Than on a surfboard out at sea
Lingering in the ocean blue
And if I had one wish come true
I'd surf till the sun sets
Beyond the horizon
ʻĀwikiwiki, mai lohilohi
Lawe mai i ko papa heʻe nalu
Flyin' by on the Hawaiian roller coaster ride
It mainly features the adventures and antics of the titular duo of Lilo Pelekai, a highly eccentric orphaned Hawaiian human girl who loves hula, surfing, horror, B-movies, photography of overweight tourists, and Elvis Presley; and her "dog" Stitch, an illegally-made, genetically-engineered, blue-furred, koala-like alien creature originally called Experiment 626 who was initially made to cause intergalactic chaos and destruction before he met her. They live together in Kokaua Town, a small Hawaiian town on the island of Kauaʻi, with their equally quirky ʻohana, a Hawaiian term for a concept of extended family. Their unique family primarily includes Lilo's overstressed but understanding older sister and legal guardian Nani, Stitch's four-eyed Mad Scientist/"Evil Genius" creator Dr. Jumba Jookiba, a one-eyed, three-legged, Earth-loving, effeminate alien called Wendy Pleakley, and Stitch's many genetic experiment "cousins" who were also created by Jumba.
The original film was a surprise and much-needed critical and commercial success for Disney; in the era when the first film was released, their feature animation studio wasn't doing so well after the Disney Renaissance ended in 1999. Upon the film becoming a hit, Disney quickly went to work on making a whole bunch of sequel material and marketed the living hell out of Stitch, which resulted in him becoming Disney's first iconic animated character of the 21st century. However, after 2006, the franchise became a flash in the pan to North Americans (especially as computed-animated films became the norm), so Disney moved it to East Asia where it remains consistently popular. The Spin-Off TV shows produced over there focused on Stitch ending up in the countries where those shows are produced, having him paired with other human girls who replace Lilo as his new best friend. Nevertheless, this oddball of a franchise remains beloved by Disney fans everywhere who relate to its themes finding love and belonging in each other when you have no one else to turn to. The mischievous yet cute and fluffy Stitch continues to receive regular global promotion by Disney to this day, especially through a lot of crossovers.
Films and televisionThe films and TV series are franchise's main works.
Main continuityThe main continuity, lasting from 2002 to 2006, form the definitive canon of the franchise.* This is where the franchise was actually focused on Lilo Pelekai and Stitch living their lives on Kauaʻi. It's also known as either the Lilo continuity (for the aforementioned reason) or the Western continuity (since they were made primarily in the Western world).
- Lilo & Stitch (2002): The film that started it all. The titular duo meet when he escapes custody and crash lands on Earth, where he lets himself get adopted by her to avoid capture. Over the course of a couple days, they develop a close bond which causes him to reconsider and then defy his original purpose.
- Stitch! The Movie (2003): The Direct-to-Video Pilot Movie of the TV series mentioned directly below. Jumba's former partner-in-crime Dr. Hämsterviel has him kidnapped in order to get the other 625 experiments that Jumba created. Lilo and Stitch activate one of them in order to both save "Uncle" Jumba and free Stitch's "cousins".
- Lilo & Stitch: The Series (2003—2006): A 65-Episode Cartoon that continues from Stitch! The Movie where the titular duo set out to hunt down and rehabilitate the remaining experiments. This show is also the first and only Disney animated sequel TV series to be given a Shout-Out in a later DAC film. (See Oddball in the Series below.)
- Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (2005): A Direct-to-Video interquel set between the first and second (released) films that serves as the former's direct sequel. When Lilo prepares for an upcoming hula competition, Stitch starts reverting to his destructive programming, causing serious strains in their friendship.
- The Origin of Stitch (2005): A Short Film included with Lilo & Stitch 2, also set before Stitch! The Movie. Stitch discovers what kinds of beasts Jumba used to create him, gets hints about the other 625 experiments, and is also reminded of his original purpose, much to his horror. However, Jumba comes by to remind Stitch about what he has truly become.
- Leroy & Stitch (2006): The Grand Finale of the first TV series and the original Western parts of the franchise. After completing their mission to rehabilitate the experiments, Lilo, Stitch, Jumba, and Pleakley go their separate ways. However, Hämsterviel gets broken out of prison and forces Jumba to create and clone a new experiment for him in order to take over the galaxy and kill off Stitch's "cousins".
