Note that on Pixiv, the Stitch tag (referring to its titular lead protagonist) is often used as a shorthand to refer to this franchise.
The Lilo & Stitch franchise is primarily about two eccentric and mischievous individuals; a human girl named Lilo Pelekai and an artificial alien creature named Stitch. Lilo is an orphaned Hawaiian girl who lives with her older sister Nani and has a number of strange interests not typical among young girls like her such as horror, photography of tourists, and Elvis Presley. Stitch, also known as Experiment 626, is a genetic experiment who was created by the alien mad scientist Dr. Jumba Jookiba to cause chaos and destruction, but Lilo adopted him as her "dog", taming him into becoming a compassionate creature. In the franchise's main continuity (2002–2006), they happily live together on the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i with their 'ohana (extended family), mainly consisting of Lilo, Stitch, Nani, Jumba, Jumba's partner Pleakley, and Stitch's fellow genetic experiment "cousins" who were also made by Jumba. However, after 2006, the franchise spawned different spin-off series made for specific markets that separate the titular duo. These spin-offs have Stitch ending up on different regions of Earth and becoming friends with different human girls. A live-action adaptation was reported to be in development in October 2018.
Lilo & Stitch (2002)
In the original film, Lilo was a lonely girl who was disliked by her peers and only had her sister Nani to support her, as they lost their parents in a car accident before the events of the film. They were at risk of being forcibly separated by a social worker named Cobra Bubbles who believes that Nani would not be able to properly take care of her only remaining family member. Experiment 626, on the other hand, was a space criminal who escapes custody to Earth. The girl and the alien would meet when he gets taken to an animal shelter and she is brought over there to adopt a pet. He disguises himself as an Earth dog to let himself get adopted by her as her pet dog "Stitch", but only to use her as protection from Jumba and Pleakley, who were sent by the United Galactic Federation to retrieve him. Over the course of a few days, however, Lilo tries to better understand Stitch by using the Hawaiian concept of 'ohana—and her love of Elvis—to tame him, and Stitch eventually grows to care about her. Eventually, he would break through his destructive genetic programming to keep his newfound family together. He saves Lilo from being mistaken taken away by Captain Gantu, who was sent after Stitch when Jumba and Pleakley were fired from their posts, and she uses a legal loophole against the Galactic Federation to prevent Stitch from being taken away from her. They are allowed to continue living with each other (and Nani) on Kaua'i, and they would also accept Jumba and Pleakley into their loving family.
Lilo & Stitch: The Series (2003–2006)
An animated series that aired on Disney Channel in the United States, Lilo & Stitch: The Series continued the adventures of the duo after the film. Starting with the 2003 direct-to-video pilot Stitch! The Movie, the duo go around Hawaii to hunt for Jumba's 625 other experiments made before Stitch, who he treats as his "cousins". Fighting off the forcibly retired Gantu and Jumba's former partner-in-crime Dr. Jacques von Hämsterviel, Lilo and Stitch must find his "cousins", tame them, name them, and find a place for them where they can truly use their abilities to help out society. The Series ran for two seasons for a total of 65 episodes, concluding with the 2006 television and direct-to-video film Leroy & Stitch.
Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (2005)
This direct-to-video film is an interquel that takes place between the events of the original Lilo & Stitch film and Stitch! The Movie, serving as the former's direct sequel. In this film, it's revealed that Stitch's molecules weren't fully charged when he was created, and he suddenly starts to have random outbursts that revert him to his original destructive programming. This causes conflicts between him and Lilo to develop as she becomes dedicated to trying to win a hula competition that her late mother won when she was young. Unbeknownst to them, Stitch's glitches are a sign of him dying, and Jumba is trying to construct a new machine to recharge him before it is too late.
The DVD release of Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch also contains a short film called The Origin of Stitch, which serves as a bridge between Stitch Has a Glitch with Stitch! The Movie.
This anime series ran in Japan from 2008 to 2011 for three seasons and later broadcast two post-series specials in 2012 and 2015. It takes places several years after Leroy & Stitch. In this series, Stitch left Lilo during her college years over a misunderstanding. After having left Earth for a number of years, going to his old destructive ways, he ends up on a (fictitious) island near Okinawa called Izayoi, where he befriends a local tomboyish girl named Yuna Kamihara.
The show's English dub, which was heavily-edited from the Japanese original, debuted in Australia in 2009 with a completely different voice cast from the original films and TV series. The franchise's home country of the United States did not see the release of this dub until October 2011 on Disney XD, a few months after the original Japanese run ended. The first five episodes of the anime were broadcast on the network within a week before Disney silently took it off the air, and the Stitch! anime has not been continued or rebroadcast in the U.S. ever since.
Stitch & Ai (2017)
A Chinese animated series co-produced with American animators, this series debuted on China's CCTV-14 in March 2017. Like with the Stitch! anime, Stitch & Ai has Stitch get separated from Lilo again, as he gets kidnapped from her by space criminals. He escapes to the Huangshan mountains where he meets Wang Ai Ling, a troubled Chinese girl who, like Lilo, lost her parents and is threatened to be separated from her older sister Jiejie. Stitch helps Ai stay with her sister while she helps him ward off the space criminals. Although it was produced in English, this series aired a Mandarin dub first. It made its English debut on Disney Channel Asia on February 5, 2018, and was later released (with one episode missing) in the United States for free digital streaming on the DisneyNow app on December 1, 2018.
All voice actors listed below voiced these characters in the films and Lilo & Stitch: The Series except where noted.
- Stitch / Experiment 626 (Voiced by: Chris Sanders; Ben Diskin in the anime and the Chinese series)
- Lilo Pelekai (Voiced by: Daveigh Chase; Dakota Fanning in Lilo & Stitch 2; Gwendoline Yeo in the anime)
- Nani Pelekai (Voiced by: Tia Carrere)
- Dr. Jumba Jookiba (Voiced by: David Ogden Stiers from 2002–2006 and in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep; Jess Winfield from 2009 onwards)
- Wendy Pleakley (Voiced by: Kevin McDonald; Ted Biaselli in the anime; Lucien Dodge in the Chinese series)
- Gantu (Voiced by: Kevin Michael Richardson; Keith Silverstein in the anime)
- Dr. Jacques von Hämsterviel (Voiced by: Jeff Bennett; Kirk Thornton in the anime)
- Reuben / Experiment 625 (Voiced by: Rob Paulsen; Dave Wittenberg in the anime)
- Angel / Experiment 624 (Voiced by: Tara Strong; Kate Higgins in the anime)
- David Kawena (Voiced by: Jason Scott Lee in the original film and Stitch Has a Glitch; Dee Bradley Baker in The Series and its films)
- Mertle Edmonds (Voiced by: Liliana Mumy; Miranda Paige Walls in the original film)
- Cobra Bubbles (Voiced by: Ving Rhames in the films; Kevin Michael Richardson in The Series)
- The Grand Councilwoman (Voiced by: Zoe Caldwell; Mary Elizabeth McGlynn in the anime)
- Yuna Kamihara (Anime character voiced by: Eden Riegel)
- Wang Ai Ling (Chinese series character voiced by: Erica Mendez)
Categories for this article
- Lilo & Stitch on Wikipedia
- Lilo & Stitch franchise on Wikipedia
- Lilo & Stitch on TV Tropes
- Lilo & Stitch franchise on TV Tropes