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How to Train Your Dragon (franchise)

The How to Train Your Dragon franchise (also referred to as simply Dragons) from DreamWorks Animation consists of two feature films How to Train Your Dragon (2010) and How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014), with a third and final planned for a 2018 release. The franchise is loosely based on the British book series by Cressida Cowell. The franchise also consists of four short films: Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon (2010), Book of Dragons (2011), Gift of the Night Fury (2011) and Dawn of the Dragon Racers (2014). A television series, Dragons: Riders of Berk, began airing on Cartoon Network in September 2012. Its second season was renamed Dragons: Defenders of Berk and its third season, titled Dragons: Race to the Edge, aired on Netflix in June 2015. [1]

The franchise follows the adventures of a young Viking named Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, son of Stoick the Vast, leader of the Viking island of Berk. Although initially dismissed as a clumsy and underweight misfit, he soon becomes renowned as a courageous expert in dragons, beginning with Toothless, a member of the rare Night Fury breed as his flying mount and his closest companion. Together with his friends, he manages the village's allied dragon population in defense of his home as leader of a flying corps of dragon riders. Dean DeBlois, the director of the trilogy, described its story as "Hiccup's coming of age," taking a span of five years between the first and second film, while explaining in the third film why dragons no longer exist.[2]


  • Film series 1
    • How to Train Your Dragon (2010) 1.1
    • How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) 1.2
    • How to Train Your Dragon 3 (2018) 1.3
  • Television series 2
    • DreamWorks Dragons 2.1
  • Short films 3
    • Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon 3.1
    • Book of Dragons 3.2
    • Gift of the Night Fury 3.3
    • Dawn of the Dragon Racers 3.4
  • Reception 4
    • Box office performance 4.1
    • Critical and public response 4.2
  • Cast and characters 5
  • Crew 6
  • Video games 7
  • Live shows 8
    • Ice show 8.1
    • Arena show 8.2
  • Graphic novels 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Film series

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

How to Train Your Dragon, the first film in the series, was released on March 26, 2010. It was directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders. The film is loosely based on the 2003 book of the same name by Cressida Cowell. The film grossed nearly $500 million worldwide, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The story takes place in a mythical Viking world where a young Viking teenager named Hiccup aspires to follow his tribe's tradition of becoming a dragon slayer. After finally capturing his first dragon, and with his chance at finally gaining the tribe's acceptance he finds that he no longer has the desire to kill it and instead befriends it.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

A sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2, was confirmed on April 27, 2010.[3] The film was written and directed by Dean DeBlois, the co-director of the first film. Bonnie Arnold, the producer of the first film, also returned, with Chris Sanders, who co-directed the first film, only exec-producing this time due to his involvement with The Croods and its sequel.[4] The film was released on June 13, 2014.[5] It was announced that the entire original voice cast – Baruchel, Butler, Ferguson, Ferrera, Hill, Mintz-Plasse, Miller and Wiig – would return for the sequel.[6] New cast includes Kit Harington as Eret, Cate Blanchett as Valka, and Djimon Hounsou as Drago Bludvist.[7] John Powell, the composer of the first score, will also return for the second and third film.[8]

Set five years after the events of the original film, Hiccup and Toothless have successfully united dragons and Vikings. Hiccup, now a 20-year-old, is forced to take on the mantle of chief by his father. When he discovers a group of dragon trappers led by Drago Bludvist, he goes on a quest to find him. But first he comes across a masked stranger named Valka, his presumed-dead mother.

