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Dragons: Riders of Berk is an upcoming Cartoon Network and Dreamworks Animation adaptation of the hit film How to Train Your Dragon starring Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and T. J. Miller. The show picks up right where the feature left off with Hiccup, now regarded as a master trainer of dragons, and his loyal steed Toothless ready for more adventures on Berk. Together, Hiccup and Toothless (as well as many other returning characters) take training to new heights and set out to explore the full dragon mythology including the discovery of new species and new foes. The panel will include some never before seen footage as well as a discussion with the 'talented dragon trainers' who worked on Dragons: Riders of Berk...
12:00 p.m. The panel is introduced, it includes the head of development at Dreamworks TV and the two show-runners. The show picks up on Berk but soon takes Hiccup and Toothless to other locations to find other dragons and villains. All the kids are returning including Astrid, Snoutlut, Tuffnut and Fishlegs.
12:05 First, they talk about Jay Baruchel returning to voice the character of Hiccup. Apparently, he said that he wouldn't let anyone else step into the role and the relationship between he and Toothless is going to be expanded (especially after the loss of his leg at the end of the film). His return was important to the show since his voice is so distinct.
12:10 America Ferrera is returning to voice Astrid, Hiccup's toughest critic and number two at the training facility. Julie Marcus and T.J. Miller are playing the twins Ruffnut and Tuffnut (with dragons Barf and Belch) and they, along with Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs. The kids are the heart of the show, and key to keeping the tone of the film intact.
12:12 The dragons are obviously of paramount importance for the show, so the animation team are trying their hardest to create amazing and visually impressive creatures to keep viewers coming back.
12:14 Joining the adults, who have to adjust to the new relationship with dragons on Berk, are two new adult characters voiced by comic legend Tim Conway and Tom Wilson (BIFF!). They are said to be the 'Lenny and Squiggy' of the series.
12:17 Fifteen minutes of footage! Will report back after with details!
12:32 The footage was spectacular and they stress how none of it was recycled from the film.The early episodes will mostly take place on Berk as the humans and dragons try to co-exist. Actually, it's largely the group of kids, lead by Hiccup and Toothless, that take on the task of training the dragons and ingratiating them into the world.
12:37 Some of the villains on the show include Mildew as the local curmudgeon (Stephen Root). Mark Hamill as Alvin the Treacherous (Mark Hamill), the leader of 'the outcasts' which were a group of Berkians who were exiled. Their goal is to retake Berk and also harness the power of dragons. Dagus the Deranged (David Faustino - Bud Bundy!) as the leader of the Berserkers. His role will be expanded in season two.
12:40 New dragons! First they introduce Torch, who is initially confused for small creature but he's really just a baby Typhoomerang. These creatures are huge and they fly by spinning like a typhoon meeting a boomerang. Hiccup's dad Stoic tries to take Toothless for a while but eventually discovers his own dragon who he named Thornado. He's a Thunderdrum dragon who emits a sonic blast. There will also be sea-dragons, non-flying dragons and a bunch of other designs to draw from. All the different dragons have different powers and their designs complement the specific skill.
12:44 Finally, before opening the floor to questions, the panelist discuss the partnership between The Cartoon Network and Dreamworks which couldn't have been a better marriage. Both studios didn't want to mess with the heart and comedy of the film, and follow the mantra of "embrace the artist."
12:48 The first question is about whether you need to watch Dragons: Riders of Berk is on order to see the feature film sequel. In short, you don't but they have been working closely with the film's team and want to make like an added bonus. It will be more rewarding to watch them all but Berk is very much a stand-alone series.
12:51 The music was so important to the film and the questioner wants to know if the same score will be used. Although it's not John Powell working on the series, they are using a lot of his music.
12:55 The next question asks the panelists to name some of their favorite moments, including a Halloween episode, a puzzle-quest narrative and the ep when Stoic gets his dragon. Lastly, they are asked if there are any other Night Furies (Toothless' species of dragon) and, appropriately and sadly, Toothless is the only one. Hiccup is all he has and they've become their own family.
12:57 Dragons: Riders of Berk is coming this fall on The Cartoon Network but there may be a sneak peek! So keep on eye on Dragon news. The most encouraging part of the discussion was when the panelist mentioned the 'scrapped' story lines because they didn't feel they were up to the quality of the film. Artistic integrity!
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