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 and final film why dragons no longer exist.
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.
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. The comics were written by Simon Furman and drawn by Iwan Nazif. Other volumes are Dangers of the Deep (2014), The Ice Castle (2015), The Stowaway (2015), The Legend of Ragnarok (2015), and Underworld (2015).
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. 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. 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.
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 of finally gaining the tribe's acceptance, he finds that he no longer has the desire to kill the dragon and instead befriends it.
A sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2, was confirmed on April 27, 2010. 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 it got cancelled. The film was released on June 13, 2014. It was announced that the entire original voice cast – Baruchel, Butler, Ferguson, Ferrera, Hill, Mintz-Plasse, Miller and Wiig – would return for the sequel. New cast includes Kit Harington as Eret, Cate Blanchett as Valka, and Djimon Hounsou as Drago Bludvist. John Powell, the composer of the first score, will also return for the second and third film.
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 presumed-dead mother.
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." 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." DeBlois said in an interview that the third part will be released in 2016. 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").
The release date was delayed several times. In September 2012, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation announced the release date for June 18, 2016, which was later changed to June 17, 2016. In September 2014, the film's release date was moved to June 9, 2017. 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." 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." On June 18, 2016, the release date was moved up to May 18, 2018, taking over the release date of Warner Animation Group's The Lego Movie Sequel. On December 5, 2016, the release date was pushed back again to March 1, 2019. This will also be the first DreamWorks Animation film to be distributed by Universal Pictures, whose parent company NBCUniversal acquired DreamWorks Animation in 2016, and since the end of their distribution deal with 20th Century Fox.
The film is being produced by Bonnie Arnold, and exec-produced by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders. In 2012, it was announced that Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T. J. Miller and Kristen Wiig would return in the third and final film. Cate Blanchett and Djimon Hounsou will also reprise their roles as Valka and Drago respectively from the second film.
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. 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.
Although it was announced that the series would be called Dragons: The Series, TV promos shown in June 2012 revealed a new title - Dragons: Riders of Berk. The series began airing in the third quarter of 2012. John Sanford, the director of seven episodes in the first season, confirmed that there would also be a second season. 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). The second season is accompanied with the new subtitle, Defenders of Berk, replacing the previous Riders of Berk subtitle. The show then moved to Netflix and was subtitled Race to the Edge. It consists of 5 seasons.
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.
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 is an 18-minute 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).
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. 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.
A 25-minute 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. It was released on DVD separately on March 3, 2015, and it also includes Book of Dragons and Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon. It was directed by John Sanford and Elaine Bogan, and it features the voices of Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera 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.An action adventure video game released by Activision called How to Train Your Dragon was released for the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo DS gaming consoles. It is loosely based on the film and was released on March 23, 2010.
Super Star Kartz video game was released by Activision on November 15, 2011, for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS. The game features 14 different characters from DreamWorks' films - How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar, Shrek, and Monsters vs. Aliens.
Dragons: TapDragonDrop, a mobile video game, developed by PikPok, was released on May 3, 2012, on App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Dragons: Wild Skies, a 3D virtual world game based on the television series DreamWorks Dragons has been launched on August 27, 2012, on CartoonNetwork.com. The game allows players to find, train and ride wild dragons, including new ones as they are introduced in the series.
School of Dragons, a 3D educational massively multiplayer online role-playing game produced by JumpStart, was released online in July 2013, after a month-long beta testing. A Facebook version was released in October 2013, followed by an iPad app in December 2013, and a version for Android-powered tablets in March 2014. In the game, each player is able to adopt, raise and train a dragon, while learning how they function.
Dragons Adventure, an augmented reality game, was released in November 2013, exclusively for Nokia Lumia 2520.
Dragons: Rise of Berk is a free game which allows players to build their own Berk village, send Hiccup and Toothless out on exploration, hatch and collect up to 30 dragons and train their own dragon at the academy. Developed by Ludia, it was released in May 2014 for iOS, and on June 20, 2014, for Android and Facebook.
How to Train Your Dragon 2, an action adventure game, was released in June 2014 for Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Wii U and PlayStation 3. The game was published by Little Orbit.
A Broadway-style production named How To Train Your Dragon ON ICE is currently on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas.
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. 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).
The show premiered as How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular on March 3, 2012, in Melbourne, Australia, and was followed by a New Zealand tour in April 2012. Renamed to How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular, it toured United States and Canada between June 2012 and January 2013, when it was cancelled in favour of taking the show to China where it premiered in July 2014.
Earning over a billion dollars, How to Train Your Dragon is the tenth highest-grossing animated franchise.Note: A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.