A month ago, you submitted questions for Art Brown and Doug Sloan about the new season of Race to the Edge, which will be released by Netflix on Friday, January 8. Here are their answers to your questions about Hiccup, Astrid, Chicken, Drago, the new dragons and villains, and much more!
Update: Now with new images and clips!
We've seen all these new dragons in the first season. What kinds of new dragons or returning dragons will appear in the second?
Art: In terms of returning dragons, we will revisit the Snow Wraith in a really cool episode called "Snow Way Out" and the Skrill in another pretty impressive appearance, in addition to some other returning as well. In terms of new dragons, there's the Armorwing, which comes into play in a really cool episode that centers around Snotlout, his father, and their family.
Doug: And several other new dragons, we can tell you that for sure. And the Armorwing is very, very cool because it takes pieces of metal and welds them to itself as protection.
Art: There's also the Seashocker! It's another underwater-type dragon. There's a really cool Fishlegs episode centered around the Seashocker. It's in the electric eel family, this dragon. Its powers are pretty cool!
You mentioned Snotlout's family. Will we see more of the characters' families or other Vikings on Berk?
Art: You will see Snotlout's father, Spitelout, who is played by David Tennant, in the episode that has the Armorwing. It's a really cool episode for him because it's sort of an episode where it shows the growth of them as characters. In terms of other family members, I think Spitelout is the main one in the next thirteen.
Doug: There's an episode called "Astrid's A-Team" where she recruits from Berk a group of citizens to ride dragons. Spitelout is one, Gothi is one, Gustav is one.
So we get to see a lot of returning characters?
Doug: Oh, yeah, absolutely! Gustav is really good in this. It's a really funny Gustav episode.
Everyone loves Gustav!
Doug: I know, it's crazy! He's so funny!
Art: One of the comments of fans for the first thirteen was wanting more Astrid. And in the next thirteen, there's more Astrid. Heather also makes a return, and we see their relationship and their working together.
Without giving too much away, what can we expect from Heather in this season?
Art: She comes back to try to find her place in the world and to deal with the information she received in the first thirteen with regards to Dagur. As we introduce Ryker as a new bad guy, Heather will play a central role in infiltrating the dragon hunters.
Doug: Heather is going to be a very big character in this next drop and the next season. She and Dagur will play a big part as well.
How will these new villains fit in with the old villains? Will the work together?
Doug: It all sort of leads to one main villain from the season. Up till the first thirteen, it was mostly Dagur — and it still is for a while — and then it will slowly start to fade into these other guys. And Dagur's relationships will be very, very interesting with the kids.
Art: But Dagur is still prominent in these next thirteen, but eventually the transition is to the dragon hunters. They're a little more ruthless. Dagur was always funny and crazy. But these are dragon hunters, and they've stepped it up. They're definitely more ruthless. They're brothers, and one of them is more old-school, and Viggo, his brother, is more of a thinking man. It will be a nice addition to Dagur, and seeing Dagur trying to find his way among these new villains.
Doug: So there's still the comedy of Dagur. He's hilarious with these guys. But these guys are completely brutal, gnarly, villains. They're really cool. And one is set up to be introduced in the last two episodes of the thirteen — Viggo — like I said, he's the thinking man. He's brutal and ruthless, but he challenges Hiccup in ways that Hiccup hasn't been challenged.
Read an interview with Alfred Molina about the new villains!
Will the show be getting darker, especially with these new villains?
Doug: No, I think there are some episodes in this season that are among the funniest and lightest that we've ever done. There's an episode with Tuffnut coming up that we think is the funniest show we've ever done.
Art: Him and Chicken are happily involved in this episode.
Oh! So Chicken is now a recurring character?
Art: Yeah, the chicken is a recurring character! The key to this show is always balancing the drama, the character stuff, and the comedy. But we always lean towards making it funny and making the kids funny. Mixing up the villain, changing it up, raising the stakes, especially regards to the dragon eye, is always necessary. And that enables us to be funnier, because you need the comic relief to break tension in those episodes where the villain is. And when they're not, are the standalone episodes are usually comedy-based. We had a lot of fun with our characters on them.
Watch a clip of the chicken below!
What kind of comedic episodes or moments will there be?
Doug: There's the Tuffnut episode that we talked about. Tuffnut believes he has been bitten by a dragon and will turn into a dragon, like a werewolf. And he's really, really funny. We're really proud of that.
Art: That's a great one. Even the Astrid one, where she puts her A-team together in Episode 14, there is a lot of great comedy when you have Spitelout, Gothi, and Astrid together.
