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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON THE HIDDEN WORLD

About The Production
Training to Let Go
The Hidden World Begins
How to Train Your Dragon series architect Dean DeBlois has an undeniable passion for bringing dreamlike flights and astonishing tales to the big screen. He is equally focused on allowing the wondrous worlds he dreams up to serve as a backdrop for intimate stories that speak to the most human of conditions-finding the strength to follow your convictions, trusting love when it comes along...and grappling with when it's time to let go.

For DeBlois' imaginations of Hiccup, Astrid, Toothless-who live in one of the cinematic universe's most famous Viking villages-their journey on the big screen has mirrored key moments in his own life and of those to whom he is close. The writer/director's keen sense of adventure, wide-eyed imagination and unique ability to explore simultaneously deep joy and heartbreaking loss has given his avatars a life beyond the screen. They've become an enchanting part of our own world, regularly drawing in new fans who revel in the franchise's emotional and psychological depth.

Since audiences last met the people of Berk, the villagers have seen their sleepy hamlet become awash in messy, astonishing dragons. This new normal-no matter how beautiful, noisy and delightful-has become unsustainable. "A perennial underdog, Hiccup is now the rookie chief of his tribe," DeBlois says. "He's partnered with Toothless, who is the rookie alpha of the largest flock of dragons on Earth. Together, they've been instructed by Hiccup's mother, Valka, in the arts of dragon rescue...while Hiccup has fashioned armor made out of Toothless' scales. They spend their time attacking trappers' barges, freeing dragons and whisking them back to their overcrowded island."

Now that Hiccup, the most unlikely of Nordic chieftains, has defeated the villainous Drago and laid his father to rest, he wonders if he has achieved his boyhood dream of the perfect dragon-human existence. Quickly, however, this utopia is proving to be untenable...for two-legged and two-winged creatures alike. The bucolic isle is running out of room, and with the vast number of dragons underfoot and overhead, the formerly quiet village is beyond madness.

But a far more dangerous threat looms on the horizon. The increasing visibility of dragons in their world has exposed the magical creatures to those with a much darker agenda. Freedom, it seems, has come at a cost. "As a young leader, Hiccup's taken on the burden of figuring out where dragons must go," DeBlois says. "Still, his hidden fear is that he's ultimately unworthy without the creature who saved and defines him. He's missing the fact that Astrid, who is very worthy and capable, not only sees that in him...but wants to be his partner and relied upon. She is attempting to shed light onto Hiccup's problem of letting go, and feels that he shouldn't stop the natural course of Toothless finding his own destiny."

While the filmmaker created the last chapter to serve as Hiccup's coming-of-age story, from tenacious runt of the litter to growingly wise chieftain, DeBlois knew that the key to The Hidden World was in exploring how the Viking's relationship with Toothless would bend the arc of their shared destiny. We find a Hiccup grappling with putting first the needs of his dearest companion, even though the he knows he must eventually let his best friend go.

Producer Bradford Lewis, known for his work on beloved films such as Ratatouille, reflects on the appeal of joining this massive creative undertaking. "It is such a thrill to make an adventure that is equal parts sincere and epic-one that helps an audience feel such a gamut of emotion," Lewis says. "We're so lucky that the first two Dragons have been so embraced...and I'm thrilled to now be a part of such an unexpected new chapter in this series. This film is not only welcoming to Dragon newcomers, it's also deeply satisfying to diehard fans."

Lewis underscores that he has long experienced and championed animation as a medium, not simply a genre, and he found a kindred spirit in DeBlois. "The Hidden World offered this opportunity of a love story that's equal parts epic adventure and deep emotion," he says. "Dean's given us a fascinating universe, one with the dragon's Hidden World at the story's core. It's a mystery and an answer. It teases the audience and ignites imaginations."

Producer Bonnie Arnold, who has been with the franchise since it was developed in 2006, reflects that our heroes are on parallel paths. "The coming of age of Toothless heralds the Reign of Hiccup," she says. "Hiccup is the forward thinker of the Vikings who has long wanted peace for his people. That said, everything he imagined as a boy has changed. He has begun to understand that his dragon is a wild animal, and that Toothless' instincts are guiding him where he must go. Toothless is the leader of his dragons in the same way that Hiccup is leader of his Vikings."

To Arnold, DreamWorks Animation movies' embrace of the unique is what makes them so distinctive. The producer of the landmark Toy Story and Tarzan believes that the best films are simply stories well told. "As complex as the Dragon movies are visually, that's a nice complement to what simple, brilliant stories they are," she says. "This is the best version of the universal story of a boy and his dog, and this chapter embodies an unbelievable friendship told through Hiccup's eyes. Many people identify with his brave, coming-of-age journey."

