A Live-Action “How To Train Your Dragon” Movie in the Works at Universal

How To Train Your Dragon creator Dean DeBlois is going to help Universal breathe fire into a live-action film.

DeBlois is the man who guided the critically acclaimed animated trilogy from DreamWorks, and now he’s going to bring his beloved dragons and Vikings into the live-action realm. Universal has tapped DeBlois to write, direct, and produce the live-action film—in fact, the film is already in the works, with a March 14, 2025 release date set. Casting is currently underway.

DeBlois used Cressida Cowell’s books as his inspiration as he built his trilogy around the story of a young, decidedly unheroic Viking boy named Hiccup and an injured dragon named Toothless whom he helped nursed back to health. The three films were centered on the pair’s devotion to one another, their battle against humanity’s fear and hatred of dragons, grieving a lost parent, and the joys and sorrows of first love. As the movies went on and time passed, so, too, did Hiccup and Toothless grow and age. The voice cast included Jay Baruchel as Hiccup, Jonah Hill as Snotlout, Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs, T.J. Miller as Tuffnut, and Kristen Wiig as Ruffnut.

The films were a smash hit. All three were nominated for Oscars for Best Animated Film, and the trilogy roared to more than $1.6 billion at the box office. There were series on Netflix, Hulu, and Cartoon Network based on the movies.

The challenge for DeBlois is translating the animated magic he and his team created in their Oscar-nominated original trilogy into real sets, real actors, and CGI dragons that will look, one imagines, a little less adorable and a whole lot more dangerous in their live-action CGI incarnations. Striking the right balance between making the dragons realistic but not Game of Thrones-level terrifying will be one of the big hurdles.

This will be Deblois’s live-action debut. He’ll be aided by veteran producer Marc Platt, who has Legally Blonde, La La Land, and Universal’s upcoming Wicked adaptation on his resume.

Live-action remakes of beloved animated classics are, of course, nothing new. Disney has done it, to great success, with live-action versions of Aladdin, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Cruella and more. This will be the first time, however, a live-action remake is being undertaken by the same creator who brought the animated original to life.

For more on How To Train Your Dragon, check out these stories:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World‘s Creators on the Trilogy’s Epic Conclusion

How To Train Your Dragon Writer and Director Prepares for the Trilogy’s End

For more on Universal Pictures and Focus Features projects, check out these stories:

First “Fast X” Trailer Unleashes Jason Momoa’s Villain Dante

Will Ferrell is a Vengeful Border Terrier in First “Strays” Trailer

Pedro Pascal Kills It in “Saturday Night Live” Trailer for a Gritty Mario Kart Series

Rian Johnson’s New Mystery Series “Poker Face” With Natasha Lyonne is a Royal Flush With Critics

Featured image: Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his Night Fury dragon Toothless lead the Dragon Riders in DreamWorks Animation’s “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” directed by Dean DeBlois. Photo Credit: © 2019 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved.
© 2019 DreamWorks Animation LLC.


The Credits

The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.