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|Lilo & Stitch character|
Stitch in his disguised "Earth dog" form (lower arms, antennae and spines retracted), the most-often seen form of the character
|First appearance||Lilo & Stitch (2002)|
|Created by||Chris Sanders|
|Species||Extraterrestrial genetic experiment|
|Significant other(s)||Angel (Experiment 624)|
Stitch (also known by his species name/"birth" name Experiment 626, pronounced "six-two-six") is a fictional character in Disney's Lilo & Stitch franchise. An illegally-made, genetically-engineered, extraterrestrial lifeform resembling a blue koala, he is one of the franchise's two title characters, alongside his adopter and best friend Lilo Pelekai, and its primary protagonist. Stitch was created by Lilo & Stitch co-writer and co-director Chris Sanders, who also voices him in all Western-produced media that he appears in, while Ben Diskin voices the character in the English versions of the Eastern-produced television series Stitch! and Stitch & Ai.
In the franchise's chronology, he was originally created by Dr. Jumba Jookiba to cause chaos across the galaxy. Stitch is marked by his mischievous behavior, which endeared him to Lilo, who adopted him as her "dog". Through Lilo's beliefs in the Hawaiian concept of ʻohana, meaning family, Stitch developed from an uncaring, destructive creature to a loving, more self-conscious being who enjoys the company of his adoptive family on Earth. He became a firm believer of the ʻohana concept, and with the help of Lilo applied it to reform Jumba's 625 prior experiments, nearly all of whom Stitch treats as his "cousins".
- 1 Development
- 2 Physical appearance
- 3 History
- 4 Abilities and weaknesses
- 5 In other media
- 6 Reception and legacy
- 7 References
- 8 External links
This section needs expansion with: Needs further history of how the character was created and developed. You can help by adding to it. (June 2016)
Sanders originally created the character in 1985 for an unsuccessful children's book pitch, and developed a treatment for an animated feature featuring the character. The idea for the character was shelved until around 1996 when then-President of Walt Disney Feature Animation Thomas Schumacher approached Sanders and asked him if he wanted to a pitch a story, giving Sanders the opportunity to use his character again. When Sanders said that the alien character was going to crash-land in a forest filled with other animals, Schumacher told Sanders that the animal world was already "overly alien" to humans, and suggested that the character should end up in the human world to provide better contrast and juxtaposition for the story.
In later development for the film's story, the character was originally going to be the leader of an intergalactic gang of criminals, with Jumba being one of his former cronies summoned by the Intergalactic Council to capture him. Test audience response to early versions of the film resulted in the change of Stitch and Jumba's relationship to that of creation and creator, respectively.
The character was originally meant to be incapable of speaking intelligibly. However, when the Lilo & Stitch production team realized that the film's story "hinged" on the character being able to explain himself at the end of the film, Sanders provided vocals for Stitch during early animation. After getting used to Sanders's vocalizations for Stitch, the production team eventually established him as the official voice of his own character.
Stitch is a blue koala-like alien standing around three feet tall. He has large rabbit-like ears (with asymmetrical notches on the outer rims of each ear—one near the tip of his right ear, one near the base of his left ear—with the back of the ear tips colored indigo), a wide mouth, a round nose, black eyes, a small, short, stumpy tail; three tufts of fur on top of his head and on his chest, aqua countershading around his eyes and from his lower lip extending down to the bottom of his abdomen, four arms (two of which are usually retracted), three retractable spines that run down his back, four sharp retractable claws on each of his front and back paws (hands and feet), two retractable antennae on his head, and abstract indigo markings on his back and the back of his head that vaguely look similar to snow angels (with the back marking having two large "bulges" in the middle that allude to his four arms). He is referred to as a dog by Lilo throughout much of the franchise, as he was taken to a pound and disguised himself as one in order to escape his captors by being adopted by Lilo. He was thought in the beginning by Lilo to be a collie hit by a car, and Nani thought he was a koala of a sort before they found out he was an alien genetic experiment. He has a limited ability to change his physical appearance, as he can retract his lower set of arms, his claws, his antennae and the three spines on his back into his body.
Lilo & Stitch
As revealed in the first film, Stitch was created by "evil genius" Dr. Jumba Jookiba, who called him "Experiment 626". Both Jumba and 626 were captured and put on trial by the United Galactic Federation.
626 is then sentenced by the Grand Councilwoman to life imprisonment on a desert asteroid and Captain Gantu (who despises him) escorts him. 626 escapes and crash-lands in Kauaʻi, Hawaii. Disguising himself as a dog to hide from his captors, 626 was adopted by a little girl named Lilo, who names him "Stitch".
