Chris Sanders

For other people with the same name, see Chris Sanders (disambiguation).
Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders at the 2014 Golden Globe Awards
Born Christopher Michael Sanders
(1962-03-12) March 12, 1962[1]
Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States[1]
Other names Christopher Sanders
Occupation Director, illustrator, voice actor
Years active 1984–present
Notable work Lilo & Stitch
How to Train Your Dragon
The Croods
Spouse(s) Jessica Steele-Sanders

Christopher Michael "Chris" Sanders (born March 12, 1962) is an American animation director, illustrator and voice actor best known for co-writing and directing the Disney animated feature Lilo & Stitch (2002) and DreamWorks How to Train Your Dragon (2010), and providing the voice of Stitch (a character which Sanders himself created) in the former film and almost every work in its related franchise. After leaving Walt Disney Animation Studios, Sanders went on to work for DreamWorks Animation, co-writing and directing the critically acclaimed animated feature film How to Train Your Dragon. His recent work is serving as director and co-writer on The Croods, along with Kirk DeMicco.

Early life

Sanders was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He went to Arvada High School in Arvada, Colorado. He is a 1984 graduate of the California Institute of the Arts.


Sanders began his career as a character designer for Muppet Babies. He also served as a storyboard artist, artistic director, production designer, and character designer on Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Mulan.

On December 16, 2006, several internet animation fan sites, including, reported that Sanders had been removed as the director of the upcoming Disney animated film American Dog by John Lasseter. A New York Times interview with John Lasseter later revealed that Chris Sanders was negotiating his exit from Disney.[2] After the departure of Sanders from Disney, directing duties were handed to Chris Williams and Byron Howard, and the film was retitled Bolt. Despite his departure from Disney, Sanders continues to voice Stitch in most official Disney media (a major exception being the English dub of the anime series Stitch!, where the character is voiced by Ben Diskin), reprising his role as Stitch in the English version of the Square Enix/Disney collaboration game Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep,[3] and reprised his role as Stitch again in Kinect: Disneyland Adventures and Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes.

DreamWorks Animation

In March 2007, Variety reported that Chris Sanders had moved to DreamWorks Animation and had then taken over as director on Crood Awakening (later renamed to The Croods), a project previously in co-production with Aardman Animations before their departure from DreamWorks.[4] At the time, Chris had this to say about the move: "I've been so anxious to start working on things, and so I talked to a lot of people... I like the way DreamWorks looks at animation. Animation still has a lot of different places to go, and I don't want to miss out on a chance to try some new things with it."[4]

On September 24, 2008, it was reported that Sanders and Lilo & Stitch co-director and co-writer Dean DeBlois would be screenwriting and directing How to Train Your Dragon for DreamWorks Animation.[5] The film was released on March 26, 2010 and was well received by critics. It grossed nearly $500 million worldwide. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score at the 83rd Academy Awards. The movie also won ten Annie Awards, including Best Animated Feature.

After completing How to Train Your Dragon, Chris returned to The Croods, which was released on March 22, 2013.[6] Sanders shared directing and writing credits with Kirk DeMicco, who had joined in the middle of production. The film proved to be a success, grossing over $500 million.[7] Sanders and DeMicco then worked on The Croods sequel for three and a half years, before its cancellation in late 2016.[7][8]

Sanders also draws the popular webcomic Kiskaloo.

Personal life

Sanders is married to Jessica Steele-Sanders.[9] Together, they wrote an illustrated novel, titled Rescue Sirens: The Search for the Atavist (2015).[9]


Year Title Role Notes
1984 Muppet Babies Character Designer
1990 The Rescuers Down Under Storyboard Artist/Character Designer/Visual Development
1991 Beauty and the Beast Story/Visual Development Artist
1992 Aladdin Story
1994 The Lion King Story/Production Designer/Storyboard Artist For Mufasa's Ghost sequence[10]
1998 Mulan Little Brother Screenplay/Story Supervisor
1999 Fantasia 2000 Original Concept: "Pines of Rome"
2002 Lilo & Stitch Stitch Director/Writer/Character Designer
2003 Stitch! The Movie Stitch Characters
Lilo & Stitch: The Series Stitch, Experiment 627 Characters
2004 The Lion King 1½ Stitch Cameo Appearance
2005 Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch Stitch Characters
Kingdom Hearts II Stitch Video Game
2006 Leroy & Stitch Stitch, Leroy Characters
2007 Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+ Stitch Video Game
2008 Disney Think Fast Stitch Video Game
2010 Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Stitch Video Game
How to Train Your Dragon Director/Screenplay
2011 Kinect Disneyland Adventures Stitch Video Game
2013 Disney Magical World Stitch Video Game
The Croods Belt Director/Screenplay
2014 Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes Stitch Video game
Penguins of Madagascar Antarctic Penguin Characters
How to Train Your Dragon 2 Executive Producer
2015 Disney Infinity 3.0 Stitch Video game[11]
2016 Sofia the First Stitch Guest Star
2018 How to Train Your Dragon 3[12][13] Executive Producer


  1. 1 2 "One on One Spotlight: Directors Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois". CTN animation eXpo. Archived from the original on November 8, 2010. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
  2. Laura Holson (March 4, 2007). "He Runs That Mickey Mouse Outift". New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  3. Chris Sanders, via e-mail Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. 1 2 Fritz, Ben (March 27, 2007). "Sanders joins DreamWorks". Variety.
  5. Amidi, Amid (September 25, 2008). "UPDATE: Chris Sanders Still Crood and Directing Dragon". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
  6. Finke, Nikki (September 9, 2012). "DreamWorks Animation's Release Schedule". Deadline. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  7. 1 2 "The Croods 2 in the Works at DreamWorks Animation". April 17, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  8. Rainey, James (November 11, 2016). "DreamWorks Animation and Universal Kill 'Croods 2' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  9. 1 2 Flores, Terry (August 7, 2015). "Animation Writer-Directer Chris Sanders Co-Writes Mermaid Book 'Rescue Sirens'". Variety. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  10. Shirey, Eric (September 28, 2011). "Producer Don Hahn Shares His Experiences Working on 'The Lion King'". Yahoo! Voices. Archived from the original on May 14, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  11. Avalanche Software. Disney Infinity 3.0. Scene: Closing credits, 5:39 in, Featuring the Voice Talents of.
  12. DreamWorks Animation (September 9, 2012). "New Distributor Twentieth Century Fox Unveils DreamWorks Animation's Release Slate Through 2016". PR Newswire. Retrieved October 5, 2014. DeBlois and Chris Sanders (The Croods, How to Train Your Dragon) are serving as executive producers.
  13. "How to Train Your Dragon 3 Pushed Back to 2017". Retrieved September 2, 2014.

External links

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