Post-Lilo spin-offsAs mentioned in the introduction, the franchise has been focusing primarily on Stitch without Lilo since the main continuity ended in 2006, hence "Post-Lilo". The animated spin-off series, produced in East Asia, have been very controversial within the franchise's Western fanbase, with those in the Anglosphere disputing whether or not these are in the same continuity as the films and TV series of the early-to-mid 2000s.
- "Stitch Meets High School Musical" (2007): Exactly What It Says on the Tin; Stitch (and friends) play a friendly basketball game in a short anime parody of High School Musical. It's complete filler to the franchise and has no bearing on the canon whatsoever.
- Stitch! (2008—2011; additional specials aired in 2012 and 2015): An anime produced by Madhouse and later Shin-Ei Animation. Stitch separates from Lilo over a misunderstanding, ending up on a fictional Okinawan island where he becomes best friends with a local girl named Yuna and goes on Science Fantasy adventures with her. Chronologically the last entry of the franchisenote if this series is seen as canonical. This show's canonicity is widely disputed, and its run in the U.S. was very brief.note
- Stitch & Ai (2017): A Chinese animated series co-produced with American animators. Stitch gets kidnapped from Lilo by space criminals and escapes to Chinese mountains where he befriends a girl over there named Ai. More Science Fantasy adventures happen, but a Dark Secret about Stitch that only Jumba knows about is ready to be unleashed, threatening to ruin the Earth. Originally produced in English, its Mandarin dub was released first in March 2017. The show made its English debut in February 2018. Chronologically the penultimate entry in the franchisenote if this series is seen as canonical, although it was produced without any real consideration towards the anime and thus may be set on an Alternate Timeline differing from that show. Its canonicity is also disputed despite some of the aforementioned American animators actually having worked on the first TV series. However, the show did receive a free, near-complete digital streaming release in the U.S.note via DisneyNow (a TV Everywhere service and app) on December 1, 2019.
- Lilo & Stitch (TBA): A live-action/CGI remake of the film is reported to be in development. It will be produced by Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich (Aladdin (2019)), and written by Mike Van Waes.
- Comic Zone: Lilo & Stitch: Disney Adventures ran a series of prequel comics before the release of the original film that detailed what the titular duo's lives were like beforehand. More non-prequel comics were made later on as a tie-in to Lilo & Stitch: The Series, and all of the strips were later compiled together in a book release titled Comic Zone Vol. 1: Lilo & Stitch. Although the prequel comics were made non-canonical after Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, they are notable for introducing not only the idea of experiments other than Stitch, but even later major character Experiment 625 (Reuben).
Theme park attractions
- Stitch's Great Escape! (2004—present): A very infamous "theater-in-the-round" ride in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom that is set before the events of the first film, detailing Stitch's first run-in with the United Galactic Federation. This ride has been operating seasonally since October 2016, although it hasn't operated since January 6, 2018 and the ride's continued existence has been in limbo since.
- Stitch Encounternote (2006—present): A fifteen-minute digital puppetry shownote in non-American Disney resorts where Stitch playfully interacts with park guests.
- The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents Aloha e Komo Mai! (2008—present): An incarnation of the classic attraction found exclusively in Tokyo Disneyland where Stitch messes with the birds and plants of the show. It features the songs "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride" from the original film and the titular "Aloha, E Komo Mai" from Lilo & Stitch: The Series.
Non-crossoverMost of these games are covered in a separate video game page for the franchise.
- Disney's Lilo & Stitch (GBA; 2002): A side-scrolling Shoot 'em Up Platform Game. Lilo gets kidnapped by an intergalactic bounty hunter working for a mad scientist who wants to use her as food for his genetically-modified mosquito army, and Stitch must go out to save her. A hidden gem among Game Boy Advance games.
- Disney's Lilo & Stitch: Trouble in Paradise (2002): A Crash Bandicoot-style Platform Game for PlayStationnote and Microsoft Windows where players play as Stitch and a Lilo with voodoo powers to defeat enemies around Kauaʻi.