Everyone at DreamWorks Feature Animation Group shares DeBlois' passion for memorable storytelling that refuses to play it safe. The magic of DreamWorks films begins and ends with the artists and innovative technologists at the Glendale, California, campus-who blend creative excellence with technological innovation, transporting audiences to worlds beyond imagination. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World perfectly embodies this artful melding of storytelling and technology, resulting in one of the most epic films ever made by DreamWorks Animation.

DeBlois appreciates that his creative team shared his vision, and that DreamWorks' technologists were able to create state-of the-art tools that brought The Hidden World to stunning visual life. "DreamWorks Animation has this great ambition to venture out of safe territory of animated stories," the director says. "The studio wants us to test our limits on tech capabilities and audience reach. DreamWorks isn't afraid of speaking to a more mature audience, and I love the youthful excitement and deep enthusiasm for innovative storytelling that permeates the studio-as well as the new technology tools that allow us to innovate."

THE CHARACTERS

Call of the Wild
Meet the Light Fury
When DeBlois considered the engine of change for this chapter of Toothless and Hiccup's evolution, he began to wonder what coming-of-age would look like for the Night Fury...as the dragon grows to yearn for a life beyond humans. "For so long, he has been Hiccup's constant companion," says the director. "But he has begun to stray from that bond as he is drawn by the call of the wild-and by instinct and maturity." To stay true to the narrative, the storytellers had to contemplate the unthinkable. "We asked ourselves if we could have their relationship completely fall apart, but still bring them back together, stronger than ever," DeBlois says.

Once Toothless first encounters the Light Fury (so named by Astrid)-a stunning and shimmering all-white dragon who exists on pure instinct-our alpha male finds himself pulled to the wild world from which she comes and will assuredly return. "Toothless is conflicted by loyalty, but he's drawn to what is so natural," says DeBlois. "For him, that's embodied by the Light Fury; she offers an innocent existence untainted by humans."

This full-circle moment is a bittersweet one for the best friends who've grown so dependent upon one another. "Before Toothless and Hiccup came together, humans and dragons saw each other as enemies," Lewis says. "Only through their meeting did they affect each other's world. Now, Toothless is doing the same thing as an alpha dragon that Hiccup has done in Berk. They're confronting what the natural place is for every creature-for Toothless to live a full-dragon life and vice-versa."

In the producer's mind, the Light Fury serves two functions. "She's a clarion reminder that wild dragons will attack a human when they see them, and that when you find love, that's where you belong. Light Fury is a lioness drawing Toothless back to the savanna."

That said, DeBlois admits that any stranger breaking up our star couple had to be both likable and spectacular. "The Light Fury promises a family and the propagation of Toothless' species," he says. "She's essentially there to lure Toothless back into the wild and to his rightful home. To make sure the audience is not resentful of Light Fury, we had to give her such a charming and distinct personality that she'd win us over. These are wordless transitions in animation, and imbuing her with these characteristics required our hitting familiar marks for humans."

When pondering Light Fury's individuality, the team had to grapple with a number of obstacles: including how to design a variant of Toothless' species. The animators leaned into all things feline-behavior inspired by the confidence, elegance and aggression of big cats. Just as Toothless' repertoire continues to be influenced by the real behaviors of horses, dogs and other domesticated animals, the animators had no interest in leaning on anything too anthropomorphic for Light Fury. Says DeBlois: "As Light Fury and Toothless interact, we are constantly riding up to that line to communicate attraction, danger, curiosity...the subtle developments of a relationship."

For Lewis, the Light Fury is reminiscent of some of the most glamorous actresses to grace the silver screen. "She's Julie Christie, Ingrid Bergman and Princess Grace," he says. "Light Fury is equal parts iconic light, strong, elusive and opinionated." That so, the challenge for the animators was to communicate her indomitable spirit...wordlessly. "We leaned on the elegance of a lioness. You're 100 percent reliant on the glance, posture, eyes and reaction in the body; Dean and Simon Otto [head of character animation] have been developing her language since day one."

One of the more iconic moments in The Hidden World was one of the first sequences to be led into production: Toothless and Light Fury's first date on the beach. Set to playful, romantic chords from series composer John Powell, the scene is primarily music-driven and largely a dance. While Toothless fumbles through his amateurish knowledge of the opposite sex, he must rely upon the creature in his life who loves him more than any other: Hiccup.

