Nimona: A Shape-Shifting Teen Defies Conformity in This Animated Fantasy Adventure Coming to Netflix in 2023

Originally a web comic by Noelle Stevenson, Nimona tells the story of a shape-shifting teen who refuses to be defined by her appearance. The series is beloved in queer circles for its inclusivity and representation.

Production on the animated movie, which adapted the Nimona graphic novel by Stevenson, has been on a bumpy production path. But a partnership with Annapurna Pictures and DNEG Animation has put the project back on track and set for release on Netflix.

The Story

Nimona is the first graphic novel from Noelle Stevenson, a Maryland Institute College of Art graduate who began drawing the title character’s adventures online in 2012 and published it as a webcomic over several years. The series won Slate’s Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Web Comic of the Year and was later collected into a full-length graphic novel.

Nimona takes place in a fantasy kingdom with subverted fairy tale tropes, featuring villain Lord Ballister Blackheart and his shapeshifter sidekick Nimona. Both of them are trained in the Institution, a law enforcement agency and hero training center that keeps order.

While Ballister and Nimona’s relationship is complicated, it’s endearing and well-realized. They don’t always approve of each other, but they care about each other and do everything they can to protect each other.

The story is complex and nuanced, exploring themes of queerness, gender identity, and the undermining of social institutions. ND Stevenson has taken his experience with these topics and crafted a powerful story that’s sure to please young and old alike.

The Cast

Netflix has stepped in to rescue a Disney-scrapped adaptation of Nimona, the acclaimed fantasy comic by ND Stevenson. Based on the New York Times bestselling graphic novel, the film follows Knight Ballister Blackheart (Riz Ahmed) who is framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Only the shapeshifter Nimona, a teen with the ability to change her body and size in any way, can help him prove his innocence.

It’s a story that explores themes of queerness, gender identity and the undermining of traditional social institutions. It also has an abundance of charm, and with the talent behind this cast, it’s sure to be a hit.

Chloe Grace Moretz (“Kick-Ass”) voices the title character, while Riz Ahmed (Rogue One) and Eugene Lee Yang (“Spring Bloom”) will voice Ballister Blackheart and Ambrosius Goldenloin. The trio have all dipped their toes in different areas of the industry, but they’ve proven themselves with their support for the LGBTQ+ community.

The Trailer

Nimona is an enigmatic shapeshifting teen who’s the only person who can help a knight prove his innocence after he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit. She’s a bit cocksure and brash, but she’s also troubled by her past.

In the comic, Nimona can split herself into different shapes driven by whatever emotion she’s feeling. This gives her a lot of flexibility, but it can also make her dangerous.

She’s not afraid of violence or killing, but she doesn’t live by a strict code of honor. That’s a major contrast to her villain, Lord Ballister Blackheart, who lives by his honor and rules with a strict code of law.

Despite some setbacks, Netflix and Annapurna Pictures are finally back on track to make Nimona, the Nebula Award-nominated graphic novel by ND Stevenson. Production started early last year and now the film is set to release on the streaming platform sometime in 2023.

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Release Date

After years of development, a movie adaptation of ND Stevenson’s comic series Nimona is finally coming to Netflix. The animated film, directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane (Spies in Disguise), is set to be released sometime in 2023.

The story centers around shapeshifting teen Nimona, who is the only person who can save a knight named Ballister Blackheart when he is framed for a crime he didn’t commit. The techno-medieval animated adventure also explores themes of labeling and identity.

It’s based on a series of bestselling comics, which explore topics like queerness and gender identity. Its protagonist, Nimona, refuses to be defined by her appearance or identity.

Originally slated for release by Blue Sky Studios, Nimona was reportedly 75 percent complete before Disney shuttered the studio in 2021. Business Insider reports that Disney executives took issue with the film’s LGBTQ themes and even pressured animators to remove a same- non child sense from internal presentations about the project.

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