Stitch is trained by Lilo to be good, using Elvis Presley as a model for his behavior. Lilo's efforts prove to be fruitless at first, as Stitch is unable to suppress his destructive programming. Nevertheless, Lilo enjoys having Stitch as her new "puppy". Although at first he only wanted to use her as a human shield from Jumba and Agent Pleakley, whose mission was to capture him, Stitch slowly develops feelings for Lilo, to the point where he saves her from Gantu. After his heroics, the Grand Councilwoman allows Stitch to serve his exile on Earth with Lilo as his warden, citing her dog adoption certificate (subsequently, Lilo seems to have become not only a best friend but also a sister figure to Stitch).
Stitch! The Movie
In Stitch! The Movie (2003), Stitch discovers the remaining 625 genetic experiments locked in a crate, in the form of dehydrated pods. In order to rescue a kidnapped Jumba, a trade between Dr. Jacques von Hämsterviel and Jumba for the experiments is organized, but it instead results in the freedom of the experiments and the capture of Lilo and Stitch. Hämsterviel then tries to clone Stitch but he was rescued by Experiment 221 ("Sparky"). Stitch then rescued Lilo and landed Hämsterviel's spacecraft back in Kauaʻi, where the Grand Councilwoman waited to arrest Hämsterviel.
Lilo & Stitch: The Series
In Lilo & Stitch: The Series (2003–06), Stitch and Lilo have to capture Jumba's other experiments, turn them from evil to good, and find them a home. Along the way, he meets his match: Experiment 627 who is tougher than him, but whom Stitch eventually defeats with greater intelligence. He also is affected by 15 experiment powers: Amnesio wipes out his memory, being poked by Spike's spine makes him goofy, Babyfier turns him into a baby, Spooky turns into water and nearly drowns him, Lax makes him lazy, Dupe duplicates him into four (weakening his strength), Frenchfry serves him unhealthy junk food meals (along with Lilo and Pleakley) and fattens him up into a giant bowling ball, Yaarp sounds out his loud megaphone (deafening him), Snooty sucks out his mucus (effectively dehydrating him), Swirly hypnotizes him, Drowsy (in the episode "PJ") puts him to sleep, Houdini makes him invisible, Swapper switches him into Lilo's and then Pleakley's bodies, Bugby turns him into a bug, and Slushy freezes him. However, the powers wear off. He also meets Angel (Experiment 624) who is introduced as a love interest for Stitch (evil at first, she becomes good out of love for Stitch).
Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch
In Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (2005), which is set between the first film and Stitch! The Movie, Stitch is living well and is reasonably well-behaved (although still hot-tempered and mischievous) with the exiled Jumba and Pleakley in Lilo's (and her older sister Nani's) house, until he begins malfunctioning. Since he was not fully charged after his creation, Stitch experiences periodic glitches that have him reverting to his original destructive programming, appearing to suffer from a "fit" or "seizure". Seeing this, Jumba strives to create a proper charging chamber for Stitch. Not wanting to hurt anyone and not knowing about Jumba's plan, Stitch attempts to leave Earth for a remote planet, while Lilo, Jumba, and the others desperately try to have him return so they can recharge him. Although they are too late when they place him in the recharging pod, Stitch seems to be revived by Lilo's love, in accordance with her belief that love is more powerful than death.
Leroy & Stitch
After they have successfully captured all the remaining experiments prior to the events of Leroy & Stitch (2006), the Grand Councilwoman offered Stitch the chance to become the captain of the Galactic Armada and its new flagship, The BRB (Big Red Battleship) 9000. However, that would require Stitch to be separated from Lilo. Not wanting to make Lilo sad, he chooses to return to Kaua'i but Lilo tells him he should go. Before he leaves with Jumba and Pleakley, Lilo gives him a necklace with a tiki of the god Ku Tiki to give him strength. When Gantu breaks out Dr. Hämsterviel in an action of frustration, Stitch is sent on his first mission to capture the evil rodent once more. But when he arrives at Galactic Defense Industries, Stitch faces off against a new experiment — Leroy, who is an enhanced clone of Stitch. Stitch fights well and is about to beat Leroy when Pleakley shows up unexpectedly, allowing Leroy to take advantage of Stitch's lapse in concentration and beat him. He is placed in a cage and sent with Jumba and Pleakley heading towards a black hole. After they are sent towards the black hole, Leroy heads off towards Earth to capture all of the other experiments for Hämsterviel. Later, Stitch, Jumba, and Pleakley escape from the black hole, and arrive on the planet Turo. There they rescue Lilo, 625 (now known as Reuben), and Gantu, and fly Pleakley's carpool van back to Earth to assist the other 624 experiments in the defeat of an army of Leroys. Now, with Leroy defeated, Stitch, Jumba and Pleakley return to Earth with Lilo, realizing family is more important than spaceships, laboratories, and prestige.