Toothless first captures the attention of his feral love by adopting a behavior he learned from humans, specifically Berk's new chieftain. "We based this on the story of Cyrano de Bergerac and gave it a lot of love and care," DeBlois says. "Hiccup encourages Toothless to replicate dragon courtship behaviors he's observed. Still, this is a stunning female of the wild who expects Toothless to know what he's doing. Of course, he's a bumbling amateur...with Hiccup cringing on the sidelines."

So what's a dragon to do when he's head-over-heels in love? "Toothless has no references; he's the last of his kind, and there's underlying sadness to that," DeBlois says. "Ironically, the one thing he learns from a human-drawing in the sand-is what wins her over."

In the case of art imitating life imitating art, the production's familiarity with the dragon heroine mimics Toothless' deepening insight into this elusive creature. "Since we animated the rig around Light Fury during our very first tests, we have been playing with proportions," DeBlois explains. "She's an ongoing creation, and that means our animators are dying to go back into the first sequence where we meet her with everything they've learned along the way. The subtleties of her reactions to the other experiences we are giving her in the movie continue to evolve, and that allows us to shape subtleties in her attitude and her performance."

Adds Lewis: "There is a subtle softening that comes into this icy feral queen as our animators grew to understand her more," adds Lewis. "This was less by design than serendipity; each beat she starts to warm up."

Riders and Dragons
Berk under Chief Hiccup
While Light Fury is the principal new headliner in the How to Train Your Dragon series, The Hidden World offers long-time fans and curious newcomers a plethora of beloved favorites and terrifying new villains. The characters with alpha instincts on Berk are as numerous as the dragons, but their impulses are fortunately restrained by Hiccup's leadership.

That juxtaposition makes life on the island very curious, and we find the villagers more committed to Hiccup than ever before. Now a clutch of dragon rescuers known as the Dragon Riders, all of Hiccup's friends have newly upgraded armor that reflects the unspoken bond with his or her dragon. As arguably the most fearless Viking to ever walk the shores of Berk, Astrid (her dragon is Stormfly, a Deadly Nadder) has long pushed, cajoled and encouraged Hiccup to believe in himself. She has risen to her calling as a fellow leader, challenging Hiccup to celebrate Stoick the Vast's accomplishments, but also to carve out a name for himself and become the man their people need him to be. Arnold explains: "Hiccup sees Astrid through rose-colored glasses, but he's also quite distracted when Toothless meets the love of his life and he starts to feel left behind. Astrid underscores that she is right in front of Hiccup...but she won't wait forever for him to get it together."

For Cowell, it has long been vital to have strong female characters either adored or admired by her audience. "I wanted to see the girl kicking butt, and that's what I love about Astrid," Cowell says. "Similarly, Valka is an interesting character as well because she's just so cool, but ethereal at the same time. She's not some stereotypical mom figure. These are strong women, and that's what I want to see. We need that for the future. We need girls seeing those strong heroes up there on the screen."

Our resident card-carrying dragon nerd Fishlegs (his dragon is Meatlug, a Gronckle) has just discovered the Crimson Goregutter, an old, grumpy-and massive-dragon with a huge rack of antlers. Quite uncharacteristic of its breed, the Goregutter has taken a liking to Meatlug's baby, Fishmeat, the young dragon to which Fishlegs has been acting as a surrogate father. Lewis says: "Fishlegs is the closest thing to a maternal character we have in the story."

Just as boastful as ever, Snotlout (his dragon is Hookfang, a Monstrous Nightmare) is always trying to overcompensate for his less-than-Viking-ly attributes. Although he's a poor fighter, he's constantly bragging about his imagined skillset. Desperate to capture the brilliant Valka's attention, he's incessantly kissing up to the most accomplished Dragon Rider on Earth. Says Lewis: "He's still short of stature, short of intellect, but has no shortage of confidence."

Much to Snotlout's chagrin, his rival, Eret, son of Eret (his dragon is Stoick's Skullcrusher, a Rumblehorn), has become a second-in-command to Hiccup-and continues to melt the hearts of his countless fans. Laughs Lewis: "In Snotlout's mind, he is Eret. Well, the funhouse-mirror version."

For their part, self-obsessed twins Tuffnut and Ruffnut (their dragon is Barf & Belch, a Hideous Zippleback) continue to be their greatest rivals to one another. Tuffnut fancies himself Hiccup's advisor, preparing him to become a full-fledged leader of Berk, and wants to coach the chieftain into becoming something he's not. Critical of everything, yet completely self-absorbed, Tuffnut is good for an observation that's 180-degrees opposite of reality.

