‘Dragons: Race to the Edge’: Zack Pearlman on Snotlout’s Evolution from Bully to Dragon Rider

     August 26, 2017

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Now that Dragons: Race to the Edge Season 5 is available in its entirety on Netflix, you can do what I did and totally binge all 13 episodes in one dragon-sized sitting. If and when you do, you’ll find that you’ve met a bunch of new dragons, allies and enemies while revisiting with your favorite Dragon Riders: Hiccup, Astrid, Fishlegs, Ruffnut, Tuffnut, and, of course, Snotlout. The Riders of Berk have been together through the two feature films of DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon franchise as well as numerous episodes across multiple seasons of dragon-riding adventure stories. Surprisingly, most of the movie voice cast has stuck with the Dragons series on Netflix, allowing fans to bridge the experience between movie and TV without missing a beat.

One of the exceptions is the character of Snotlout Jorgenson, a bit of a bully when he was originally played by Jonah Hill in the movies. It was Zack Pearlman who picked up the continuation of Snotlout and has evolved the bully into a worthy friend and fellow Dragon Rider on the Dragons series. I got a chance to chat with Pearlman for the Season 5 debut about how that opportunity came about years ago, how playing a bully has impacted his own outlook, and where the character might go from here.

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Image via Dreamworks Animation, Netflix

But we got the important questions out of the way first, like how he thought the dragons in his own show would get along with those in Game of Thrones:

Zack Pearlman: I think, truthfully, I don’t know if the dragons in Game of Thrones would really understand a Gronckle. I don’t think they would understand a giant, fat dragon would fly. But I can tell you that a Monstrous Nightmare and the dragons in Game of Thrones would definitely hang out.

Pearlman, an admitted dragon-lover since his childhood, played it smart when I asked him what his favorite dragon on the show might happen to be. (Snotlout and the fiery dragon Hookfang are partners, and Pearlman didn’t want to tick either of them off.)

Pearlman: I love dragons, I always have. I played D&D as a kid. The fact that I play a Dragon Rider is insane. My mom got me a Hookfang because they were selling them at Build-a-Bear. There was kind of this heartfelt moment of, “Oh man, this is my dragon. This is crazy.” Now if you go to my parents’ house, there’s a trophy room full of stuff, and my mom has all the DVDs. I will admit that I have a plush Hookfang in my room but I will plead the Fifth whether he sleeps with me or not.

 

I think, in terms of yin and yang, Hookfang really is the best [dragon] for Snotlout; I love that relationship so much. If we’re talking [about] the first time I saw the movie, Toothless made me cry. But between you and me, I do think Hookfang is one of the best dragons on the show if not the best.

 

You could be a Monstrous Nightmare or a Gronckle, it doesn’t matter. It’s pretty cool, the fact that they are characters, too. It makes the show really fun to watch.

The original How to Train Your Dragon movie debuted in 2010 with the first gorgeous, well-written and high-quality production animated series following in 2012. Pearlman has been with the cast and crew since that first series took wing:

Pearlman: We’re a family over here. We’ve all been able to grow up together, these characters have come to life because we truly understand them and their relationships. As the seasons go by, you get to see those relationships grow.

Television