- Disney's Stitch: Experiment 626 (2002): A PlayStation 2 3D Platform Game. Set up as a prequel to the first film,note 626 must collect alien DNA for Jumba's illegal genetic experimentations. Notably, this is one of the first spin-off material to introduce an experiment other than Stitch (Experiment 621, later named Chopsuey, who only appears in this game).
- Lilo & Stitch 2: Hämsterviel Havoc (2004): An action-platform game for Game Boy Advance that is based on Lilo & Stitch: The Series, but is the standalone sequel to the previous Lilo & Stitch GBA game. Players can receive help from and even play as some of Stitch's "cousins" in this game.
- Disney Stitch Jam (2009 in Japan, 2010 in North America and Europe): A Rhythm Game for Nintendo DS that is based on the Stitch! anime. Gantu and Hämsterviel kidnap Stitch's Love Interest Angel and he has to rescue her. Along with Stitch, players can play as Angel, Reuben, and Felix upon unlocking those experiments. The United States actually received this game over a year before the anime's brief run over there.
- Motto! Stitch! DS: Rhythm de Rakugaki Daisakusen ♪note (2010): The Japanese-exclusive sequel to Stitch Jam, containing more features, characters, and experiments.
- Kingdom Hearts (2002—present): The Disney and Square Enix video game series feature this franchise's characters and settings.
- Kingdom Hearts II (2005): Stitch is one of Sora's summons in the game.
- Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (2010): The game features a world called "Deep Space" where the events that happen in there serves as a spiritual prequel to the events of the original Lilo & Stitch film.
- Kingdom Hearts III (2019): Stitch returns as one of Sora's summons again.
- Disney Universe (2011): A Stitch costume is available in the game.
- Kinect: Disneyland Adventures (2011): Players can meet Stitch in Disneyland's Tomorrowland, and he will also give quests to players.
- Disney Infinity (2013—2016): The first game (2013) had a couple Lilo & Stitch power discs. Stitch became a playable character starting with the second game (2014) and a Toy Box Expansion Game themed after the franchise was made for that game with Pleakley making an appearance. Some L&S-themed toys were also added in that game.
- Disney Magical World (2013 in Japan, 2014 in North America and Europe) and Disney Magical World 2 (2015 in Japan, 2016 in North America, Europe, and Australia): Lilo and Stitch appear in Castleton in the first game. They return in the second game with a world based on their universe added along with Jumba and Pleakley.
- Disney Tsum Tsum (2013 in Japan, 2014 everywhere else): Several Lilo & Stitch characters are rendered in Tsum Tsum form, including Scrump, Angel, Lilo, Jumba, Pleakley, and four variants of Stitch.
- Disney Magic Kingdoms (2016): Lilo & Stitch franchise characters,note attractions,note and quests were added in an April 2018 update. All Lilo & Stitch content in the game are limited-time content.
- Disney Crossy Road (2016): A Lilo & Stitch world and characters were added in a 2017 update. This was also the last update for the Windows version of the game.
- Disney Emoji Blitz (2016): Stitch has been a part of the game since its debut as one of the Gold Box emojis. He is one of the few emojis that makes a vocal sound when his ability is used.note Lilo was added to the game in an April 2018 update. A few Lilo & Stitch-themed items are also unlockable emojis.
- Disney Heroes: Battle Mode (2018): Stitch was added to the game in a summer 2018 update.
Tropes found throughout the franchise include:
- Aliens in Cardiff: Aliens land on a small island in Hawaii/a small island in Okinawa/in the middle of Chinese mountains.
- Aliens Speaking English: Nearly all the aliens in the franchise can inexplicably speak and understand English. However, the experiments (including Stitch) either have to learn it or be programmed with "Advanced Language Programming" (like Reuben is) in order to do so. In addition, one of the experiments, Frenchfry (062), can speak French.
- Amusing Alien: This franchise is loaded with them, especially the comedic sociopathic Stitch, the Crossdressing Know-Nothing Know-It-All Pleakley, and snarky "Sandwich Boy" Reuben.