In the anime series Stitch! (2008–11, not including later TV specials), Stitch seems to have reverted to his destructive nature, and is first seen in the first episode being chased in a spaceship by Jumba and the authorities, ending up on an island in the Okinawa Prefecture in Japan. On the island, Stitch gained a new human friend named Yuna Kamihara. The original version (aired in Japan) initially left out what happened between Lilo and Stitch that caused them to be separated, although the heavily edited English dub of the anime had Jumba imply that Stitch ran away out of jealousy of Lilo having a boyfriend. Lilo herself did not appear in any way in the anime until episode 23 of ~Best Friends Forever~ (Season 3), where she, now a fully-grown woman, visits Okinawa's New Town with her daughter, Ani (who looks incredibly like her when she was a child and whom Stitch thought was Lilo in the beginning). Lilo and Stitch were able to reconcile upon reuniting, with Lilo explaining what happened on the day Stitch left her. They both have a happy reunion, she hugs him, promises to visit him again, and asks Stitch to take good care of his new family. She then gives Stitch his tiki necklace back before leaving to return to Hawaii.
Stitch & Ai
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2017)
In the Chinese animated series Stitch & Ai (2017), Stitch has been kidnapped from Lilo by space criminals and is held captive in their spaceship. However, when a rival gang attacks the ship wanting Stitch for themselves, he uses the opportunity to escape back to Earth. He ends up in the Huangshan mountains and meets a young Chinese girl who lives there named Wang Ai Ling, who (similarly to Lilo) takes him into her family as her new pet "dog". Stitch also looks for a temple seen in a vision he had, while Jumba and Pleakley also join their new "family" to protect them.
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Throughout the course of the entire Lilo & Stitch franchise, Stitch is depicted as a character that is unlikable to many people except Lilo (on rare occasions, even she falls out with him, most notably in Lilo & Stitch 2, where she strongly considers him to be bad, unaware that the glitches he was possessed by at the time were reverting him back to his original destructive behavior) due to his destructive and temperamental behavior. People who are averse to Stitch, such as Mertle or Hämsterviel, describe him as "ugly and deformed", while people with an affection (like Lilo, Jumba, and Nani) for him describe him as "cute and fluffy". This reflects the basic idea behind Stitch and also his cousins: they do not correspond to many established criteria of good physical appearance in that they have an extra pair of arms or misshapen heads.
When Stitch is in his "evil" form, he is undeniably worrying as his somewhat botched physique underlines his at the time twisted behavior; in "good" form however (the form that the audience most often sees), Stitch's display of emotion at being rejected due to his behavior and looks while trying to act good for Lilo is meant to make him seem more adorable to the audience. Despite his surface destructiveness, which does not go away even after he has become "good", Stitch is a complex character; according to his creator Jumba, Stitch as a destructive machine was not given a higher purpose in life. Since Stitch is trapped on an island where there are relatively few things to destroy, he has many occasions to reflect on other occupations than evil. It is implied that Stitch destroys only because that is what he is programmed to do; but since he has a personality of his own (a fact that only Lilo truly understands), he also has the choice, even will, not to do so.
Despite having superhuman strength and a high level of computer-intelligence, Stitch is emotionally fragile and has a childlike personality beneath his "monster" appearance. Lilo believes that one reason why he originally pursued his destructiveness was for similar reasons to her own naughtiness, that it was because he was emotionally scarred (for having been made as a monster by Jumba) but received little understanding or sympathy from others. Stitch becomes much more well-meaning after his betterment, but is frequently unable to control all of his impulses to antisocial actions. Fortunately for him, Lilo (and later Reuben and Angel) is always there to support him, and he returns her support willingly.
Abilities and weaknesses
While explaining his creation to the Galactic Council early on in Lilo & Stitch, Dr. Jumba gives the following rundown of Stitch's powers: "He is bulletproof, fireproof, and can think faster than a super computer. He can see in the dark and can move objects at least 3,000 times his size. His only instinct — to destroy whatever he touches!" In the original Lilo & Stitch film, Jumba claimed that Stitch's "destructive programming was taking effect and that he would be irresistibly drawn to large cities to "back up sewers, reverse street signs, and steal everyone's left shoe." This is shown in the Lilo & Stitch: The Series episode "Kixx", where Lilo and Stitch are watching Keoni skateboard, then Stitch looks in Keoni's rucksack and eats Keoni's shoe, Keoni replies by saying "Hey, my shoes!" in which Lilo says, "He only eats the left ones!"