Tuffnut's (better?) half, Ruffnut, according to Dean, is still completely vain and oblivious to her surroundings-as well as any danger. Accidentally (?) left behind on a mission, Ruffnut has become a prisoner of Grimmel, the biggest threat to ever approach the shores of Berk. Unfortunately for anyone who has spent more than 10 seconds with Ruffnut, Grimmel will soon realize that he just made the worst mistake of his career in villainy. After endless vapid musings of how everyone is in love with her, Ruffnut annoys him into releasing her.

Hiccup's mother, Valka (her dragon is Stormcutter, a Cloudjumper), brings her years of experience as a dragon-rescuing vigilante to the island. For the past year, she's been training our young Vikings in the arts of dragon rescue. "Valka is coach and quiet confidante to Hiccup," says DeBlois. "She spearheads this drive to find another preserve, but knows that greedy men will always find a way..."

When Hiccup lost Stoick, the mighty blacksmith Gobber (his dragon is Grump, a Hotburple) became a father figure to him. Gobber had long guided Hiccup in the ways of the Viking, and he's been the first to jump to his charge's defense. Gobber sees that this nerdy young man will never have an answer that's alpha-male, and is wise enough to realize that might be just what the Vikings need. As Lewis puts it, "Hiccup bends the prism around into a Hiccup point of view."

Undoubtedly, the most dangerous threat to Berk and its dragons is Grimmel, who has spent a good part of his life hunting Night Furies, the most feared of all dragons, into virtual extinction. Grimmel knew Stoick back in the day and deeply respected the Viking chief's early attempts to eliminate all dragons and make the world safer for humans.

The real reason Toothless was orphaned, this villain, according to the director, believes "the only good dragon is a dead one. He serves as the force of change that causes dragons to leave our world and return to the history we know. Grimmel is the epitome of superiority complex and he refuses to share his world with dragons, which he considers to be vermin.

"When he discovers that one has survived-at the hands of Hiccup-as a matter of pride, Grimmel's going to kill Toothless," continues DeBlois. "He promises to teach this boy-who seems intent on ushering in an era of peaceful coexistence-a lesson about dragons and humans...and how humans shouldn't have to share their world. When he finds out that Hiccup taught Stoick a different way, that dragons could live freely among humans, he believes that is a toxic idea. And he will smother that notion before it spreads."

In the filmmakers' minds, Hiccup and Grimmel have opposite souls, and they represent harmony vs. intolerance. "Grimmel sees a dragon as something to be dominated and eliminated," says Lewis. "Hiccup sees them as beasts with a heart and soul, while Grimmel thinks the extinction of dragons would make the world a better place."

THE PERFORMERS

Veterans and Newcomers
Voices of the Story
Jay Baruchel, who has inhabited the role of Hiccup for more than a decade, reflects upon what the end of this particular journey means for characters that are hugely a part of his own world: "In addition to the three movies, I've done seven or eight years of the TV show. I've played this character through hundreds of hours and over 10 years. Most people work their whole lives and are never lucky enough to be part of something that's half as impactful as any of these movies-let alone all of them. It's a pretty special thing.

"People adore these films, take possession of them and use them as a means of identifying themselves-everything from cosplay and fan fiction to artwork and tattoos," he continues. "Our fans treat our movies and TV shows as an actual universe unto themselves. They feel a part of this world. It is every artist's dream to create something that means what these movies and TV shows mean to our fans. That's something I could never have anticipated, and it is not lost on me. I'm very proud that we have consistently embraced and hammered home a message for square pegs everywhere: Just because life has been a certain way doesn't mean that's how it has to be; just because you aren't like everyone else doesn't mean you don't have something to offer."

Letting go isn't something only happening to the performers who are saying goodbye to this trilogy of the series. Baruchel identifies with his avatar's sense of loss and hope. "Hiccup sees the writing on the wall that Toothless is in love and that's something for Hiccup to have to contend with," the actor says. "It will play into that crisis that Hiccup must ask himself: 'Is everything I do for Toothless for his benefit or for mine?' If it's for Toothless', then that means he has to back off. That's difficult for them because of their profound connection-one that started with Hiccup trying to kill Toothless, failing at that, then saving and nursing him. It's hard to let go of the reins. Whatever was good in Hiccup was made better by dragons."

