Doug is using the flowers to produce a serum which he has been exposing to predators via a dart gun, turning them savage. Judy hijacks the lab (which is on a still-functional train) and tries to take the evidence to Bogo. Doug's ram associates, Woolter and Jesse pursue, and though they are defeated, the train is derailed and destroyed.
Nick, fortunately, reveals to have saved the evidence containing the dart gun and its Night howler toxin ammo, and the two make way to Bogo through the Natural History Museum. There, they encounter Bellwether, who is revealed to be the true mastermind behind the villainous operation. She sends her henchrams to capture Nick and Judy, and though they make a break for it, Judy is injured in the process when her leg gets cut by one of the museum's structures. Nick refuses to leave her, and tries to carry her to safety, only to be knocked into a pit-like exhibit by one of Bellwether's rams.
There, Bellwether shoots Nick with the serum gun so that he will become savage and kill the injured Judy. Bellwether subsequently calls Bogo to make it all look like another "savage attack", but both Judy and Nick reveal to have got the best of Bellwether, as the bullet was actually just a blueberry. With Bellwether's confession recorded on the carrot pen, Bogo and his reunited predator and prey force arrive and arrest her.
In the end, Judy is reinstated as a member of the Zootopia Police Department. Nick, with a change of heart towards his life, joins as well, as the first fox officer and as her partner. A ceremony is held, where Judy badges Nick herself, and the two begin their duties immediately afterwards. The epilogue shows that Nick has become a welcomed member of the force, and even a liked companion of Chief Bogo, who gives both Nick and Judy the task of tracking down a speed racer, who ironically reveals himself to be Flash, much to Judy's shock and Nick's amusement.
During the end credits, Nick joins Judy and several other Zootopia citizens in attending a concert starring pop star Gazelle. He just watches at first, but a nudge from Judy gets him to start dancing.
Role in Zootopia: Crime Files
Nick is the male protagonist of the game. He and Judy (and the player) take part in every case and search for clues, interrogate suspects, and analyze evidence to solve more crimes.
Nick and Judy are currently available for meet-and-greets daily near Animation Academy.
Though Nick and Judy are not available for meet-and-greets at Walt Disney World, they can be seen on a float during the Move It! Shake It! Dance and Play It! Street Party parade in the Magic Kingdom, replacing the Genie and Stitch as of March 26, 2016. For a special promotional Zootopia event in early 2016, both Nick and Judy made appearances for meet-and-greet sessions in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Nick was also present during 2016's Easter parade at WDW.
In November 2016, he and Judy started their meet-and-greet sessions during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
Nick made his debut with Judy during the 2017 Easter parade, which was held at Tokyo Disneyland.
Nick made his first appearance in France at the Disneyland Park as part of the 2016 Easter meet-and-greet event.
On April 25, 2016, Nick and Judy began their meet-and-greet sessions on Main Street, U.S.A., as part of Hong Kong Disneyland's 10th anniversary celebration.
Nick and Judy ride in the caboose in Mickey's Storybook Express, a train. Nick also appears briefly during the finale of Ignite the Dream, a nighttime spectacular.
For meet-and-greets, he and Judy can be found at Happy Circle in Adventure Isle.
- Nick first appeared as a cameo in Big Hero 6, specifically on one of the billboards in San Fransokyo and with his likeness on Honey Lemon's phone case.
- Nick made a cameo in Ralph Breaks the Internet.
- According to Byron Howard, in earlier drafts of the film prior to the addition of the savage serum plot, Nick was known by the name Jack Savage. After the idea for the savage serum was introduced, they changed his name to Jack Wilde, however this was again changed as Disney was also working on Gigantic and the directors did not want the name of the protagonist to be similar to another Disney production, hence it was changed to Nick Wilde. 
- In the original Zootopia draft, Nick was the protagonist whilst Judy was the deuteragonist, however, their roles were later switched during production.
- When designing Nick, Disney animators got inspiration by looking at Robin Hood, who is also an anthropomorphic fox, from Disney's Robin Hood.
- Nick's shirt originally belonged to Clawhauser in earlier stages of the film's development.
- Also according to Byron Howard, the name "Piberius" is in reference to James Tiberius Kirk, the captain of the USS Enterprise in the original television series of Star Trek, which the filmmakers were big fans of.
- In earlier drafts of the film, Nick had a father - Mr. Wilde.
- He habitually calls Judy "Carrots" and only once refers to her real name when he believes she is drowning after they evade the wolves at Cliffside Asylum, by flushing themselves down the toilet.
- According to his application, he is approximately 4 ft (1.2 m) tall and 80 lbs (36 kg) in weight.
- According to Nick's tax evasion confession, he is 32 years old. (He claims to have started when he was twelve and Judy multiplies his income in a year with 20).
- Nick does not eat meat.
- Nick's tax forms show information on him:
- His name, Nicholas P. Wilde, is on his form.
- His Zootopia Benefits Number is [].
- His address is 1955 Cypress Grove Lane, with 1955 referencing Disneyland's opening year, 1955.
- He was committing tax evasion as his records were all zeros.
- Aside from his name being true, it is unknown if his phone number and/or his address are false.
- According to the director Byron Howard in the video "Drawing with D23: Nick Wilde from 'Zootopia'", Nick's full name is Nicholas Piberius Wilde.
- Nick's last name, 'Wilde', is a play on the word 'wild'.
- Rich Moore tweeted that Nick and Flash Slothmore were in the same high school and both on the track team together.
- The handkerchief that Nick uses to hold blueberries and patch Judy's leg wound during the climax is the same handkerchief that was part of his Junior Ranger Scouts uniform.
- According to The Essential Guide, Nick's top 3 secrets are:
- He secretly wants to be seen as more than a sly fox.
- He wanted to be a Zootopia Junior Ranger when young.
- He was bullied by mean prey kids as a kit.
- Also according to the Guide, Nick likes "gullible animals and dreaming up new hustles".
- Nick and Judy's relationship is similar to Flynn Rider and Rapunzel's relationship from Tangled.
- Nick's handwriting resembles Walt Disney's handwriting.
- In Case 10 of Zootopia: Crime Files, it is revealed that as a child, Nick had a crush on a girl named Marian.
- In the mobile RPG Disney Heroes, Nick wields pawpsicles as throwing weapons. However, his shirt and tie lack their respective patterns, and his trousers are incorrectly colored gray.
- Nick appears to have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), as seen when he sees the pictures of the muzzled predators during Judy's press conference. He is shown to be visually horrified and has flashbacks of his traumatic experience as a child.
- The Art of Zootopia, page 36
- Byron Howard via Twitter, January 19th, 2016
- Rich Moore via Twitter, February 23rd, 2016
- Rich Moore on Nick's mom via Twitter, March 29th, 2016
- Byron Howard via Twitter, February 15th, 2016
- Rich Moore via Twitter, May 7th, 2016
- Learn How to Draw Zootopia Characters - Facebook
- Byron Howard's Clawhauser concept via Twitter, October 12th, 2015
- Byron Howard's Answer to Nick Wilde Eating Meat Question, January 20th, 2016
- Drawing with D23: Nick Wilde from "Zootopia", March 6th, 2016
- Rich Moore via Twitter
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