WonderCon 2014: Jay Baruchel & Dean DeBlois on How to Train Your Dragon 2

How to Train Your Dragon 2

During a press conference for the Dreamworks animated sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2, director Den DeBlois was disappointed that people already knew about something in the movie because it had been included in the trailer. If you want to respect DeBlois’s spoiler alert, you might want to skip this interview, but since it’s out there we addressed it in the interview. DeBlois and vocal star Jay Baruchel were at WonderCon for How to Train Your Dragon 2 and we got some one on one time with them in Anaheim after their panel. DeBlois also gave us some significant hints about how the third film in the trilogy will end.


CraveOnline: Did Chris Sanders leave How to Train Your Dragon in your hands, Dean?

Dean DeBlois: Well, as soon as the movie wrapped up, Chris Sanders went back to the project he had been on before being drafted onto How to Train Your Dragon, which was The Croods. So he spent the next couple years finishing The Croods with Kirk De Micco and I took over Dragon.


Has this become yours now?

Dean DeBlois: In the sense that I’m writing and directing the third part of the trilogy, yeah, I suppose so because he’s working on Croods 2 right now.


You seemed disappointed that people know about the mother, but she’s in the trailer. Was there a fight over whether or not to include that?

Jay Baruchel: Everyone gets along famously.

Dean DeBlois: Yeah, I would have preferred not to have revealed the mother to be honest because in the movie we sort of draw out that mystery, so that’s a bit of a spoiler to actually dump it in the trailer but I could understand why as well because it’s not a third act reveal. We’ve got lots of surprises to come.

Jay Baruchel: There’s a lot more to be revealed, a lot of surprises left.


But what’s done is done, and now that we know can we still enjoy the discovery of the mother?

Jay Baruchel: 150%. You’re still going to get goosebumps. I mean, I did and I’m in the bloody thing. Forget spoiler alert, the whole thing is a spoiler alert for me. I know everything, but still watching it, when she comes out of the clouds and the first time you see her, she’s so feral and abstract looking. Then in the moment when you finally put it together that she is who she is, it’s a big deal regardless.


I noticed in the trailer, they don’t actually eat the sheep. Is that important that the sheep is okay?

Dean DeBlois: Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they’re so fluffy and round that they can take a little bit of bouncing and abuse, but we make a point of showing that they’re completely unaffected by being tossled. As soon as they land in the baskets, they resume chewing.

Jay Baruchel: It’s the same as when they’re being sheered. They don’t feel a thing.


That’s like your save the cat moment, save the sheep.

Jay Baruchel: Yeah, exactly.


Is that based on Plinko when they bounce around the dragon horns?

Dean DeBlois: Yeah, a little bit. I think the sheep are tough in those parts of the world and they’re kind of used to, at this point, living on islands that are besieged by dragons. They’ve grown a tough skin.


Is the running time listed online, an hour and 45 minutes, an accurate running time?

Dean DeBlois: The actual running time of the film is about 92 1/2 [minutes] and then credits go on for a long time in these pictures.


It could be 13 minutes of credits, so that could account for the official running time.

Dean DeBlois: I know that the movie itself is just running over 92 1/2 minutes.


Jay and a few of the other actors stayed on to do the “Dragons: Riders of Berk” TV show. Did anyone need convincing to come back for the movie?

Dean DeBlois: Strangely no. Everybody had a great experience on the first film.

Jay Baruchel: Everyone was lucky to be a part of this thing, man. I’ll say, most people will work their entire careers and never be a part of something that’s half as impactful as this movie is. I’m lucky as hell so I will milk it as much as I possibly can. I just don’t know why anybody wouldn’t want to be a part of it.


How many times have you watched How to Train Your Dragon 1?

Jay Baruchel: Oh, gosh. I couldn’t even put a number on it.


Does this trilogy have to end in tragically because eventually we know there are no more dragons?

Dean DeBlois: Well, the descriptive of tragically is kind of the thing in question. I think what I was really inspired by was Cressida [Cowell]’s ambition to explain what happened to dragons and why we live in a world where they no longer exist. I think it adds a little bit of credibility to them to try to explain that. Did they die out? Did they go into hiding? Did they disappear? What happened? I love the mystery of that and I love the ambition of it. When I think about it, when I think about Hiccup as this grown Viking chief standing on a cliff surrounded by Astrid and everybody else and they’re now staring out over a horizon that’s no longer teeming with dragons. Over that, you hear the opening lines of Cressida’s first book.

Jay Baruchel: “There were dragons when I was a boy.”

Dean DeBlois: That’s moving. I think it’s really powerful and so the ambition is not to let it be a disappointment but to let it feel as satisfying and right as it should be.


Does How to Train Your Dragon 2 end in a cliffhanger?

Dean DeBlois: 2 is not a cliffhanger. There is more story to continue but it is within itself a very satisfying movie. You just know it’s not the end of the overall story.


Is How to Train Your Dragon 3 on a fast track by animation standards?

Dean DeBlois: Absolutely, I’ve been working on an outline for it for a little over a year now. I think I’ll be jumping into the screenplay in earnest pretty soon.


Jay, how big is your role in the Cameron Crowe movie?

Jay Baruchel: Oh, just a few scenes. He’s actually the man that brought me down to the States. I have two scenes in Almost Famous when I was 17. So it was a neat bookend to come back and work with him 14 years later. Cameron has always treated me super nice and he’s chimed in every few years and has watched my career. So last summer when This is the End came out, he was one of the first people to tell me how much he liked the movie and what he thought of it to the point that he’s like, “So I decided I’m going to put a part in the new one for you.” So he wrote something from scratch and put me into it. Anybody that can work for him should, and especially if you worked for him when you were 17 and get to come back at 31, it’s pretty special.


Is The 10 O’Clock People happening?

Jay Baruchel: Nothing concrete at the moment.


Are you a big Stephen King fan?

Jay Baruchel: Oh, he’s one of my heroes. One of my utter heroes, The Regulators being my favorite of all his books.


And did you shoot Don Peyote?

Jay Baruchel: Well, basically my friend Dan Fogler in New York, he makes these wonderfully out there, artistically truthful movies and he makes them piecemeal over the course of three years. So I was in New York and we were just chillin’. He was like, “Should I put the camera up? Should we make a scene?” So I was like, “Yeah, fuck it.” So we put the camera up and we riffed and it ended up in the movie.


How autobiographical was your feud with Jonah Hill in This is the End?

Jay Baruchel: That is not a subject for right now. 

Fred Topel is a staff writer at CraveOnline and the man behind Best Episode Ever and The Shelf Space Awards. Follow him on Twitter at @FredTopel.