While Stitch is never seen shot by a bullet, he can endure being shot by plasma projectiles. He can even catch them in his hands before throwing it back to the shooter, as shown in the original film, Stitch! The Movie, Leroy & Stitch, and Stitch & Ai. Stitch was shown to be hit by one in the episode "Finder" when Hämsterviel, armed with a self-made plasma cannon, shot him with it, which only made Stitch unconscious (it is assumed that plasma projectiles are deadly to humans as Lilo occasionally is almost shot by one in the franchise). As he dodges all other plasma projectiles, Jumba did claim that Stitch being hit by one would stun him long enough to be defeated by a foe. He did survive the crash of his spaceship with only a scratch, is only briefly stunned by a fall of several thousand feet, and has to be run over by three tractor-trailers in succession to be knocked out. As for fireproof, in the original film he drives a tanker truck full of gasoline into a volcano, which in the ensuing explosion he is propelled into the air, a move he uses to strike at Gantu's spaceship to thwart his capture of Lilo.
Thinking faster than a supercomputer is harder to quantify, but he does escape from captivity fairly ingeniously, builds a model of San Francisco after only glancing at Earth vs. the Spider; grabs a crossword puzzle from the table and finishes it in about 8 seconds; is often seen solving complex mathematical equations; builds a bomb out of a plasma bolt, Lilo's doll Scrump, and a roller skate; builds a "bucking bronco" out of a toaster, a vacuum cleaner, and a lamp; a DNA double helix from only coconuts, hollow sticks and a turntable; is able to understand he can use a human as a shield from Jumba, by Pleakley's presence; and generally picks up quickly on what is happening around him. He is also fluent in playing string instruments like the guitar or the ukulele, and is capable of driving any sort of vehicle, which can be as simple as riding a tricycle—which his strength allows him to speed one up to beyond the normal capabilities of a tricycle propelled by a human—or as complex as piloting intergalactic spaceships.
His ability to lift objects 3,000 times his own size and weight is seen several times throughout the franchise, including incidents where he picks up a descending blast door, hits Dr. Jumba with a thrown Volkswagen Beetle (shouting gleefully, "Blue punch buggy! No punch back!") and stops a tanker truck. This ability is sometimes joked about in the later series; for example, in Stitch! The Movie, Hämsterviel, while physically restraining Stitch for a cloning experiment, counters Stitch's strength with restraint devices, that are equal in strength themselves, as Hämsterviel loudly declares, to 3,001 times Stitch's own weight. Another such example of the limitation of such strength was during Lilo & Stitch: The Series, where Stitch showed his strength off on a television show by holding up two bulldozers on a platform only to have it come crashing down on him when Gantu lets loose a piece of paper which attaches itself to one of the bulldozers, stating he can hold up to three thousand times his weight, but not an ounce more.
The pads on Stitch's hands and feet can secrete a sticky substance allowing him to adhere to almost any surface and scale buildings and walls. His skeletal system is very flexible, allowing him to become a rolling ball (by putting his feet into his mouth and covering his face with his rear) and also to allow him to squeeze through tight spaces. Stitch's legs are small, but powerful enough to enable him to jump several feet into the air and he's shown to be very agile. His eyes can pick up various forms of light and he can filter out one or the other if necessary. Stitch can see in normal vision (during this mode, his eyes appear black in color), night vision (which is green), infrared (red) and X-ray (bright green). Furthermore, he also can magnify his vision. However, his high sensitivity to light also causes flash lights to be very painful to him. In the original film, Stitch earns respect for performing Elvis Presley, but he then attacks his fans after the flashes from their cameras bother him.
Stitch also can act as an audio amplifier, radio, and/or microphone, illustrated in the original film when he uses a finger as the needle on a record player, and the music comes out of his open mouth, then again in The Series episode "The Asteroid" when he uses his ears to overhear from a distance Cobra Bubbles talking to a scientist about the threat of an asteroid close to impacting the Earth, and the sound of the discussion comes out of Stitch's mouth to allow Lilo to listen to it. He has an acute sense of smell and hearing and is also dexterously skilled in hand-to-hand combat, using all four arms or just two.
Stitch can also be noted for his immortality. Although the Lilo & Stitch franchise is set in current year, he is shown to have no signs of aging as seen in the episode "Skip" for 10–20 years, much to his chagrin (although suggested by an aged Lilo to grow a goatee to make him look older), as well as in the Stitch! anime series which is set years after Leroy & Stitch (as seen by Lilo's reappearance as an adult in this show).
