The sequel to How to Train Your Dragon has over three years to plan for its June 20, 2014 release. To match the heartwarming excellence of the original, DreamWorks Animation is going to enter into production right about… now. Writer/director Dean DeBlois spoke a the dedication of USC’s new Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Center for Animation recently, and informed the audience that several drafts of the script have been completed and the filmmakers have just begun the storyboarding process.
Jay Baruchel, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, and Gerard Butler are all set to reprise their roles from the first movie. Hit the jump for more on How to Train Your Dragon 2, including plot details and its place in a planned trilogy.
Heat Vision provides the synopsis:
“The story will move beyond the small, North Sea island that was the setting of the original film as it traces the further adventures of Hiccup as he grows toward becoming the leader of his Viking clan.”
DeBlois elaborated on his plans for the series as a whole:
“There are certain characters and situations that come into play in the second film that will becomes much more crucial to the story by the third. Other threads from the first will begin to pay themselves off in the second. It’s my way of guaranteeing that it is not another adventure that we throw the same five or six characters into, that it feels like part of a larger story.”
This sentiment echoes DeBlois’ comments from February:
“We are treating How To Train Your Dragon as the first act in a much larger story. As we head into this one, the world expands. Everything is much bigger with still the heartfelt qualities that made the first one resonate so much with audiences. There are no longer restrictions to this tiny island in the North Sea. They have the entire Northern hemisphere within their grasp… The only way of tracing the story is to draw on elements that were in the first movie and set up elements for a third movie, so it doesn’t feel like a random adventure with the same five or six characters. This truly is a second chapter in a larger story.”
I’m eager to return to the Dragon universe — it’s even more encouraging since DeBlois is focused on arcing the story rather than repurposing the first movie’s plot. Years of pre-production is a luxury not often encountered in the studio system. Can’t wait to see what they do with it.