After the critical and commercial success of both How to Train Your Dragon and this year's How to Train Your Dragon 2, which have earned over $1.1 billion worldwide combined, fans will get their next look at Hiccup and Toothless in How to Train Your Dragon 3, which is set for release on June 9, 2017. Given the success of this franchise, it may be surprising that, during a recent interview, director Dean DeBlois revealed that the upcoming sequel will actually close out the trilogy.
Take a look at what the director had to say below, revealing that he had to talk DreamWorks Animation's Jeffrey Katzenberg out of making a fourth movie, but there may be spin-offs in the works.
"I think I've talked [Jeffrey Katzenberg] down from that (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."
When asked about the status of How to Train Your Dragon 3, the filmmaker had this to say.
"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."
He also added that the final installment of the franchise will focus on what actually happened to the dragons, a theme that is suggested in the original books by Cressida Cowell.
"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."
Last month, DreamWorks Animation shifted the How to Train Your Dragon 3 release date from June 17, 2016 to June 9, 2017. When asked if he had any input into the release shift, Dean DeBlois had this to say.
"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."
The Drago character in How to Train Your Dragon 2, voiced by Djimon Hounsou, was originally set to only be briefly introduced in that movie, setting it up for him to be the main villain in How to Train Your Dragon 3. When asked about how that impacts the third and final movie, Dean DeBlois had this to say.
"As I go forward I'm still working on kind of the antagonist story of the whole thing, but there are layers and textures to go to that I think will make for a much more compelling force of antagonism in this third one."
Are you glad that How to Train Your Dragon 3 will round out the trilogy? Or would you like to see a fourth movie? Chime in with your thoughts below. How to Train Your Dragon 2 will be released on Digital HD October 21, ahead of its Blu-ray and DVD release on November 11.