How has making this season been different from the last one? What have you learned since the last season?
Doug: We're always trying to keep it fresh and to take the audience to places we haven't gone, which gets trickier and trickier as you go.
Art: What Doug says, we always want to lean into our characters and lean into the comedy that makes them loved. And I think that combined with upping our visuals and special effects and the action set pieces keep pushing the boundaries of that as well. We push the comedy as much as we can, and in new ways of making the kids funny. Especially the twins, Fishlegs, Snotlout.
Doug: We've done almost a hundred episodes. So you're always looking for stuff, but these characters are so amazing and fantastic that there's always really cool stuff for them to do.
Speaking of characters, let me give you one of the most requested questions: How are Hiccup and Astrid doing, and what will we see from those two?
Art: Oh, yeah. Hiccup and Astrid are definitely moving forward. In each season, they will get a little closer and a little closer to where they are at the beginning of the second movie, which is basically a full-fledged relationship.
Doug: We will not disappoint in terms of the Astrid-Hiccup relationship. It just may take a few more seasons to get us there. But I promise you.
Art: You will see the beginnings of it. There are elements and Easter eggs and fun stuff always between those two. Whether it's one of them being in danger and how the other one feels about that, or the kids noticing them getting a little closer. The dragons, and how they react to it.
Doug: And how the other kids react to it is great. I mean, we get to be the ones who show them finding out, let's just put it that way.
Which episodes of the next season took the most time or work to make?
Doug: Well, unfortunately (or fortunately) they all take the same time because we have a schedule that we have to meet. But the most difficult ones technically are whenever the characters are interacting with water, or if there are a lot of visual effects like fire and stuff with dragons that we haven't done before, or new dragons that we haven't done before, gesticulating them and making them move and work the right way. But the great thing is that the people who animate the show overseas are just brilliant and always seem to deliver amazing stuff. They make them better than we could have imagined.
How will The Edge grow and develop over the next season? I've seen lots of cool designs that haven't shown up in the show yet.
Art: There's a great two-parter about in the middle of this next thirteen where The Edge is under siege. Because we have so many episodes, we get to pair up our kids in different situations that we wouldn't expect, and give them a chance to deal with it. Astrid and Tuffnut are going to be forced to work together as they defend The Edge on their own while the other kids are gone. It's a really funny episode with Astrid being by-the-book and Tuffnut being Loki-ish. In that two-parter, because it's all about defending The Edge, we really get to see all the different parts of The Edge. This next thirteen really explores and gives the audience a good understanding of just how cool it is.
What would you say are the overarching themes or stories in the next season?
Doug: The Dragon Eye is the main overarching thing: finding out where it came from, what its use is, what it's all about, who is after it and why they're after it. A lot of it centers around that.
Art: The Dragon Eye really becomes the next thirteen. We got a sense of how they found it, how cool it was, and how it helped them explore and find new dragons. And now, in this next thirteen, they really get a sense of its power. In the right hands, it can be amazing. And in the wrong hands, it can be very dangerous. And another overarching aspect outside of the villains is the relationship between Heather, Dagur, and the kids. There's some pretty interesting things between Dagur and Heather. Heather found out some pretty hardcore information in that first season, and we see how Heather and Dagur deal with it.
How will they continue to use the Dragon Eye to explore their world?
Art: They continue to use it to help them out of tough situations. In the episodes that Doug was talking about — the werewolf episode — it definitely comes into play there. Different lenses are found. And once we introduce the dragon hunters, we'll get some more information about who the Dragon Eye was initially made for. The hunters will know things about the Dragon Eye that our kids won't because it goes with their history. That's a big part of what they're after.
Doug: And it really all goes back to the lenses. Without the lenses, the Dragon Eye doesn't really do much. As well as who is in possessions of it and who can unlock it. Because right now, we know you need the Snow Wraith key to unlock it. There will be some more information that takes it beyond this.
No spoilers, but what do you both think will be the most game-changing episode of the season?
Doug: I would say the finale. The finale is huge. We can't really get into it that much, but what we can say is that it's a game-changing moment both for the dragon hunters and the dragon map. There's only so much we can tell you!
Art: It's really fun. The buildup to that two-parter is really cool, and I think they payoff will be well-received. I think people will be really excited about what happens in the next season.
Thank you so much to Art and Doug for allowing me to ask questions about the next season! It's always a blast to talk to them and hear what's coming up for us! Have any ideas or want to speculate about the new episodes? Post your thoughts in the comments below!