- A common scenario is to start with a human OC (Self-Insert or otherwise) dying and waking up in Zootopia, reincarnated as an anthropomorphic resident.
- A popular What If? fan fic scenario centers around Nick actually getting shot with the serum in the climax instead of faking it. This is sometimes combined with a concept from a slightly earlier draft of the film where the Night Howler actually did cause a reversion to primitive animal behavior rather than just mindless aggression, and even after being hit he remained emotionally attached to Judy and saw her as something to be protected rather than eaten.
- Many stories have been written about Nick going to Bunnyburrow and meeting Judy's parents and family. There is a great deal of variance in how this plays out. Sometimes Judy's parents don't like him, which tends to show up in Shipping fics, where it can provide the main conflict of the plot. Other times they get along just fine, which tends to happen in relaxed Slice of Life fics showing Nick and Judy taking a vacation in Bunnyburrow, or in fics where the meeting sets up (or is incidental to) another dramatic plot set in Bunnyburrow. No matter what the circumstances, this type of plot is frequently also used as a vehicle for the author's headcanons about how a family with hundreds of children can actually work.
- AU fics about Judy and Nick meeting as kidsnote , possibly with them helping each other get over their childhood traumas much earlier.
- Due to the highly dangerous nature of police work, it's quite common to see Medical Drama fics about Nick and/or Judy ending up in the hospital with horrible injuries. Many times the injury (especially when the injured party ends up in a coma) serves as a catalyst that forces Nick or Judy to come to terms with their true feelings toward the other and launches the next stage of their relationship when the injured party recovers/awakens.
- Nick and Judy moving in with each other is a common theme. Surprisingly, this isn't even exclusive to Shipping fics: Platonic Life-Partners portrayals also often make them roommates. Either way, expect it to have something to do with how freakishly terrible Judy's apartment from the movie was. In a variant of this, there are some plots revolving around Nick being homeless and living under a bridge, often the same bridge Judy found him under in the reconciliation scene. The reason given for this is usually that even with the income and reputation of being a police officer, it's hard to find anyone who's willing to rent to either foxes, or predators in general. This leads to Judy finding out, and insisting he move in with her rather than continue living like that.
- Judy staying at Nick's apartment temporarily while recovering from an injury (either the leg injury from the end of the film, or some other injury) is also a common theme. Given the state of Judy's canon apartment, plots where some mishap renders it temporarily or permanently uninhabitable aren't uncommon either.
- Nick's relationship with his mother is often explored. She either died when he was young, forcing him to hustle on the streets and stories deal with his memories of her, or she is still alive and stories deal with her varying degrees of acceptance of Nick's hustling lifestyle. They also deal with how Nick reveals to his mother that he is now a cop.
- The earliest pitch for the movie involved the adventures of a James Bond-ish rabbit called Jack Savage. Many stories have this character on a mission in Zootopia with Nick and Judy somehow becoming involved. These stories commonly have Jack develop an interest in Judy, causing Nick to become jealous with this rival for her attention; Jack being shipped with the vixen Skye are equally common.
- One of the early drafts included a much darker setting where predators were segregated into ghettos and forced to wear shock collars at the behest of the prey majority in the city. Especially after Zistopia got popular, it's not too hard to find fan fiction that takes place in a similar AU or otherwise incorporates elements from that setting.
- "Nick meets Gideon" is another fairly common plot, though how it plays out and how well they get along varies quite widely. Sometimes, particularly when this scene is a side detail to an above-mentioned "Nick meets the parents" plot, they are neutral or ambivalent towards each other, or become friendly acquaintances without forming a significant relationship. But when this meeting is the focus of the plot, more interesting things tend to happen. Sometimes, Nick feels jealous about the other fox in Judy's life. Sometimes, Nick is hostile towards Gideon for what he did to Judy as a child. Contrariwise, sometimes they hit it off very well and become fast friends, which in extreme cases can even turn into a Slash Fic. On occasion, they find out that, improbably, they already knew each other from somewhere else.
- While rarely the main plot point, a very common recurring theme in Zootopia fanfiction is Nick and Judy being an interspecies couple, and the reactions to such a relationship. Sometimes it's outright abhorred by society, sometimes interspecies relationships are more-or-less accepted, but predator-prey relationships are frowned upon, and sometimes it's just considered unusual, but accepted for the most part. Either way, if there's a shipping fic between these two, expect this idea to at least get a nod, and if it's an important point, expect Gazelle to be in the pro-relationship team.
- Since this was something that never really got resolved in the movie, fanfic authors have been known to develop plots around Nick finding out about Judy's childhood trauma of being attacked by Gideon. This typically leads to him either feeling highly remorseful about triggering her at the press conference, getting mad at Gideon for doing that to her, or possibly both.
- A fairly common premise is to set a fanfic in the Time Skip between Bellwether's arrest and Nick's graduation. Common subject matter for these include Nick and Judy's developing relationship, how Nick arrives at his decision to join the police force, Judy recovering from her leg injury, and Nick tying up loose ends in his old life in preparation to put his past behind him. The issue of how Zootopia itself responds to Bellwether's arrest, and its healing from the previous racial unrest, are also sometimes dealt with.
- Lionheart and Bellwether being released from prison and subsequently patching up their relationship is a big one, usually with the catalyst of Lionheart realizing how big a role he played in Bellwhether's Start of Darkness by being so horrid to her. Whether it's a mutually friendly relationship, a toxic one, a strained but ultimately good one, or they become a couple depends on the writer.
- A form of Swapped Roles where Nick is the big city cop who befriends the country girl is also popular.
- Bellwether having an Eviler Than Thou relative, usually male, is becoming popular among fans, whether they want to keep her as a villain or let her try to make amends for what she did.
- While the original darker version of Zootopia has reappeared in multiple ways in fanfics, especially as alternate endings if Judy and Nick didn't uncover the conspiracy or the blueberry-switch got undone, another common variation is for someone, whether Doug and the other sheep, former colleagues/unknown allies of Bellwether, or even unrelated individuals to try and continue on Dawn's work or carry out the Night Howler scheme in some other fashion, taking advantage of the city being barely recovered from all the division and chaos. And even more specifically, it's rather common for this plan to involve targeting the "glitter tigers" so as to make them attack Gazelle or a concert crowd, either as the focus of the plan or just one target among many in the city.
Fandom Specific Plot / Zootopia