Judy and Nick's relationship (2024)

Even in an early pitch, Hopps and Nick had a great buddy dynamic. But I really wanted to tell this story because it's about bias and prejudice. It's important to discuss.
Josie Trinidad
This article is about Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde's relationship.

Judy's Impression of Nick[]

Judy and Nick's relationship (1)

After discovering Nick's reputation as a con artist, having been a pawn in one of his schemes, Judy grows a dislike towards him, and his bitter attitude towards the world and herself. She takes pleasure in getting her revenge by tricking him and simultaneously blackmailing him into aiding her in the Emmitt Otterton case, showing the two are bitter enemies at the start.

Judy and Nick's relationship (2)

Despite her annoyance with his cynicism and wise-cracks, Judy saves Nick's life during their first adventure, and when this is brought up by Nick himself, she simply reasons it to be part of her job as an officer showing that, despite their unfavorable history at the time, she is above treating him recklessly.

She also unabashedly commends the fox when his own intelligence greatly assists their case, giving credit where it is due in spite of everything.

Judy and Nick's relationship (3)

This is repaid once Nick, after witnessing the bigotry Judy faces at the hands of her "peers", stands up for the rabbit and becomes a willing accomplice in her goal to not only find Otterton, but prove herself to Chief Bogo. Once Nick explains his history and the reasoning behind his own bitterness to Judy, her views and opinions on the fox change drastically, and the two start to form a meaningful relationship built on mutual trust and understanding.

Her friendship with Nick is responsible for opening Judy's eyes to reality, showing that the world is not a perfect place where everyone gets along, and that prejudice is something that affects everyone, sometimes in unexpected ways, making it all the more important to call out bigotry and make real effort to right the wrongs that it causes. Judy is able to fully admit this to Nick after she, herself, had performed acts of prejudice earlier in the film, being more concerned with proving her care for him than labeling herself progressive, exemplifying the strength of their relationship.

After losing Nick's trust at the press conference and regaining it, and both of them restoring their relationship. And Judy has grown to trust Nick a lot more, even trusting him enough to pretend to bite her throat.

Judy and Nick's relationship (4)

By the epilogue, Judy and Nick's relationship is healthier and stronger than ever. The two are seen spending time with one another, both during work, as in the scene where Judy and Nick are looking for the street racer, and after hours, in the ending Gazelle concert scene. Although they share mutual respect, they still partake in rounds of playful banter, innocently echoing their former rivalry.

Nick's Impression of Judy[]

In their first encounter, Nick takes Judy as an idealistic but naïve officer who easily falls for his "Finnick is my son" hustle and he plays upon her good nature to have her pay for the Jumbo-Pop.

Judy and Nick's relationship (5)

When Judy discovers the scam, Nick easily deflects each charge she brings up to try and arrest him securing his feeling that she is nothing more that a "dumb bunny" meter maid.

However, the next day Judy cleverly pulls a fast one on Nick by getting him to confess to unreported taxable income and is able to blackmail him into helping her with the Otterton investigation. Nick respects that Judy out-hustled him but is still quite annoyed and although he tags along with Judy, he is determined to make his "assistance" as uncomfortable as possible.

So while he "helps" by telling Judy that the last place he saw Otterton was at the Mystic Oasis, he neglects to warn her that it's a nudist retreat and takes full enjoyment at her discomfort.

Nick feels he has satisfied his obligation to Judy by helping her find a tip about the limo that picked up Otteron at the Mystic Oasis, however Judy presses Nick to help her run a license plate which frustrates Nick so that he again makes sure to be a drag on her investigation by taking her to the DMV where his friend, a sloth, works and enjoys Judy's mounting frustration at Flash's unhurried pace.

Running the license plate leads them to "Tundratown Limos" where Judy again tricks Nick into climbing over the fence to retrieve the carrot pen which gives her a "probable cause" to search the premises without a warrant.

Things begin to change between Nick and Judy when they are captured and taken to Mr. Big. Nick is clearly terrified of the mob boss and although Judy nearly gets them killed with her defiant attitude, it's revealed that she saved Fru Fru, Mr. Big's daughter, at which point they are granted clemency because of Judy's act of kindness.

