How to Train Your Dragon (franchise)

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How to Train Your Dragon
How to Train Your Dragon logo.png
Created byDreamWorks Animation
Print publications
  • How to Train Your Dragon: Burning Midnight (2016)
Graphic novel(s)
Films and television
Short film(s)
Television seriesDreamWorks Dragons (2012–2018)
Theatrical presentations
Play(s)How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular (2012)
Video game(s)
Official website
* Crossover work

The How to Train Your Dragon franchise from DreamWorks Animation consists of three feature films How to Train Your Dragon (2010), How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019). The franchise is loosely based on the book series of the same name by British author Cressida Cowell. The franchise also consists of four short films: Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon (2011), Book of Dragons (2012), Gift of the Night Fury (2012) and Dawn of the Dragon Racers (2014). A television series following the events of the first film, Dragons: Riders of Berk, began airing on Cartoon Network in September 2012. It was renamed Dragons: Defenders of Berk for second season. Another television series, titled Dragons: Race to the Edge, serves as a prequel to the second film and aired on Netflix from June 2015 to February 2018.[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. Upon becoming leaders of their kind, Hiccup and Toothless are forced to make choices that will truly ensure peace between people and dragons. 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, and a year between the second and third film. [2]

The film series has been highly acclaimed with its first two features being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, in addition to the first film's nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Score.


Comic books[edit]

A series of comic books, titled Dragons: Riders of Berk, were released by Titan Comics, starting with the first volume, Dragon Down, on April 30, 2014.[3] The comics were written by Simon Furman and drawn by Iwan Nazif.[4] Other volumes are Dangers of the Deep (2014),[5] The Ice Castle (2015),[6] The Stowaway (2015),[7] The Legend of Ragnarok (2015),[8] and Underworld (2015).[9]

Graphic novels[edit]

Dark Horse Comics have released a series of graphic novels based on the franchise, starting with How to Train Your Dragon: The Serpent's Heir in 2016.[10] 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.[10] 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.[10][11]


Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Producer(s)
How to Train Your Dragon March 26, 2010 (2010-03-26) Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois Will Davies, Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders Bonnie Arnold
How to Train Your Dragon 2 June 13, 2014 (2014-06-13) Dean DeBlois Dean DeBlois
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World February 22, 2019 (2019-02-22) Bonnie Arnold, Brad Lewis

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)[edit]

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 inspired by 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 of finally gaining the tribe's acceptance, he finds that he no longer has the desire to kill the dragon and instead befriends it.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)[edit]

A sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2, was confirmed on April 27, 2010.[12] 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 until was temporarily cancelled.[13] The film was released on June 13, 2014.[14] It was announced that the entire original voice cast – Baruchel, Butler, Ferguson, Ferrera, Hill, Mintz-Plasse, Miller and Wiig – would return for the sequel.[15] New cast includes Kit Harington as Eret, Cate Blanchett as Valka, and Djimon Hounsou as Drago Bludvist.[16] John Powell, the composer of the first score, will also return for the second and third film.[17]

Set five years after the events of the original film, Hiccup and Toothless have successfully united dragons and Vikings. Now 20 years old, Hiccup 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 long-lost mother.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)[edit]

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."[18] 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."[19] DeBlois said in an interview that the third part will be released in 2016.[20]

The release date was delayed several times. In September 2012, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation announced the release date for June 18, 2016,[21] which was later changed to June 17, 2016.[22][23] In September 2014, the film's release date was moved to June 9, 2017.[24] 2018, taking over the release date of Warner Animation Group's The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.[25] On December 5, 2016, the release date was pushed back again to March 1, 2019.[26] This will also be the first DreamWorks Animation film to be distributed by Universal Pictures, after NBCUniversal's acquisition of the company in 2016,[27] and following DreamWorks' departure from 20th Century Fox after 2017's Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.

The film was produced by Bonnie Arnold, and exec-produced by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders.[21] Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kit Harington and Kristen Wiig reprised their roles from previous films.[21] F. Murray Abraham joined the cast as the film's main villain, Grimmel.[28] Set one year after the events of the second film, Hiccup becomes the new chieftain of Berk for dragons and Vikings. His late father tells him to seek out the safe haven of Dragons, the "Hidden World". Upon discovering a female Fury dragon, Toothless makes a new bond with her. The Night Fury killer, Grimmel the Grisly, sets out to find and kill Toothless, prompting Hiccup to make a choice between keeping the dragons or letting them go.

Television series[edit]

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.[29] 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.[30]

Although it was announced that the series would be called Dragons: The Series,[31] TV promos shown in June 2012 revealed a new title - Dragons: Riders of Berk.[32] The series began airing in the third quarter of 2012.[31] John Sanford, the director of seven episodes in the first season, confirmed that there would also be a second season.[33] 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).[31] The second season is accompanied with the new subtitle, Defenders of Berk, replacing the previous Riders of Berk subtitle.[1] The show then moved to Netflix and was subtitled Race to the Edge. It consists, in total, of 8 seasons.

SeasonSubtitleEpisodesOriginally released
First releasedLast releasedNetwork
1Riders of Berk20August 7, 2012 (2012-08-07)March 20, 2013 (2013-03-20)Cartoon Network
2 Defenders of Berk20September 19, 2013 (2013-09-19)March 5, 2014 (2014-03-05)
3Race to the Edge13June 26, 2015 (2015-06-26)Netflix
413January 8, 2016 (2016-01-08)
513June 24, 2016 (2016-06-24)
613February 17, 2017 (2017-02-17)
713August 25, 2017 (2017-08-25)
813February 16, 2018 (2018-02-16)

Short films[edit]

Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon[edit]

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.[34]

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.

