If you believe the creators, the animated How to Train Your Dragon was supposed to inspire a trilogy. Except when it wasn’t.
With the impending sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2 heading toward theaters, the team behind the DreamWorks Animation effort is making the press rounds. Composer John Powell worked on the first movie back in 2010, and is on board for the next two movies. He might even be on board beyond that. During an interview with Collider, Powell said that DreamWorks Animation head honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg started the ball rolling on a conversation for a possible fourth movie… even before part two reaches theaters. Now that’s confidence! Powell tells the site:
I think it was mentioned to [writer-director Dean DeBlois] by Jeffrey that maybe they would do 4. And that was definitely, I think, a real kind of eye-opener for Dean and for me because it’s like, ‘Hey I thought this was a trilogy?’ (laughs). So I don’t know, and it might be good because he’s got a lot of story left to tell, so maybe splitting it into two will work, but I just don’t know about that yet. I’m supposing that at the moment, Dean has an idea for the third one and he isn’t telling any of us yet."
There’s precedence for this, of course. Almost every major sequel, from Harry Potter to Twilight or The Hunger Games, takes its final chapter and divides it into two parts. The decisions are driven by money, and if How to Train Your Dragon 2 -- due in theaters on June 13 – breaks the bank, you can bet the house that 2016’s How to Train Your Dragon 3 will very quickly become Dragon 3 and Dragon 4.
Jeffrey Katzenberg has shepherded multiple animated studios during his tenure with DreamWorks Animation, most notably the Shrek films and its Puss In Boots spinoff. It’s easier to lock up talent for an animated sequel, as How to Train Your Dragon leads Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, America Ferrera and more could record the vocal work for parts three and four in the same sessions… so long as the screenplays are written.
This point becomes moot, however, if How to Train Your Dragon 2 comes out next weekend and misses its box-office mark completely. The initial film banked a staggering $494 million worldwide, alerting DreamWorks Animation on the audience’s desire to return to this animated land for multiple adventures. How many? We’ll know soon enough. But it sounds like DWA wants to be in the Dragon business for years to come. Does that sound like a good idea to you?