How 9/11 Forever Changed Lilo & Stitch
9/11 was a turning point in every facet of American society — including cinema. In September of 2001, Disney was approaching final cut on Lilo & Stitch — a children’s film set for release in early 2002. The climax of the film initially featured Stitch piloting a 747 through a fictional Hawaiian city. But that urban backdrop was replaced with a mountainous backdrop, and the aircraft was re-worked to look like an alien spacecraft.
The changes were informed by the shift in the mood in America following the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Disney wasn’t alone in their obligation to rework content to a more appropriate tone for a nation still reeling from the attacks. Children’s shows like Power Rangers, Pokemon, and Invader Zim had episodes taken off the air due to scenes where buildings and cityscapes were destroyed.
The nation had changed, and the national conversation facilitated by popular culture had changed alongside it. To trace these developments in greater detail, read this write-up from Lindsay Ellis: Movies, patriotism, and cultural amnesia: tracing pop culture’s relationship to 9/11