Somehow it took this long, but after a trilogy of Oscar-nominated animated movies, a spin-off TV show, a series of short films, and multiple video games, How to Train Your Dragon—inspired by Cressida Cowell’s 2003 best-selling book—is getting the live-action treatment.
Obviously that means human actors and real locations, plus some major CG to bring all those dragons to “life,” but considering how popular the Dragon franchise has been, this feels like it could be a slam dunk. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Dean DeBlois—the writing-directing force behind the animated trilogy—is aboard to write, direct, and produce the film, which will be his live-action debut, for Universal Pictures. (No word on what became of DeBlois’ Treasure Island movie, announced back in 2019, or his Micronauts project, also announced in 2019.) According to the trade, it’s “the first time a live-action remake is being made by the same creator as the animated movies.”
The studio is so confident about the film, which will adapt the existing animated films, that it has already given a release date of March 14, 2025. News of this project was hinted at in recent weeks, but the word is official now.
There’s no news yet on casting—presumably Jay Baruchel, who starred in the animated films, has aged out of playing Hiccup—but THR notes that process is happening now, and also points out “one of the creative challenges facing the filmmakers is trying to find the balance of making the dragons appealing and friendly, like some were in the original movie, and realistic.” That is a fine line; How to Train Your Dragon’s giant sky lizards will certainly have to appear friendlier than they are in, say, House of the Dragon—while also being dragon-like enough to fit into a high-flying, live-action adventure story.
What do you think of this news? Will the enduring love of (and nostalgia for) this series help carry the franchise into a new realm?
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.