How to Train Your Dragon 3 (2018)

In December 2010, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg confirmed that there would also be a third film in the series: "How To Train Your Dragon is at least three: maybe more, but we know there are at least three chapters to that story."[9] Dean DeBlois, the writer and director of the second and the third film, said that How to Train Your Dragon 2 is being intentionally designed as the second act of the trilogy: "There are certain characters and situations that come into play in the second film that will become much more crucial to the story by the third."[10] DeBlois said in an interview that the third part will be released in 2016.[11] Although the series has taken a different path of telling a story of Hiccup and Vikings, Cressida Cowell has revealed that the trilogy and the book series will have similar endings (with "an explanation as to why dragons are no more").[12] In September 2012, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation announced the release date for June 18, 2016,[13] which was later changed to June 17, 2016.[14][15] In September 2014, the film's release date was moved to June 9, 2017.[16] DeBlois explained the release date shift: "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. 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."[17] In January 2015, the release date was pushed back to June 29, 2018 following corporate restructuring, massive lay-offs, and to maximize the company's "creative talent and resources, reduce costs, and drive profitability."[18][19]

The film is being produced by Bonnie Arnold, and exec-produced by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders.[13] Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T. J. Miller and Kristen Wiig are set to return in the third and final film.[13] Cate Blanchett and Djimon Hounsou will also reprise their roles as Valka and Drago respectively from the second film.[16][20]

Television series

DreamWorks Dragons

On October 12, 2010 it was announced that Cartoon Network had acquired worldwide broadcast rights to a weekly animated series based on the movie, which was scheduled to begin sometime in 2012.[21] In January 2011, producer Tim Johnson confirmed that work had begun on the series and that, unlike the TV series spin-offs of the films Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and Monsters vs. Aliens, How To Train Your Dragon's series is much darker and deeper, like the movie. The show is the first DreamWorks Animation series that airs on Cartoon Network instead of Nickelodeon, unlike previous series such as The Penguins of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and Monsters vs. Aliens.[22]

Although it was announced that the series would be called Dragons: The Series,[23] TV promos shown in June 2012 revealed a new title - Dragons: Riders of Berk.[24] The series began airing in the third quarter of 2012.[23] John Sanford, the director of seven episodes in the first season, confirmed that there would also be a second season.[25] Jay Baruchel, who voiced Hiccup, also stars in the series, as well as America Ferrera (Astrid), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fishlegs), and T. J. Miller (Tuffnut).[23] The second season is accompanied with the new subtitle, Defenders of Berk, replacing the previous Riders of Berk subtitle,[1]

while the third season is called Race to the Edge.
Season Episodes Originally aired/released
First aired Last aired
1 20 August 7, 2012 (2012-08-07) March 20, 2013 (2013-03-20)
2 20 September 19, 2013 (2013-09-19) March 5, 2014 (2014-03-05)
3 52[26] June 26, 2015 (2015-06-26) TBA

Short films

Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon

Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon is a 16 minute sequel short film to the feature film, How to Train Your Dragon. The short was originally broadcast on television on October 14, 2010 on Cartoon Network, and released next day as a special feature on Blu-ray and double DVD edition of the original feature film.[27]

The film follows Hiccup and his young fellows accompanying their mentor, Gobber, on a quest to kill the legendary Boneknapper Dragon. About half the film is done in traditional animation, showing Gobber's history and his encounters with the Boneknapper, and how he comes to look like he does now. As it turns out, the Boneknapper has been after Gobber because he had found the one bone it needed to complete his own coat of bone-armor, and was using it to keep his pants up.

Book of Dragons

Book of Dragons is an 18-minute[28] short film, based on How to Train Your Dragon, and was released on November 15, 2011, on DVD and Blu-ray, along with Gift of the Night Fury. The short shows Hiccup, Astrid, Fishlegs, Toothless and Gobber telling the legend behind the Book of Dragons and revealing insider training secrets about new, never before seen dragons. The short shows a total of 14 different dragons, each separated into 7 classes: Stoker (Terrible Terror, Monstrous Nightmare), Boulder (Gronckle, Whispering Death), Fear (Hideous Zippleback, Snaptrapper), Sharp (Deadly Nadder, Timberjack), Tidal (Scauldron, Thunderdrum), Mystery (Changewing, Boneknapper) and Strike (Skrill, Night Fury).[29]

Gift of the Night Fury

Gift of the Night Fury is a 22-minute How to Train Your Dragon Christmas special, directed by Tom Owens. It was released on November 15, 2011, on DVD and Blu-ray, along with Book of Dragons.[29] Based on How to Train Your Dragon, the short takes place in the middle of preparing for the Viking winter holiday, 'Snoggletog', when suddenly all the dragons inexplicably go on a mass migration, except for Toothless, so Hiccup gives him something to help.

