There aren’t many directors out there who get the opportunity to direct all three installments of an animated trilogy (plus a TV series) but with the release of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World on February 22nd, Dean DeBlois becomes one of the few. DeBlois first joined the franchise with co-director Chris Sanders a mere 15 months before the release of the first film, but that race to the finish wound up yielding outstanding results that opened up the door to an abundance of world-building and a significant arc for young Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel). In the third and final installment, we reunite with Hiccup as the chief and ruler of Berk. Vikings and dragons continue to live happily side-by-side, but when a new enemy threatens this human-dragon utopia, Hiccup and Toothless must set out to find a mythical hidden world.
Leading up to the movie’s release, I got the chance to chat with DeBlois about his entire run with this franchise. We discussed how the series grew beyond his wildest dreams, the new technology he used on The Hidden World, how certain animals influence the dragon design and movement, and more. You can hear about it all in the video interview at the top of this article. And if you’re looking for even more How to Train Your Dragon talk, be sure to catch my interview with Baruchel and America Ferrara right here.
Here’s the official synopsis for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World:
From DreamWorks Animation comes a surprising tale about growing up, finding the courage to face the unknown…and how nothing can ever train you to let go. What began as an unlikely friendship between an adolescent Viking and a fearsome Night Fury dragon has become an epic adventure spanning their lives. Welcome to the most astonishing chapter of one of the most beloved animated franchises in film history: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.
Now chief and ruler of Berk alongside Astrid, Hiccup has created a gloriously chaotic dragon utopia. When the sudden appearance of female Light Fury coincides with the darkest threat their village has ever faced, Hiccup and Toothless must leave the only home they’ve known and journey to a hidden world thought only to exist in myth. As their true destines are revealed, dragon and rider will fight together—to the very ends of the Earth—to protect everything they’ve grown to treasure.