Nimona -- based on ND Stevenson's comic of the same name -- came close to never making it to screens. Despite the potential cancelation that almost befell the film during production, it's finally releasing thanks to Netflix, with critics raving about the film's themes, heart, and charm. It isn't lost on Stevenson how much has happened since he first worked on the character as a high school student, and how much both he and Nimona have grown since then.

Luckily, the film more than matches his hopes for the characters and highlights what made Nimona special all along. During an interview with CBR ahead of Nimona's premiere on Netflix, Nimona creator ND Stevenson discussed the biggest surprises of seeing the story come to film, how the journey to this point was crucial to his own growth as a creator, and what it means to see Nimona connecting so well with critics.

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CBR: Looking at this new version of Nimona, what would you say is the most surprising aspect of the new adaptation?

ND Stevenson: One thing that really surprised me is how many different people across a wide range of experiences relate so much to [Nimona] as a character. Like, she is this teenage girl that sort of spoke to the teen that I was. Now, I'm seeing people of all backgrounds really seeing themselves in her, and I'm realizing just how universal a character that she is.

There's something in her that, I think, everyone has at least a piece of. That's like realizing that this story is so much like bigger than me. These characters are taking on a life of their own, and are sort of being carried forward by all of these other people. That was a really great surprise. It's been very awesome to just see how much she means to so many different people.

Nimona grinning while holding a morning star.

Looking back to where you started with Nimona back as an idea in high school, what would you tell your teenage self about how this character would come to grow over the years?

I feel like I would not tell the younger version of myself much of anything. Some things just have to be found in the journey, and it's just been such a journey. I wouldn't change any of it now. I think at the time, I probably would. This movie is what it is because of how wild the ride is. All the hard things that happened have made it what it is.

Looking back and looking at that younger version of myself, it's just like, yeah, you're [going to] have to go through this, you're going to find all these things in yourself in the world. I do want to just like, sit back with that little grain of hope of just hanging in there. Because this journey is going to take you to such a cool place. I'm still just trying to believe it, honestly.

The film already has achieved huge critical accolades. What does it mean to you to see the film be so warmly received?

It's so surreal. It's something I don't take for granted because as the creator of the original work, there's no guarantee that it would even look anything like the book, much less than I would like it as much as I do. I've known for so long now how good this movie is, and so it's great hearing the rest of world also see that and feel that.

For me, being able to be here with the crew, making this and talking about it together and sharing in that -- it's not a guarantee. I just feel so lucky. I love the fact that this story connected with the people that it did, who loved it so much. They literally brought it back from the dead. And now the world gets to see it because of them. And yeah, I just feel so, so lucky. It's pretty awesome.

Nimona comes to Netflix on Jun. 30