Stitch is proven to be ticklish in Lilo & Stitch: The Series. In "Shortstuff", Stitch is tickled by a ray used to make him bigger.
Stitch's greatest weakness is his inability to float or swim due to his dense molecular structure, which causes him to sink in water. Another weakness is the fact that his super-sensitive hearing can lead to temporary deafness when exposed to sonic blasts. Stitch originally had an instinctive aquaphobia, but was able to overcome it because of Lilo. In episode 6 of Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Experiment 300 ("Spooky") was activated. It has the ability to transform into people's worst fear; for Stitch it transformed into water, until Lilo showed Stitch her coping mechanism for when she gets scared (for her it's singing the chorus of "Aloha ʻOe"), which is how Stitch was able to save her later in the episode. Another of Stitch's weaknesses, as mentioned earlier, is that he cannot lift things over 3,000 times his size and weight. Also as mentioned earlier, since Stitch's molecules were not fully charged upon creation as shown in Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, if his initial charging was not finished he would later suffer seizure-like glitches that would revert him to his original destructive programming before dying. This issue was resolved by the film's end, and he no longer suffers these glitches.
In other media
Kingdom Hearts series
Stitch appears as a summon in the video game, Kingdom Hearts II, making a minor influence at Hollow Bastion (in part being responsible for sending Sora and the others into Space Paranoids). He also appears along with his homeworld, Deep Space, as a fighting partner to Ven and Aqua in the prequel Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. The world is set in space and revolves around on his escape from Gantu's custody, before arriving in Radiant Garden.
Playing only a small role in the beginning of Disney in Shadow, this gigantic blue alien confused as a dog, as Finn described it chases Finn followed by some of the earlier pirates. Thought to have come out of Stitch's Great Escape!, he apprehends Finn and Maybeck. In Power Play, the keepers suspect that Stitch might have been put under a spell and may not actually be an Overtaker. In Shell Game, Stitch saves Finn at Typhoon Lagoon from CPR Dummies.
References in other Disney media
There is a Stitch doll off to the left corner on the lowest shelf in young Jim Hawkins' room in Disney's other 2002 intergalactic film Treasure Planet.
Stitch appears riding in his spaceship passing by Aladdin and the Magic Carpet briefly three times in the Virtual Magic Carpet Ride game included on Disc 2 of the 2004 Aladdin Platinum Edition DVD.
In Brother Bear, Stitch makes a surprise appearance in the outtakes.
Stitch is referenced in the background twice in the 2014 film, Big Hero 6. While Hiro Hamada is distracting Aunt Cass as she's making hot wings, there is a photo of Mochi the cat on the wall behind him on the stairs. In the photo, viewers can see that Mochi is dressed up as Stitch, in his orange alien outfit. Later, when in Fred's mansion bedroom, a Stitch pillow can be seen on Fred's bed along with a Splodyhead (Experiment 619) pillow.
Stitch appears in the 2011 motion-controlled video game Kinect: Disneyland Adventures as a meet-and-greet character who appears in the park's Tomorrowland area. He is also featured in the Nintendo 3DS life simulation games Disney Magical World and Disney Magical World 2 as an interactive character that the player can speak to and assist in quests.
Reception and legacy
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2016)
After the success of the original Lilo & Stitch film, Stitch quickly became one of Disney's most popular characters. The Verge's Kaitlyn Tiffany wrote in a May 2017 article arguing that the character remains popular fifteen years after Lilo & Stitch's release due to his flawed nature, which made him "endlessly relatable", and would outlast more recent characters who are similar in certain aspects to him such as the Minions of Universal Studios's Despicable Me franchise and Baby Groot of Marvel Studios's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as a result. In 2016, WatchMojo.com ranked Stitch as their ninth-funniest Disney character, using a frame of him in Lilo & Stitch where Lilo shows Stitch's ability to be used as a gramophone speaker to Nani as the affiliated video's thumbnail, and ranked the scene in Lilo & Stitch where he gets "lost" after running away from Lilo #3 in a video of "Another Top 10 Saddest Cartoon Movie Moments". WatchMojo also gave him an honorable mention in a 2014 video on their top 10 "modern" (from 1989 onward) Disney characters.
Not all reception towards the character has been positive; Scott Mendelson of Forbes wrote an article released on the same day that a live-action Lilo & Stitch remake was reported to be in development stating that he preferred the human leads Lilo and Nani over Stitch, considering the alien to be a detriment to the film. Mendelson stated that he hated the alien character because "he spent 99% of the movie making [Lilo and Nani's] lives even harder to the point of possible ruin and death" and that watching the character's mischief "was an exercise in frustration and concern for the sympathetic human leads."
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