- Appropriated Title: A strange case of this; when the anime was made, some fans (primarily supporters of that show) began calling the franchise simply the Stitch (or Stitch!) franchise since Lilo is no longer part of the picture and Stitch will always be the franchise's breadwinner. In some regions, such as Japan, the franchise is officially called this in some marketing material, and with Stitch & Ai popping up later on, some fans (again, primarily supporters of the East Asian shows) now call the franchise just Stitch. However, Disney still continues to officially call it the Lilo & Stitch franchise, especially in regions where the East Asian spin-offs have not been as successful and Lilo is still considered to be just as important (the franchise's home country of the United States, in particular).
- Arc Words: Primarily in the Western parts of the franchise: "ʻOhana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten."
- Artifact Title: Half of it at least, since the franchise has moved away from Lilo in favor of focusing more on Stitch, who since 2008 has been constantly separated from her and Hawaii. However, this will probably be reversed when the Live-Action Adaptation gets released.
- Badass Adorable: Both Lilo and Stitch are possibly two of the cutest ever Disney characters and they are true heroes. Many of Stitch's "cousins" are also cute badasses in their own right.
- Blue Is Heroic: Stitch after his Character Development in the original film.
- Central Theme: ʻOhana. ʻOhana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.
- Cool Starship: Plenty throughout the franchise, including Jumba's ship, Gantu's ships, the BRB-9000, and of course, "The Red One".
- Clark Kenting: Stitch pretends to be a dog on Earth, while Jumba and Pleakley pretend to be humans. In Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Gantu pretends to be Samoan as a means to pass off his large size.
- Crossover: Stitch was already doing this before the first film was even released thanks to the "inter-STITCH-al" teaser trailers, and he hasn't stopped since. The first TV series even had four crossover episodes in its second season.
- Deuteragonist: Stitch is The Protagonist, but he is always paired up with a human girl who helps him out while dealing with their own problems.
- The Dog Is an Alien: Stitch pretends to be a dog all throughout the franchise despite looking more like a mutant koala, as Nani notes in the original film.
- Early-Bird Cameo:
- Reuben (625) shows up in a Disney Adventures comic about the origin of Stitch, even though his first chronological appearance in the film and TV continuity is Stitch! The Movie.
- Dr. Hämsterviel first appeared in silhouette in the first film before his official debut in the second.
- Family of Choice: The franchise's whole mantra of ʻohana is based on this trope, with Stitch, Jumba, Pleakley, and the experiments bonding with humans who take care of them on Earth.
- The Federation: United Galactic Federation or Alliance depending on the movie/episode. Given that they would have destroyed Earth if not for mosquitoes supposedly being an endangered species, they have at least some traits of The Empire as well.
- Fictionary: While the whole franchise contains plenty of Aliens Speaking English, it also has a fairly well-developed language of its own called Tantalog. Though only a few phrases were fully translated on Lilo & Stitch: The Series' website—which now no longer exists—there have been a few rather detailed online dictionaries made based on its usage in that show.
- Free-Range Children: Lilo is six years old in the original film and seven to nine years old over the course of the sequel films and Lilo & Stitch: The Series, yet she runs about Kokaua Townnote with Stitch, and no adults. Same goes for ten/eleven-year-old Yuna on Izayoi and in Okinawa New Town in the Stitch! anime, and the young Ai on the Huangshan mountains in Stitch & Ai.
- Iconic Sequel Character: Dr. Jacques von Hämsterviel, who is the franchise's primary villain but only gets an Early-Bird Cameo in the first film, and the experiments besides Stitch, especially his two immediate predecessors Reuben (625) and Angel (624).note
- Interspecies Friendship: The whole franchise has a strong emphasis on humans befriending aliens.
- Living Weapon: Stitch and many of the other experiments.
- Logo Joke: Each of the films do this.
- Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: A straight up 1 on the scale, although there are some realistic elements, such as Stitch being too dense to swim as a result of all that condensed muscle in him (although his much stronger immediate successor 627 can float according to Jumba). The later sequel material added some fantasy elements, further reinforcing this.
- Name and Name: The franchise itself, as well as three of the four films, and two of the three TV series (although the anime is titled Yuna & Stitch in some countries, just not in English or Japanese).
- No One Gets Left Behind: Exactly the message of the whole franchise. Granted, it's actually "nobody", not "no one", but still the ʻohana motto is the page quote for a reason.
- Oddball in the Series: This is truly a unique DAC-based franchise.
- The original film's art style is based on just one man's own, instead of the Disney house style.
