• DreamWorks is in need of a new franchise to replace the success of the How To Train Your Dragon movies.
  • The Wizards of Once, based on a book series by Cressida Cowell, is the best contender to become the successor to How To Train Your Dragon.
  • With the resurgence of YA fantasy adaptations, The Wizards of Once could be released at the perfect time to achieve critical and financial success.

DreamWorks had an almighty hit with the How To Train Your Dragon movies, and while the animated franchise is now over, the perfect replacement is brewing behind the scenes. With Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar under its belt, DreamWorks is no stranger to profitable movie franchises, but How To Train Your Dragon was a special case. Between 2010 and 2019, DreamWorks released a trio of How To Train Your Dragon movies, all of which achieved financial success to the tune of a combined $1.6 billion. Even more impressively – and where How To Train Your Dragon stands apart from DreamWorks’ Shrek franchise – all three movies were acclaimed by fans and critics alike.

2019’s How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World brought the story to a definitive conclusion, ending with protagonist Hiccup as a fully-grown adult with children of his own. Recognizing there is still money to be made, a live-action How To Train Your Dragon remake is currently in development at Universal. DreamWorks Animation, on the other hand, is left seeking a replacement. The studio’s need for a new How To Train Your Dragon is even more obvious after the underrated The Bad Guys and the box office flop that was Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken. Fortunately, a potential new hit franchise is already in the DreamWorks pipeline.

The Wizards Of Once Is DreamWorks’ Best How To Train Your Dragon Replacement

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World: Hiccup holding Toothless' face

Among the various projects in early development at DreamWorks is The Wizards of Once. First announced in 2017 and currently without a release date, The Wizards of Once is, crucially, based on a book series by Cressida Cowell, who also penned the original How To Train Your Dragon books that inspired DreamWorks’ movie trilogy. Not only has the literary franchise earned widespread praise, but The Wizards of Once pulls from the same family-friendly fantasy well as How To Train Your Dragon, albeit leaning more into swords and sorcery than friendly monsters and Vikings with Scottish accents.

Given the similar-but-not-identical themes, the established appeal of Cressida Cowell’s books, and DreamWorks’ previous success at turning Cowell’s creations into successful movies, The Wizards of Once is primed to become the true successor to How To Train Your Dragon‘s animated throne. Although a release date remains unconfirmed, DreamWorks’ The Wizards of Once could also land at the perfect time if it begins production within the next 2 years. Although Cowell’s premise does have a whiff of Harry Potter about it, YA fantasy adaptations are coming back in a big way, with HBO’s Harry Potter TV show and Disney’s Percy Jackson & The Olympians reboot both coming soon.

Why Wizards Of Once Is DreamWorks’ Best Hope Of Repeating HTTYD’s Huge Success

Hiccup looking at Astrid in How to Train Your Dragon

Although DreamWorks has many animated coals in its fire, The Wizards of Once stands out as the studio’s best hope of replicating How To Train Your Dragon‘s immense critical and financial success. First and foremost, many of DreamWorks’ upcoming movies are continuations of existing franchises such as Shrek, Madagascar, Trolls, Captain Underpants and Kung Fu Panda – all of which have arguably passed their peak critically, commercially, or both. DreamWorks does have a number of original movies on its slate, but these are either less immediately appealing, or bigger cinematic risks compared to The Wizards of Once.

Orion & The Dark‘s premise is promising, but the introspective story of adolescent fear takes a larger gamble than The Wizards of Once‘s animated wizards. Mice & Mystics, meanwhile, is based on a board game, requiring more creative input from DreamWorks than a book adaptation like The Wizards of Once. Sputnik’s Guide To Life On Earth incorporates deeper, more emotional themes that could potentially test a typical DreamWorks movie audience, while Ronan Boyle & The Bridge of Riddles harbors promise, but lacks the cinematic name value of Cressida Cowell. That leaves The Wizards of Once as DreamWorks’ best hope of finding another How To Train Your Dragon-sized hit franchise.

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