Book of Dragons[edit]

Book of Dragons is an 18-minute[35] 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).[36]

Gift of the Night Fury[edit]

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.[36] 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[edit]

A 25-minute[37] 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.[38] It was released on DVD separately on March 3, 2015, and it also includes Book of Dragons and Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon.[39] It was directed by John Sanford and Elaine Bogan, and it features the voices of Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera[37] along with 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.[38]

Video games[edit]

Live performance[edit]

Ice show[edit]

A Broadway-style production named How To Train Your Dragon ON ICE is currently on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas.[52]

Arena show[edit]

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.[53] The show is being produced in partnership with Global Creatures, the company behind another arena show Walking with Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular, and directed by Nigel Jamieson. The score was composed by John Powell and Jónsi from Sigur Rós. Arena Spectacular features 24 animatronic dragons - 10 different species in various sizes: Nadder, Gronckle, Monstrous Nightmare, Night Fury (Toothless), Red Death, Skrill, Stinger, Kite Dragon, Zippleback and Egg Biter. It also features villagers and Vikings, including Hiccup (Rarmian Newton/Riley Miner), Astrid (Sarah McCreanor/Gemma Nguyen), Stoick (Robert Morgan), and Gobber (Will Watkins).[54][55]

The show premiered as How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular on March 3, 2012, in Melbourne, Australia,[56] and was followed by a New Zealand tour in April 2012.[57] Renamed to How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular, it toured United States and Canada between June 2012 and January 2013,[55] when it was cancelled in favour of taking the show to China where it premiered in July 2014.[58][59]

Theme Parks[edit]

Heide Park[edit]

In 2016, the German theme park Heide Park created a whole section of the park offering various rides based off the franchise called "How to Train Your Dragon: The Island". It offers three different flying attractions and a boat ride where guests venture into the dark Dragon Caves to meet and help Hiccup, Toothless and their friends.[60]

Motiongate Dubai[edit]

The Dubai Hollywood-inspired theme park Motiongate Dubai also features a section of the park based on the films and television series. The most prominent attraction is the hanging roller coaster named "Dragon Gliders". Riders join Hiccup, Toothless, Astrid, and Stormfly in flying through the caves of the Forbidden Island, where they come across an unexpected threat.[61] Guests can also meet and greet with Hiccup, Toothless, and Astrid.[62]

Universal Studios[edit]

To promote How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Universal Studios Florida briefly had a limited-time virtual reality experience where guests could experience riding on Toothless, while Universal Studios Hollywood allowed visitors to meet and greet with Toothless.[63]


Box office performance[edit]

Earning over $1.3 billion worldwide, How to Train Your Dragon is the 12th 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 #140 #160 $165 million [64]
How to Train Your Dragon 2 June 13, 2014 (2014-06-13) $177,002,924 $444,534,595 $621,537,519 #224 #109 $145 million [65][66]
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World February 22, 2019 (2019-02-22) $119,651,130 $317,200,000 $436,851,130 #536 #251 $129 million [67]
Total $514,235,285 $1,039,032,123 $1,553,267,408 $439 million [68]

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
How to Train Your Dragon 98% (206 reviews)[69] 74 (33 reviews)[70] A[71]
How to Train Your Dragon 2 92% (178 reviews)[72] 76 (39 reviews)[73] A[71]
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 91% (221 reviews)[74] 71 (38 reviews)[75] A

Academy Awards[edit]

Academy Awards Film
How to Train Your Dragon
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Best Animated Feature Nominated Nominated
Best Original Score Nominated


Cast and characters[edit]

List indicator(s)
  • This table includes characters that have appeared in multiple How to Train Your Dragon films or other media.
  • A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film or media, or that the character's presence in the film or media has not yet been announced.
Characters Theatrical films Short films Television series
2010 2014 2019 2010 2011 2014 2012–2018
Hiccup Horrendous Hadock lll Jay Baruchel
Stoick the Vast Gerard Butler Nolan North
Gobber the Belch Craig Ferguson Chris Edgerly
Astrid Hofferson America Ferrera
Snotlout Jorgensen Jonah Hill Zack Pearlman
Fishlegs Ingerman Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Tuffnut Thorston T. J. Miller Justin Rupple T. J. Miller T. J. Miller
Ruffnut Thorston Kristen Wiig Andree Vermeulen Julie Marcus
Andrée Vermeulen
Spitelout David Tennant David Tennant
David Tennant David Tennant
Valka Cate Blanchett Silent role
Drago Bludvist Djimon Hounsou Deleted scene Djimon Hounsou
Eret Kit Harington
Mulch Tim Conway Tim Conway
Tom Kenny

Additional crew and production details[edit]

Role Film
How to Train Your Dragon How to Train Your Dragon 2 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
2010 2014 2019
Director(s) Chris Sanders
Dean DeBlois
Dean DeBlois
Producer Bonnie Arnold Bonnie Arnold
Chris Sanders (Executive)
Dean DeBlois (Executive)
Bonnie Arnold
Brad Lewis
Chris Sanders (Executive)
Dean DeBlois (Executive)
Writer(s) Will Davies
Chris Sanders
Dean DeBlois
Dean DeBlois
Composer John Powell
Editor(s) Darren T. Holmes
Maryann Brandon
John K. Carr
Distributor Paramount Pictures 20th Century Fox Universal Pictures


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External links[edit]