Mr. Big provides Judy with information on their next witness and Nick is now willing to tag along as he could have pushed to end his association with Judy at this point. Unfortunately their meeting with Mr. Manchas goes badly as he turns savage before their eyes and chases them into the rain-forest. Here Judy is doing all she can to keep Nick safe, telling him to keep his head down and working to keep herself between Nick and Manchas.

Even so she ends up saving Nick's life twice during this adventure. First when Manchas lunges at Nick, he is spared because Judy handcuffs Manchas' leg to a lightpost causing the panther to fall short. Second, when Manchas knocks Nick and Judy off the gondola platform, Judy is able to catch hold of a vine and Nick's hand saving them from plummeting to their death. Nick even remarks how Judy saved his life and his respect for her grows.

This comes to a head when there is no sign of Manchas when Chief Bogo arrives with a ZPD squad in answer to Judy's call for backup. Chief Bogo takes this failure as an opportunity to force Judy to resign. However, Nick steps up and defends Judy, pointing out that the ZPD offered her no support in her investigation and put her on an unfairly limited deadline to solve a case even the ZPD hasn't solved. Finally, he points out that Judy still has ten hours left on her deadline and bids them "good day" as he heads toward an arriving gondola and escorts Judy inside... calling her "Officer Hopps" for the first time in their partnership.

Judy and Nick's relationship (6)

In the quiet of the gondola, Judy thanks Nick for his help, and he reveals his motto to "never let them see that they get to you" and in accordance to their growing friendship, he goes so far as to reveal his backstory to her. Judy, in turn, comforts Nick and pushes him to understand that he's more than what the world sees him as.

Together, they move forward and now in better place of cooperation and mutual respect, they solve the case of the missing mammals together. At the press conference the next day, Judy expresses her gratitude for Nick's help and tells him that it would nice to have a partner as she hands him a ZPD application and marks her sincerity by giving him the carrot pen. For the first time, Nick is speechless, and he is truly touched by Judy's offer.

Unfortunately, in her speech, Judy relates her bias that she believes that predators actually could revert to their primitive, savage ways leaving Nick feeling hurt at this reveal and during their heated exchange afterwards, Judy reflexively reaches for her can of fox repellent. Judy did this because Nick was triggering her painful memory of being attacked by Gideon but Nick was unaware of Judy's backstory and so the damage was done.

Nick had let his guard down enough to think someone actually believed in him, and now he feels betrayed by Judy and storms out of the lobby and he and Judy are separated for several months as Judy quits the ZPD and returns to Bunnyburrow.

Following their falling out, Nick doesn't entirely forget Judy, having held onto her carrot pen the entire time of their separation.

Judy and Nick's relationship (7)

When Judy receives a clue to solving the "savage predator" crisis, she realizes she can't fix things by herself and seeks Nick's help. She gives him a heartfelt apology, breaking down into tears. Nick accepts her apology and reveals that he has held onto her carrot-pen the entire time they were separated.

Their friendship reforged, the two figure out how to locate the nighthowler nursery and expose what's going on. Nick's dedication to Judy is fully on display when she is injured in the Natural History Museum and urges Nick to get the evidence to Chief Bogo and Nick adamantly states "I'm not gonna leave you behind. That's not happening". Together they work out a plan to trick Bellwether into confessing her entire scheme as they record it.

Judy and Nick's relationship (8)

The film ends with Nick taking up Judy's offer to be her partner and becomes the first fox in the ZPD. While on patrol together they playfully banter with Nick calling her a "sly bunny" and Judy calling him a "dumb fox". As partners, the two balance either other as Nick's experience and realistic views on the world influence Judy, while her optimism, and idealistic attitude influence Nick.


  • In an interview, the directors stated that they intentionally made Judy and Nick's relationship ambiguous in the ending. They also stated that in a potential sequel, they felt it would be necessary to define the relationship, as to whether it is romantic or platonic in nature.
  • There is a scene which never made it past the story board process, where Judy and Nick go to her apartment and find Judy's family there, who are shocked by Nick's presence and Stu assumes that he's Judy's boyfriend. The situation plays more upon Stu's fear that his daughter is being corrupted by the "big city" rather than there being any romantic overtures presented in the scene. Judy even firmly states that Nick is helping her with a big case and is her friend.
Judy and Nick's relationship (2024)
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