In the animated movie world, Pixar is definitely the heavyweight champ. And “heavyweight” is probably also an apt description of what their award shelves must feel like by now. But while the Disney owned studio has been pulling in the gold with movies like Toy Story and Up (all fully justified, I might add), Dreamworks Animation has seriously upped their game over the last few years, giving us movies that are just plain fun.
And for me, top of the list of their properties will undoubtedly be the two How To Train Your Dragon movies. With both films, the only times you weren’t grinning like a goofball at the infectious adventures of Hiccup and his dragon friend Toothless, was when you were gawking at the incredibly detailed and eye-wateringly beautiful visuals on display (Nick did both in his review of the second film). And it seems there were lots of other grinners and gawkers as both movies made a killing at the box office, pulling in $494 million and $614 million, respectively. Those kind of figures of course mean more sequels.
Or rather, sequel – singular – according to the studio’s original plans for the franchise. Initially imagined as a trilogy, Dreamworks only has How To Train Your Dragon 3 pegged for a 2017 release, and according to an interview that director Dean DeBlois gave to Collider, that’s the way it’s going to stay, at least as far as he is concerned.
“I think I’ve talked [Jeffrey Katzenberg] down from [not ending the story with part 3] (laughs). There may be spinoffs to come, but my involvement and my dedication to completing a story that has a reason for being and a strong sense of integrity and three chapters I think is in place and intact. Everybody seems to be in agreement that we’re moving in the right direction.”
And just how far along in production is that third chapter now?
“Just this past Thursday I presented the outline for the film and I’m gonna take a two week break, but after that I’ll be working on the screenplay and hopefully turning the first draft in by the end of the year. So all is going well. It continues to be the third act of this trilogy and we get to see Hiccup’s coming of age come to a completion.”
But Hiccup – voiced by Jay Baruchel – and his evolution won’t be the only thing under the spotlight in How To Train Your Dragon 3. According to DeBlois, the next chapter will also be taking a much more in-depth look into the dragons themselves, in particular Toothless and his virtually extinct race of Night Furies.
“I’m also playing with the idea of what happened to the dragons and why they are no more, as suggested by Cressida Cowell’s books. So the whole mystery of where did they go? Did they come back? What transpired? I think it’s all compelling stuff and it’s definitely a story that’s gonna have a lot more Toothless emphasis in it. We continue to get more insight into the dragon world and shed light on their intelligence and all the aspects that we’ve been slowly cooking over the last two films.”
Initially the studio had How To Train Your Dragon slated for a 2016 release, but fans were recently given the slightly bad news that they would have to wait a year longer for some more dragon action. According to DeBlois that delay had nothing to do with any issues with the story though, but rather just that the studio’s planning got a bit ahead of the actual reality of developing a 3D animated movie like this.
“It’s just that these movies take three years. I think it was a little ambitious to say 2016 (laughs). As is normally the case, they kind of throw darts out into the future and wherever they land they call that a release date until we start talking about it in practical terms, and then it’s like, ‘Uh yeah that’s not enough time.’ (laughs). So knowing that they take three years from this moment, from outlining and writing the screenplay through to the final lighting of it, it’s just a process of building models and doing tests and animating, storyboarding, the whole thing just adds up to about three years.”
And I don’t know about you guys, but three years seems like a really long time to wait to take to the skies again on the back of a dragon. Unless you do LSD of course, right Nick?
How To Train Your Dragon 3 is scheduled for release on June 9, 2017.
Last Updated: October 17, 2014