Film, TV + Theatre

Revisiting famous rabbits in pop culture this Year of the Rabbit

Rabbit, represent!


By Marissa Chin

FEATURED IMAGES: @playboy / Instagram | Warner Bros. Studios | Pixar Studios
Revisiting famous rabbits in pop culture this Year of the Rabbit

Unless you’re Wednesday Addams, you probably can appreciate the cuteness of a rabbit. Known for their soft and fluffy coat, wide eyes and adorable perked ears, our love for this endearing creature not only extends to owning them as pets but to the cinema as well. We’re sure you already have some famous on-screen rabbits that leap to mind as you’re reading this, which just goes to show timeless and impactful these Hollywood bunnies are.

As if we need any more reason to like them, the rabbit is also considered the luckiest animal out of the 12 zodiac animals as it represents prosperity, longevity, creativity, and peace amongst other admirable traits. In celebration of the Year of the Rabbit this Lunar New Year, let’s hop down memory lane and revisit some of the most iconic pop culture rabbits of all time.


Bugs Bunny

Arguably the most popular bunny on this list, your grandparents, parents and Gen Z cousins know this guy. The mischievous and high-energy bunny first appeared in the 1940s show, A Wild Hare, and quickly became Warner Bros. Studio’s and Looney Tunes’ most famous cartoon character. His signature catchphrase, “What’s up, Doc?” is still used to this day and he was even the ninth most portrayed fictional character at one point. He is also the first and only rabbit to receive his own Hollywood Walk of Fame, proving his cultural significance.


The White Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland

You can credit the phrase, “going down the rabbit hole” to this character. After all, Alice ended up in Wonderland because she was following the little guy. Like the everyday Malaysian, the White Rabbit is famous for always muttering about how late he is as he scurries to his destination. 


Thumper, Bambi

Bambi may have had some heart-wrenching scenes but we’re glad that Thumper was there to make it all better. It was hard not to coo at the foot-stomping bunny every time he appeared on the screen because, well, just look at him. The adorable rabbit was also full of wisdom and is famously known for Thumper’s Law or Thumper’s Rule which goes “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”


Lola Bunny, Space Jam

This next bunny has a dedicated community of fans, especially basketball fans, due to her sporty image. She first appeared in 1996’s Space Jam as Honey Bunny but is now more known as Bugs Bunny’s love interest in Lebron James’ 2021 film Space Jam: A New Legacy. The athletic and feisty bunny was voiced by Zendaya. 


Judy Hopps, Zootopia

Subjected to comments about her being too small or weak to be a police officer, Judy Hopps from 2016’s Zootopia resonated with a lot of viewers. Hopps was not one to back down though as she was eager to prove her worth. She’s tenacious, determined and earned our title of badass bunny for managing to save the city of Zootopia by uncovering a prey-supremacist underground scheme. 


Snowball, The Secret Life of Pets 

Rabbits are cute little things, but don’t let appearances fool you with Snowball. This character (voiced by Kevin Hart) was the scene-stealer in The Secret Life of Pets for being deceivingly cute one second and maniacally evil in the next. The emotional whiplash is real with Snowball, but ultimately he just wants to be loved by his human counterparts, which we can all relate to.


Roger Rabbit, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

1998’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a groundbreaking film that combined animation and live-action during the Golden Age of animation. It also introduced another famous furry animal known as Roger Rabbit who suspects his human-cartoon wife is having an affair (we know, just go along with it). The character has been voiced by several big names such as Christopher Lloyd, the late Bob Hoskins, and Charles Freischer, who famously elected to wear a bunny costume the entire time on set to get into character.  


This won’t be a proper tribute if we don’t also acknowledge the non-rabbit rabbits. You’ll see why…


Jessica Rabbit, Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Yes, she may not be an actual rabbit but Jessica Rabbit is undeniably one of the most iconic rabbits—and dare we say, cartoon characters—of all time. We’ve already briefly mentioned the sultry woman as Roger Rabbit’s wife in the hybrid comedy but that wouldn’t do her complete justice. Her voluptuous figure and femme fatale sparked a generation of sexual awakening in the ’90s Disney Renaissance era. Fun fact: when news went around that the Laser Disc version of the film would have several of her nude scenes, it was reportedly sold out within minutes. So if you’ve ever doubted that a cartoon character could be a sex icon, there you go.


Bad Bunny

We just had to include the rebel rabbit, especially after the record-breaking year he’s had. Born as Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, he is the most streamed Latin artist of all time on Apple Music, a two-time Grammy winner, and has 44 songs on the Daily Top 100 globally. Due to his mega-success over the past few years, Bad Bunny has ushered in a seismic shift in global pop music. As for his memorable name, the story goes that the performer was forced to wear a bunny costume as a kid. He hated it but like any good artist, used his traumas as inspiration and now has a spot on our famous pop culture rabbits list.


The Playboy Bunny 


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Didn’t think we would go there, huh? You knew this was coming up, so don’t look at us like that. If there ever was a bunny that was simultaneously a cult-favourite and a shameful secret, it would be the Playboy bunny logo. The Playboy Bunny specifically referred to hostesses who worked at the Playboy Club (candidates would have gone through stringent training) and donned lingerie inspired by the tuxedo-wearing rabbit. Due to their sexed-up image, many confused the Bunnies with Playboy Playmates, who are the ones featured in the iconic eponymous magazine. 

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