Dawn of the Dragon Racers

A 25-minute[30] short film, titled Dawn of the Dragon Racers, was released on November 11, 2014, on the DVD/Blu-ray/digital release of How to Train Your Dragon 2.[31] It was released on DVD separately on March 3, 2015 and it also includes Book of Dragons and Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon.[32] It was directed by John Sanford and Elaine Bogan, and it features the voices of Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera[30] along the cast from the television series. In the short, a hunt for a lost sheep turns into a competition between Hiccup and his friends for the first title of Dragon Racing Champion of Berk.[31]


Box office performance

Earning over a billion dollars, How to Train Your Dragon is the ninth highest-grossing animated franchise.

Film Release date Box office gross Box office ranking Budget Ref(s)
North America Other territories Worldwide All time
North America
All time
How to Train Your Dragon March 26, 2010 (2010-03-26) $217,581,231 $277,297,528 $494,878,759 #119 #124 $165 million [33]
How to Train Your Dragon 2 June 13, 2014 (2014-06-13) $176,834,091 $441,907,011 $618,909,935 #196 #88 $145 million [34][35]
Total $394,415,322 $719,204,539 $1,113,788,694 $310 million [36]

Critical and public response

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
How to Train Your Dragon 98% (183 reviews)[37] 74 (33 reviews)[38] A[39]
How to Train Your Dragon 2 92% (154 reviews)[40] 76 (39 reviews)[41] A[39]

Cast and characters

Characters Theatrical films Short films TV series
How to Train Your Dragon How to Train Your Dragon 2 Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon Gift of the Night Fury Book of Dragons Dawn of the Dragon Racers DreamWorks Dragons
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III Jay Baruchel
Astrid Hofferson America Ferrera
Fishlegs Ingerman Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Gobber The Belch Craig Ferguson Chris Edgerly
Stoick the Vast Gerard Butler Nolan North
Snotlout Jorgenson Jonah Hill Zack Pearlman
Tuffnut Thorston T. J. Miller T. J. Miller
Ruffnut Thorston Kristen Wiig Julie Marcus (season 1)
Andree Vermeulen (seasons 2 and 3)
Spitelout David Tennant David Tennant
Valka Cate Blanchett
Drago Bludvist Djimon Hounsou
Eret Kit Harington
Alvin the Treacherous Mark Hamill
Dagur the Deranged Mentioned Only David Faustino
Note: A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.


Film Director(s) Producer Writer(s) Composer Editor(s)
How to Train Your Dragon Chris Sanders
Dean DeBlois
Bonnie Arnold Will Davies
Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois
John Powell Darren T. Holmes
Maryann Brandon
How to Train Your Dragon 2 Dean DeBlois Dean DeBlois John K. Carr
How to Train Your Dragon 3

Video games

Live shows

Ice show

A Broadway-style production named How To Train Your Dragon ON ICE is currently on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas.[53]

Arena show

Hiccup and a mechanical model of Toothless at How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular

How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular or How To Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular is an arena show adaptation of the feature film How to Train Your Dragon.[54] The show is being produced in partnership with

  • Official website
  • DreamWorks Animation's School of Dragons

External links

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Dark Horse Comics will release a series of graphic novels based on the franchise, starting with How to Train Your Dragon: The Serpent's Heir in 2016.[61] The series will be co-written by Dean DeBlois, writer and director of the film series, and Richard Hamilton, writer of Dragons: Race to the Edge, with the production designer of How to Train Your Dragon 2, Pierre-Olivier Vincent, providing cover artwork.[61] The series will take place between the second and third film, with the first novel picking up right after the conclusion of the second film.[61][62]

Graphic novels

The show premiered as How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular on March 3, 2012, in Melbourne, Australia,[57] and was followed by a New Zealand tour in April 2012.[58] Renamed to How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular, it toured United States and Canada between June 2012 and January 2013,[56] when it was cancelled in favour of taking the show to China where it premiered in July 2014.[59][60]


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