DeBlois' fellow filmmakers aren't the only ones who will miss the ship's captain. "Dean is one of the world's great living artists," raves Baruchel. "He is a wellspring of imagination, and he has always worn his heart on his sleeve. With everything in him, he believes in every moral and every message that our movies have embraced. He is a romantic who sees what's good in people. He's also just an incredible storyteller. His combination of compassion and an understanding of what makes a story compelling has made for very special stories."

As Hiccup begins to champion Stoick's mantle, the boy who once rejected all his father represented now understands more of what shaped the former ruler of Berk...and the leader he must now become. "Hiccup is forced into making big, tough decisions with the future of Berk on the line," says Baruchel. "I don't know that he could do that without hearing his father's voice or feeling his father's spirit. So he has these lovely dreams, flashbacks where his father bestows bits of wisdom that will help steer Hiccup on the right course. Even if his father is not with him anymore, he's still around in a big way. All of Hiccup's life he has been contending with his father's legacy. This is the part of the story where he embraces it."

While Hiccup has always relied upon Astrid to help him find his way in the world, the bravest Viking on all of Berk has long prided herself on wild independence. When it comes to Astrid, this evolution from nomadic warrior to fellow leader of the team of Dragon Riders has been a source of pride to her vocal creator. America Ferrera explains where we find the heroine: "Astrid has always been really good at reminding Hiccup of who he is. Whenever he gets doubtful of his abilities to lead and to step into action, Astrid has always been the person to remind Hiccup that he's capable and that he's not going to do it the way his father did it. He can only do his best, and that needs to be enough."

Inarguably, what the performer feels most passionate about with this character is that Astrid has never been simply a plot device to stand by her man; rather she's grown into a young woman who embraces collaboration among her friends and dragons as much as she does her singular perspective. "Astrid is fiercely independent and always has her own drive and mission," says Ferrera. "It's what I've always loved about getting to play her. She's not tied to being somebody else's cheerleader. She's got her own mission and goals; she is the least hesitant warrior of all and is always springing into action."

Ferrera has helped to shape the spirit of one of the most beloved heroines in cinema, and she has long felt that this combination of independence and compassion has connected audiences to Astrid. Ferrera says: "Girls and boys alike love Astrid because of her warrior spirit. She's not hesitant about her skills and power. She just goes for whatever she wants. She's also self-determined and knows what she cares about. She knows what her strengths are, and she's unapologetic about them. I think it's incredible for girls and boys to see a female character like that in a film like this. For Astrid, the answer is always choosing love and choosing to be the best version of yourself, even when it's the hard thing to do."

As did her fellow cast, Ferrera responded to the leaps and bounds in artistic advancements of this chapter of the Dragons series. "It's mind-blowing and stunning and beautiful," she sums. "The technology has grown so much since we started this trilogy that, as the series has grown, everything's grown-especially the capabilities to depict this world. It's just beautiful when we finally do see The Hidden World, when we come into the ultimate dragons' nest; it's jaw-dropping."

The juxtaposition of stunning creative breakthroughs combined with storytelling is a major reason why Ferrera has returned once and again to Astrid and the Dragon world. She says: "It's been such a privilege to know that at the heart of these films, these characters and this world that there has always been a very deep, very human journey and message." The actress pauses: "One of the things that I have always loved about this series is that it has never underestimated what young audiences can feel and understand. It has always worked on so many levels of fun and laughter and adventure and excitement-but always been rooted in very real experiences of life and loss and love."

As have many of his fellow performers, Christopher Mintz-Plasse has lived with this character in his head for many years. In fact, Fishlegs was the actor's immediate role after Superbad. "The Dragons franchise has changed my life. It was my second job, and I've been doing it for 11 years," he says. "I've done so much animation since the first Dragon. It's such an important part of my life, and I wouldn't have gotten Trolls or Paranorman and the TV shows without these films."

While many of the citizens of Berk have grown substantially since we saw them last, no one is as reliably simple as dear Fishlegs. "If there was one character who's grown the least, it is Fishlegs," laughs the actor. "He's still terrified, and he's always excited when he sees new dragons. He can't help but see a new dragon and squeal. Fishlegs is like the scientist of the Vikings. When everyone else was out and fighting, he was always reading up on dragons."

When discussing why fans connect so deeply with the character, Mintz-Plasse feels like it's because the wide-eyed naïf of the Dragon Riders shows us what is best about our relationships with creatures we adore. "Fans are drawn to this series because it's relatable," he says. "People see themselves in the characters and their pets in the dragons. I think these dragons are like pets, and most people in the world have a dog or a cat. I saw a bit of my dogs in all the dragons. Especially Fishlegs, who has Meatlug, which is like my dog I've had for four years. I also just adopted a little puppy, which reminds me of the little Meatlug that Fishlegs has."

