The first film found Hiccup, voiced by Jay Baruchel, challenging and upending the entire culture of his native Viking island Berk by forming a boy-and-his-dog-style relationship with a dreaded Night Fury dragon he names Toothless. In the first film, a rare instance of really outstanding 3D, Hiccup and his rival/ladyfriend Astrid, voiced by America Ferrera, were about fifteen years old. But the sequel jumps ahead five years, and our formerly pubescent leads are now roughly twenty years old.
Last month, Deblois, who co-directed the first movie with his Lilo & Stitch collaborator Chris Sanders, revealed that Berk's dragon riders now have access to almost a whole hemisphere, opening Hiccup up to "unchartered lands beyond the Viking map. One of the overall concepts of the film is that he discovers a larger conflict brewing between humans and dragons and he finds himself at the center of it.”
We have a new, more detailed breakdown of the sequel story to scratch the itch that DeBlois's words inspire, but for now, let's take a look at two promotional images showing Hiccup, Astrid, and Toothless as they'll appear in How To Train Your Dragon 2. The images, which appeared at License Global (via Bleeding Cool) show Hiccup's new armor, which the director described as, “the equivalent of Viking bike leather.”
In the first, you can also see Hiccup's "dragon blade,' which apparently convinces the creatures that he's one of them.
Deblois has promised a new level of detail and sophistication for the facial animation of these characters. Thanks to new animation and lighting software, he said, “we ended up with so much subtlety, in facial animation, the sense of fat, jiggle, loose skin, the sensation of skin moving over muscle instead of masses moving together."
By now, you're asking yourself, "What about the story?" That's covered, too. Check out this new synopsis:
The thrilling second chapter of the epic How To Train Your Dragon trilogy brings back the fantastical world of Hiccup and Toothless five years later. While Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.
The first sequel is scheduled to arrive in theaters nationwide in just under a year, on June 20, 2014. Then there's the third installment, tentatively planned for 2016. According to Deblois, who also writes How To Train Your Dragon, the trilogy will tell the overall story of Hiccup's coming of age. I'm just desperately hoping that doesn't mean Toothless dies by the end of the end of the third movie.
Because like the Cressida Cowell children's books on which the trilogy is ostensibly based, the How To Train Your Dragon movies will explain just what happens to all the dragons.