With Race to the Edge coming out this Friday, it’s time to hear a little more about it! I was invited to the DreamWorks campus last week to see behind-the-scenes into how the show is produced and to talk with the artists, directors, writers and producers of Race to the Edge. And they have some pretty amazing things in store for us.
With a show as amazing as this one, it’s hard to know what will be coming out on Friday. Here’s what I’ve learned about the show while I was there:
- Episode 1: “Dragon Eye of the Beholder, Part 1”
During their search for the escaped Dagur the Deranged, Hiccup and the Dragon Riders discover a mysterious object... one that hold their destiny.
- Episode 2: “Dragon Eye of the Beholder, Part 2”
Hiccup and the Dragon Riders journey to Glacier Island in search of the Snow Wraith, a fearsome dragon that holds the key to the Dragon Eye’s mysteries.
- There will be 52 episodes in 13 episode chunks, spanning 2 years.
- About half the episodes will contain completely new dragons.
- Almost every episode has potatoes… if you can find them.
- Expect references to Norse mythology.
- The Dragon Eye is a slide projector containing information about dragons.
- The Snow Wraith was first called the Snow Fury, originally being related to Night Furies.
- We will hear the story of how Stoick and Gobber find their dragons.
- We will follow Hiccup as he creates the dragon blade and flight suit.
- There may be a musical episode.
A Dragon’s Eye View
Although originally, the dragon eye was called a “mysterious object,” it was never designed to be something supernatural or magical. The intricate cylinder is simply a (very difficult to open) projector that uses dragon flames instead of light.
By finding and collecting new lenses and using different dragon flames, Hiccup and the others use the Dragon Eye to explore beyond Berk. In a way, the Dragon Eye is the “Book of Dragons 2.0.” Though the Vikings of Berk may have been the first to train dragons, they were certainly not the first Vikings to come in contact with dragons. The Dragon Eye is meant to suggest the existence of Vikings in the past who also studied dragons, and recorded their knowledge for future generations.
And of course, a device that reveals new dragons and maps out the world beyond Berk would be pretty useful in the hands of Hiccup’s enemies, wouldn’t it?
Living on the Edge
In their interview with Berk’s Grapevine, executive producers Art Brown and Doug Sloan talked about how Race to the Edge would be the college years for Hiccup and the others as they explore outside of Berk. And if they’re in college, then the Dragon’s Edge is one big dorm room.
Each of the dragon riders builds their own hut, and each is somehow related to the rider’s personality or to their dragon. They also build a clubhouse for meetings in the center of the island. The clubhouse serves a similar purpose to the Great Hall on Berk as a important place on the island where the riders can talk together.
Check out Berk’s Grapevine tomorrow for visual development images and more descriptions of the Dragon’s Edge clubhouse, stable, and Hiccup’s hut!
About the Dragons
We encountered new dragons in the previous two seasons, but most of them were known dragons in the universe of the story. Now that Hiccup and the others have exhausted the book of dragons, they turn to the Dragon Eye to find dragons that they have not heard of so far.
This means the dragons in Race to the Edge will be as new to the audience as they are to the dragon trainers. Race to the Edge is very much centered around new dragons: about half of the episodes introduce a brand new one. You can imagine that it may be difficult to come up with names for these dragons and use them for the remainder of the episode without sounding forced or awkward. The Viking characters switch off, each of the main six characters being responsible for naming a subset of the new dragons.
The Snow Wraith is a particularly interesting new dragon. It was originally conceived as the Snow Fury, a dragon related to and somewhat similar looking to the Night Fury. Later, the name was changed to Snow Wraith (having multiple “Fury” dragons is not the best idea from the perspective of the franchise), but its character model and possibly its phylogeny are still related to Night Furies.
Often times, a new dragon will drive a Race to the Edge episode. Other times, the story of an episode will lead Hiccup and the others to a new dragon. We can expect a wide selection of dragons on the show, ranging from cute to deadly. Sometimes, the design process for a new dragon involves inspiration from the animal kingdom, while other times, dragons are created by combining the abilities or characteristics of existing ones.
About the Characters
How to Train Your Dragon 2 begins with a Hiccup who is trying to find a place for himself in his tribe and among his friends. Race to the Edge expands on this theme, especially in the first two episodes. The season begins with Hiccup and his friends having found all the dragons they can from the Book of Dragons, and as a consequence, have slowly moved on and found new jobs around Berk. All except Hiccup.
Finding the Dragon’s Eye brings the team together again to search for new dragons. We will also get to see the creation of Hiccup’s inventions from How to Train Your Dragon 2, like the dragon blade the flight suit. One of the benefits of the TV show format is the ability to explore all six of the main characters and their dragons. As far as these stories go, we can expect a completely unexpected but adorable love interest, someone having attachment issues with poultry, and a lot of great rider-dragon moments, especially in the case of Snotlout and Hookfang.
There are some crazy character-based episodes in store as well. In one episode, Fishlegs is hypnotized into believing he is a hero named Thor Bonecrusher. In another episode, Tuffnut thinks he is becoming a weredragon. And it sounds like a musical episode where everyone sings is not entirely out of the question. But it is a mystery whether it appears in the upcoming season, in some future season, or will never show up at all.
This is the first in a series of articles on Race to the Edge. Check back soon for more images, concept art, and descriptions for Dragons: Race to the Edge that will show up on Berk’s Grapevine this week! The next part is about visual development and design.