When we first were introduced to Stoick's best friend, blacksmith Gobber, we met a stubborn Viking who agreed with Stoick that the old ways were the ones that should be held close. As Gobber evolved, we found a begrudgingly warmhearted spirit who was not remotely the cold man we thought we knew...and who became a true teacher and confidant of Hiccup.

Craig Ferguson discusses his character's evolution: "Gobber learned to keep an open mind. As the world evolved he was able to evolve with it-replacing a bad, no-longer-useful idea with a new one that is-what young people in the world now give him. If you're not open to the world changing, there's no place in it for you. Gobber began as someone who loathed and feared dragons. Through the stories and the adventures of these movies, he became someone who not only accepted dragons but came to love them. I think that there may be some useful tips for all of us in there."

Now that Stoick has moved on to Valhalla, Gobber has grown, according to Ferguson, into "a friendly uncle/grandpa/idiot figure for Hiccup. As Hiccup becomes more adult, Gobber becomes more of a fool, I suppose. It happens as you get older. The people you revered when you were young? You grow up and you realize they don't know any better than you. They're just guessing as well."

Even though he joined the series in the second film, Kit Harington has become as much a member of the Dragon family as any other. His character, Eret, Son of Eret, is proof positive that most anyone can change. Harington discusses the character's evolution: "Eret has gone from being a nemesis to Hiccup who traps dragons to a man with a good heart trying to protect his men. What we learned with Eret is that, through education, an angry young person's good essence can be shaped into treating his fellow creatures better. This series has a lot to say about how we treat those creatures in the world around us."

Discussing his hope for audiences' experience with The Hidden World, Harington says: "I hope they get a sense of warm closure from this amazing journey that we've all gone through with these characters. Hopefully, it leaves those people who've been watching since the first film with a sense of satisfaction from growing up with these characters. And people coming new to it, if they're watching the third film and haven't seen the first two, then you've got a great well of discovery ahead of you."

When it came to those who wish Hiccup and Toothless harm, the filmmakers turned to an Oscar winner who wholly understands the intersection between pathos and justification. Unlike any villain that Hiccup has ever faced, Grimmel has an unshakable belief in his own logic that makes him extraordinarily dangerous. As he wields the weapon known as the Death Gripper, he's become the most powerful man in the Dragon world. "Grimmel has a great passion, which makes him attractive," explains F. Murray Abraham. "But it's misguided passion. He believes that the world is made for only one kind of people, and of course he's full of beans. Unfortunately, it reflects the attitude of many people all over. 'What I think is best, and that's all that matters. I know what's good for you, even if you don't. I will do anything I can to get what I want for the world.' Well, in fact, it's not for the world. It's for Grimmel's concept of the world."

Considering that Abraham is new to the series, his engagement in the world of Dragon matches even the most seasoned veterans of the franchise. Discussing his first time experiencing the film in its entirety, the actor says: "The story is about letting your love go free, and trusting that that love will carry on, even though you have let your child go away. It's a story about independence, and it's not only the independence of the loved on, but of the lover also. It's a very serious and fun investigation of our innermost hearts. I'm very moved by this piece. At the end of it, in a private showing, some of my guests were weeping. It's a satisfying piece of work, and I'm proud to be part of it."

While many might expect that those to whom we had said goodbye would no longer be a part of this world, nothing in the Dragon universe is expected. Although Stoick the Vast died in How to Train Your Dragon 2, the character provides a pivotal arc for Hiccup in the new film. Gerard Butler describes how his character bookends the franchise: "Stoick was very reflective of the old guard and the old ideas of his people. He believed in an eye for an eye and taught his son those ways. Although he was once an example of impatience and intolerance, he offered Hiccup so much heart and wisdom when he came to change his mind. He was moved by his son's vision for their people. You feel their people's history and Stoick's wisdom throughout this chapter."

Butler echoes many of his fellow collaborators when he discusses his journey with the How to Train Your Dragon series. "These films have been so much more than movies; they have been life experiences," he states. "I've taken so much from every one of them. All three have been so bittersweet, and wow did they do justice to the ending of the trilogy. Everything that we learned with these stories allowed the audience to feel the journey, and the resolution we have is so heartwarming, emotional, heartbreaking, loving and funny. I don't have enough adjectives to put into words what I experienced the first time I saw The Hidden World."

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