Watching Race to the Edge Together!
Race to the Edge will be coming out sometime on Friday, most likely at 12 a.m. Pacific Time. This is fairly late (or early) for most Berk's Grapevine visitors, but if you’re willing to completely ruin your sleep schedule for dragons, there is a Race to the Edge discussion chat:
Although the sidebar countdown timer is set for 12 a.m. Pacific Time, there’s no guarantee the episodes will be out by then! But if you find yourself needing to express your dragon excitement to other dragon fans, check out the chat!
Technology of Race to the Edge
The DreamWorks Dragons series is unique for being one of the few CGI animated television shows. Producing this kind of a show in limited time and with a limited budget has its challenges. To keep costs down, it becomes necessary to limit the kinds of effects used, the number of characters in each shot, and the number of camera moves.
Race to the Edge looks incredible. The look of the show is near feature-quality, with beautiful texturing, impressive lighting, and fairly fluid character animation. Water effects were frequently mentioned as one of the main technological improvements on the show. Manipulating characters underwater and above water is simple, but entering and exiting water or giving characters “the wet look” is difficult.
We should also expect to see new kinds of visual effects, especially snow. For a village where it “snows nine months of the year and hails the other three,” there hasn’t been much snow so far. Race to the Edge promises more wintery episodes, as well as other cool particle and fire effects.
Connecting the Films
Race to the Edge begins a couple years after Defenders of Berk, putting the main dragon riders in their late teens. There are 52 episodes planned for Netflix with 4 episode drops of 13 episodes each over the course of two years. The Netflix series will end right where the second movie begins. Art and Doug compared it to “bowling with bumpers”: they know where they begin and where they end, and must tell a story to connect the two with no loose ends.
This means that eventually, the Dragon Eye will have to come to an end (as will some of the new TV series characters, most likely). Because we and the characters are first introduced to Drago and Valka in the second film, there will likely be no references to them in the series. And unless some of the series characters are written into the third film, it is unlikely that Dagur, Alvin, Trader Johann, and the multitude of Svens will make an appearance outside of the series.
This is the last time we will see Hiccup and Stoick together, so we must treasure it! It seems like there some amount of Hiccup and Astrid romance as well. Unfortunately, not all relationship news is positive. Berk’s Grapevine can confirm that the clearly obvious romantic relationship between Toothless and Stormfly (ah, the lovely Toothfly…) will not be developed in this series. Or ever. I’m sure this is a big disappointment to all of us.
Producing the Show
Releasing all 13 episodes at once changes the kinds of stories that can be told. There’s less of a cost associated with re-introducing plot, characters, or dragons, meaning the show can be more serialized. This allows broader story arcs that span entire 13-episode seasons of Race to the Edge. At the same time, the advantage of a TV show over a film is how easily it can bring in new characters, villains, and dragons.
Although we will see the final product of each season approximately every six months, production of Race to the Edge never stops. Each episode is generally in production for 6-8 months, with work beginning on a new episode every month or so. This means at times, all 13 episodes will be in various stages of production simultaneously.
Apparently, after seeing Race to the Edge, it’s almost shocking to look back at the previous episodes of the previous seasons and how simple, less graphics-oriented, and less textured it is. The current iteration of the show is much more mature looking, just like the characters in it.
School of Dragons
The online multiplayer game School of Dragons is planning on releasing updates for Race to the Edge. There will be a Death Song update coming out soon based on the dragon appearing in the third episode, and new quests based on Race to the Edge, most of them available for free to all School of Dragons users. The Dragon Eye will be somehow involved in School of Dragons, as well as new villains.
School of Dragons is very passionate about including suggestions from fans in the game, and dragon fans have been very vocal in the past about what the game does right or what should be changed. And they also seem to collect fan art that dragon fans have posted on their forum!