Exclusive: How To Train Your Dragon Live-Action Movie In The Works

Dean DeBlois, who directed the three animated How to Train Your Dragon films, is attached to direct the franchise's first live-action entry.

By Michileen Martin | Published

how to train your dragon

Apparently, Disney doesn’t have a monopoly on bringing beloved animated franchises into live-action. Our trusted and proven sources tell us that Universal is developing a live-action entry in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise. Dean DeBlois, who directed 2010’s How to Train Your Dragon and its two sequels, has been tapped to direct the live-action film.

We don’t know if the live-action film will be a remake of the first How to Train Your Dragon or a new project entirely, but the former seems the most likely possibility. With visual effects technology improving in the decade since the first animated film premiered, the potential for a stunning live-action version of the film is obvious. Not to mention, there is growing interest in live-action fantasy, with projects like House of the Dragon, Willow, and the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie continuing to stir the pot.

Actually, the timing of this news could have something to do with one of those fantasy franchises inspiring Universal. In November, it was revealed that the action set piece of the House of the Dragon Season 1 finale — in which two dragons, one ridden by a young boy, clash in the sky — was heavily inspired by a similar scene in How to Train Your Dragon.

This is nothing but pure speculation, but maybe seeing that House of the Dragon scene showed Universal exactly what could be done in a live-action How to Train Your Dragon.

Loosely based on the series of children’s books by British author Cressida Cowell, How to Train Your Dragon was released in 2010 with a long list of all-star voice talent including Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, Craig Ferguson, and Kristen Wiig. The film was nominated for two Oscars including Best Animated Film, but it had the bad luck of coming out the same year as Toy Story 3.

gerard butler

The live-action film is still in development, so the cast hasn’t been nailed down yet. We’d assume most of the voice cast from the animated How to Train Your Dragon film wouldn’t be easy fits for a live-action version, though one no-brainer would be Gerard Butler appearing as a live-action version of King Stoick the Vast. Not only does Butler voice the hero’s father in all three films and much of the related media, but How to Train Your Dragon remains the actor’s best-reviewed movie according to Rotten Tomatoes.

While the features DeBlois has directed have exclusively been animated up until now, the new project our sources told us about won’t be his first live-action film. In September 2019 — seven months after the release of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden WorldThe Hollywood Reporter announced that DeBlois would be helming the long-gestating Micronauts for Paramount and Hasbro. Perhaps working on the film for the toy line is what gave DeBlois more of a taste for live-action.