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Over the course of a decade, the How To Train Your Dragon franchise has wowed audiences on the big and small screen, courtesy of Dreamworks Animation, and writer/ co-creator Dean DeBlois. While the company has seen rough waters, involving box office setbacks and changing of the guard, the series has been a constant in the studio that also brought us such classics as the Shrek and Madagascar franchises. But as it turns out, the latest film, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World just might be the best of the lot. At least that's if Dreamworks co-founder / Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg's word is anything to go by.
During previously recorded remarks at the Animation Dingle festival, Dean DeBlois shared the story of the trials and tribulations his script for the film went through, which ultimately led to the following praise from Spielberg himself:
I cannot believe what I just read. And I had a problem reading the last part of it through my tears. It's a complete unqualified classic and better than the original. I've never witnessed this kind of transformation from the last two drafts I read to this one. I only wish I had points.
That glowing recommendation came after two previous drafts that Dean DeBlois had drafted hadn't passed muster, with executives ultimately asking if they needed another writer on the project. Inspired, and in a sort of panic, DeBlois asked that he could take a month to rework the film a third time, which lead to a massive writing binge in an apartment he rented on Skywalker Ranch. Once it was finished, that script was reviewed by Steven Spielberg, who still serves as a consultant on How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, and the rest was history.
Dean DeBlois' comments about how Dreamworks Animation's difficulties effected the production of How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World truly highlights how hard it was to get this film right. This moment comes after the studio has had massive financial problems, a string of underperforming films, and was ultimately bought out by Universal, after having been partnered with Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox for the previous two installments of the Dragon franchise. With that many changes in fortune and management, it's not easy to hold onto what makes a franchise like this magic, especially if you're looking for a final installment that'll send things off on a high note.
By time How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is released, it will have been almost three years between the initially set release date of the film, and its actual debut. For most other films, this would be a sign of a "troubled production," and would lead to a lot of scuttlebutt as to whether or not it would be a product of any significant quality. After hearing the story of what went into that delay, and the ultimate approval that Steven Spielberg has awarded the film's most recent draft, it's clear that this is a case of quality over rushing to meet a deadline. You can even feel it in the recently released first trailer for the film, which you can watch for yourself below:
Our wait will finally be over when How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World makes itself known to the world on March 1, 2019. In the meantime, if you're looking for animated thrills throughout the rest of 2018, you can see what's coming down the road in our 2018 release schedule.