HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON Executive Producer Tim Johnson Talks Sequel and TV Series

     January 17, 2011


As we’ve previously reported, DreamWorks Animation is not only planning a sequel to their terrific film How to Train Your Dragon, but they’re developing an animated series for Cartoon Network as well. recently spoke with executive producer Tim Johnson about their plans for the sequel as well as the animated series.  Johnson says that (unsurprisingly), the sequel (which is due out in 2013) will be massive and they’re in the process of figuring out the new sets and characters.  As for the TV series, while DreamWorks Animation is pushing a Kung Fu Panda series onto Nickelodeon, HTTYD is going to Cartoon Network because DWA want to keep the more dramatic and darker edge of Dragon, and the challenge is in keeping that tone.

Hit the jump for Johnson’s in-depth answers on the sequel and TV series.  How to Train Your Dragon co-director Dean DeBlois is helming the sequel with the original voice cast set to return.

how_to_train_your_dragon_movie_poster_01Click over to to check out the full interview.

On How to Train Your Dragon 2:

It’s a much bigger movie.  Everyone is already terrified of pulling off the movie.  [Director Dean DeBlois] had a big pitch two weeks ago and now we’re trying to figure out how we’re going to pull off that story.  But we’re so early and it’s really about taking a look at the new sets and new characters he’s proposing and figuring out if we can get it all done.

On the sequel’s production timeline:

I think we’re talking about fall 2013, so we have a little less than three years.  For animation, that’s fast, but for a sequel that’s not that bad.  We usually take about four years or more for an original movie because a lot of that is just discovery, finding the world, the design, the look of it, and how the light and color works.  Obviously, when you’ve done a first movie, you’ve solved a lot of the problems.

On the upcoming animated series:

We just embarked on it.  Now we have a partner in Nickelodeon for the Kung Fu Panda TV series, and that’s a show that’s appropriate to Nickelodeon.  It’s a little bit younger.  It’s fun, sort of outrageous adventures.  With How to Train Your Dragon, we’re not going to do it with Nickelodeon.  We’re actually going a little darker, a little more dramatic, much like the film.  The goal was not to change it or lighten it for a TV series.  The goal is to stay true to it in a TV series and that was actually fairly changing.  So we’ll see.  It’s still in early development and the scripts are just now coming in for it.  I believe the TV series will be ahead of the second film by about a year.  I believe the TV series goal is for 2012 and then the sequel for 2013.  It would definitely not be at the same time as the series.  The goal is to explore this world maybe every year or two with different stories and different formats.  We did a short called The Boneknapper Dragon that we released on the DVD and that was a fun 12-minute piece directed by John Puglisi that was a great exploration and one more step into this world.