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Dean DeBlois

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Dean DeBlois
Dean DeBlois in 2011
Dean Allan DeBlois[1]

(1970-06-07) June 7, 1970 (age 54)
  • Director
  • screenwriter
  • producer
  • animator
Years active1988–present

Dean Allan DeBlois[1] (/dəˈblwɑː/ də-BLWAH;[2] born June 7, 1970)[3] is a Canadian filmmaker and animator. He is best known for writing and directing the Oscar-nominated animated feature films Lilo & Stitch for Walt Disney Animation Studios (with Chris Sanders), the How to Train Your Dragon film trilogy for DreamWorks Animation (the first film also with Sanders), and directing the documentary Heima about the Icelandic band Sigur Rós.

Early life[edit]

DeBlois was born and raised in Aylmer, Quebec, Canada.[4] As a boy he was interested in comic books, which he later said influenced his drawing ability, imagination and storytelling. Growing up poor, he would visit a nearby smoke shop on weekends, where the proprietor let him read comics for free. Memorizing them, he went home and drew.[5] DeBlois attended Darcy McGee High School.


DeBlois began his career as an assistant animator and layout artist for Hinton Animation Studios/Lacewood Productions in Ottawa, Ontario, while simultaneously attending Sheridan College's three year Classical Animation program in Oakville, Ontario. From 1988 to 1990, DeBlois contributed to such productions as The Raccoons (TV series), The Teddy Bears' Picnic (TV special), and The Nutcracker Prince (feature animated film).

Upon graduation from Sheridan College in 1990, DeBlois was hired by Sullivan Bluth Studios in Dublin, Ireland. There, he worked as a layout artist, character designer, and storyboard assistant to Don Bluth on such feature animated films as A Troll in Central Park and Thumbelina.

In 1994, DeBlois left Dublin for Los Angeles to begin work for Walt Disney Feature Animation as a storyboard artist, where he worked alongside his frequent collaborator, Chris Sanders, as Head of Story on Mulan. Shortly thereafter, they re-teamed to create Lilo & Stitch.

Following its release in 2002, DeBlois sold several original live action feature film projects to write, direct, and produce, including an Irish ghost story titled The Banshee and Finn Magee,[6][1] a psychological thriller titled The Lighthouse,[7] and a family adventure series titled Sightings,[8] which were optioned at Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, and Universal Studios respectively.

DeBlois' feature-length music documentary film Heima chronicles the homecoming concert of Iceland's Sigur Rós.

In October 2008, DeBlois returned to feature animation to co-write and co-direct DreamWorks Animation's then-troubled How to Train Your Dragon, once again re-teaming with Sanders. The duo re-envisioned the film's story and shepherded the production to its March 2010 release. The resulting film became the studio's top-grossing film in North America outside of the Shrek franchise.[9]

During that same time, DeBlois also directed another feature-length music film for Sigur Rós front-man Jónsi, entitled Go Quiet, as well as a feature-length concert film entitled Jónsi: Live at The Wiltern.

DeBlois wrote and directed the fantasy/action film How to Train Your Dragon 2, a sequel to the original, which was released on June 13, 2014, followed by How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World on February 22, 2019.

On September 23, 2019, DeBlois was attached to write and direct a film adaptation of the Micronauts.[10]

In February 2023, a live-action adaptation of How to Train Your Dragon was announced with DeBlois returning to direct, write, and produce. The film is slated to release on June 13, 2025.[11][12]

Personal life[edit]

DeBlois is openly gay, and told The Advocate that people in the industry "knew that one of us was gay" but mistakenly assumed it was his straight screenwriting partner Chris Sanders, because DeBlois "hobbled in there looking like a redneck."[13]



Title Year Director Writer Producer Notes
Mulan 1998 No Story No Credited as "Story Co-Head"
Lilo & Stitch 2002 Yes Yes No alongside Chris Sanders
Heima (documentary) 2007 Yes No No also camera operator
How to Train Your Dragon 2010 Yes Yes No alongside Chris Sanders
Go Quiet (direct-to-video short) Yes No No also camera operator & editor
Gift of the Night Fury (direct-to-video short) 2011 No No Executive
How to Train Your Dragon 2 2014 Yes Yes Executive
The Other Side of the Wind 2018 No No Co-producer
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 2019 Yes Yes Executive
The Wild Robot[14] 2024 No No Executive
How to Train Your Dragon 2025 Yes Yes Yes
Micronauts[10][15] TBA Yes Yes No
Treasure Island[16] TBA Yes Yes Yes

Animation department[edit]

Title Year Notes
The Teddy Bears' Picnic (short direct-to-TV) 1989 assistant animator
The Nutcracker Prince 1990 assistant animator / layout artist
Thumbelina 1994 layout artist
The Lion King
A Troll in Central Park
Atlantis: The Lost Empire 2001 story artist

Television series[edit]

Title Year Credited as Notes
The Raccoons 1989 assistant animator 9 episodes
Quack Pack 1996 character designer / storyboard artist / prop designer 7 episodes
Histeria! 1998–1999 storyboard artist 17 episodes


  1. ^ "How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World - DreamWorks Tour". Jabba's Movies. January 8, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  2. ^ "Dean DeBlois Biography". Tribute. Toronto, Ontario: Tribute Entertainment Media Group. Archived from the original on July 10, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  3. ^ Lovece, Frank (February 14, 2019). "'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' brings the franchise to its end". Newsday. Archived from the original on February 15, 2019.
  4. ^ Lu, Alexander (October 21, 2015). "Interviews: Dean DeBlois and Richard Hamilton Reimagine Berk in "How to Train Your Dragon" GNs". Comics Beat. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  5. ^ "Dean DeBlois, DreamWorks Animation, Writer / Director / Executive Producer". FMX. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  6. ^ Kit, Borys (March 21, 2006). "'Lighthouse' turns on Touchstone". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 3, 2006. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  7. ^ Snyder, Gabriel (July 27, 2006). "U sets sights on 'Sightings'". Variety. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  8. ^ "DreamWorks Animation". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Kit, Borys (September 23, 2019). "'How to Train Your Dragon' Filmmaker Dean DeBlois Tackling 'Micronauts' for Paramount, Hasbro (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  10. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (February 15, 2023). "'How to Train Your Dragon' Live-Action Adaptation Coming to Theaters in 2025". Variety. Retrieved February 15, 2023.
  11. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 3, 2023). "'How To Train Your Dragon' Live-Action Feature Pushed Due To Actors Strike". Deadline. Retrieved November 3, 2023.
  12. ^ Steele, Bruce C. (July 9, 2002). "Disney dude: Dean DeBlois, the out codirector of Lilo & Stitch, talks about making a cartoon supporting alternative families, including extraterrestrials who do drag". The Advocate. p. 52. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
  13. ^ Taylor, Drew (September 28, 2023). "Director Chris Sanders Returns to DreamWorks Animation With 'The Wild Robot' (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  14. ^ Beresford, Trilby (November 13, 2020). "Paramount Pictures Takes Michael B. Jordan Pic 'Without Remorse,' 'Micronauts' Off 2021 Release Calendar". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  15. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 2, 2019). "'Treasure Island': Dean DeBlois Set To Direct Take On Classic Novel For Universal & Mandeville Films". Deadline. Retrieved January 29, 2020.

External links[edit]