- The franchise has a unique modern day setting that mixes realism with soft science fiction, something that Disney doesn't do that often.
- The first film's narrative heeds closer to Pixar's films in terms of its themes and lack of musical numbers, and this is before John Lasseter took over Walt Disney Feature Animation/Walt Disney Animation Studios. Amusingly, the movie is also un-Pixar like as the story was made around the characters (in other words, "character-driven"), not the other way around like Pixar does when they write stories ("plot-driven").
- Speaking of music, the films make heavy use of licensed music from one iconic artist and tie said artist into both the characters and the plot.
- The lead characters were and are still very unconventional for Disney, being considered weird even In-Universe.
- The marketing for the original film used crossovers heavily in its marketing to emphasize its oddness and to play up a Black Sheep image.
- Better yet, all of the above was Crazy Enough to Work; the original film was released during a time when CGI films were on the rise and Disney Feature Animation wasn't doing so great, yet it became the only combined critical and commercial success of the "Post-Renaissance" Era, thus spawning this franchise.
- Even the sequels are this. Not only did this franchise's sequel material introduce its own set of iconic characters, something that only a few other DAC-based franchises can claim, but the franchise also has a whopping three Sequel Series, all of which have their own animation styles and were produced and aired within only one-and-a-half decadesnote from the franchise's debut.
- The first series can possibly even claim itself as canonical to the DAC, as thanks to Stitch's experiment "cousins", it received references in both a Kingdom Hearts gamenote and especially in a later DAC film.note No other Disney franchise that got a TV series, not even The Lion King, can claim this. Not to mention, Disney seems to have no problem promoting Angel alongside the original film's characters, and she didn't even exist back in 2002!
- Paper-Thin Disguise:
- Jumba and Pleakley only put on some light clothes and fake hair when they're out in public, yet they completely fool the unaware humans. Gets worse with Stitch who is blue and all he has to do is retract some body parts.
- In the first series, Gantu just claims to be Samoan to pass off his impossibly-large-for-a-human-being size.
- Pardon My Klingon: Gantu's catchphrase "Oh, blitznak!", which easily passes off as "Oh, Crap!", and Stitch and the experiments' "Meega, nala kweesta!", which literally means, "I want to destroy!" Now that phrase may be tame to us humans, but to alien society, it's so vulgar that it makes a robot vomit.
- Plasma Cannon: Plasma blasters are the most common weapon seen throughout the franchise. From a human perspective, the handheld ones oddly look like toys.
- Puni Plush: Straight lines and sharp angles don't appear often in the franchise, although the anime subverts this by featuring a main character with spiky pigtails.
- Retraux: The alien spacecraft and weaponry invoke the Raygun Gothic style (the plasma blasters even have fins), but they're simplified and given modern design touches to avoid looking dated and give the sci-fi aspects of the franchise's universe a distinctive identity.
- Rousseau Was Right: This franchise likes to emphasize the point of seeing the good in others, what with Lilo's reformation of Stitch in the original film and his "cousins" reforming throughout the first TV series. Even the strict leader of an intergalactic equivalent of the United Nations believes in second chances for criminals, including illegally made lifeforms.
- Science Fantasy: The franchise became more of this over the years instead of just being straight soft science fiction, primarily thanks to the East Asian spin-offs, although The Series had some fantasy elements here and there (and actually crossed over with an Urban Fantasy series at one point), and even one of the early spin-off video games gave Lilo voodoo powers.
- Slice of Life: When the franchise is not dealing with an evil alien conflict, it's essentially showing Stitch's life with whatever family he's with.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: With no real villain in the first movie and its strong theme of love and family (ʻohana), it's very much on the idealistic end of the scale.
- True Companions: This franchise is famous for its focus on extended families, with ʻohana being a key theme as humans bond with aliens.
- Turn of the Millennium: The original parts of this franchise took place in the early-to-mid 2000s, which was also the time frame when it was actively promoted in the United States where the franchise today has gone dormant, especially in terms of Disney's current marketing.
- White and Grey Morality: There are several characters who could be seen as the antagonists, but turn out to really either just doing what they are doing for their freedom or are just people who are just doing their job.
- Black and White Morality: On the other hand, the three TV shows just go with the simple "good vs. evil" route.