In the new How to Train Your Dragon show, the human characters are not seasoned Viking warriors, but modern teenagers. And yes, that means they use cell phones and computers and have access to the internet. Showrunner John Tellegen says that in fact one of the biggest challenges with the modern environment was to balance the wonders of technology with the majesty of dragons, proved to be a bit of a challenge.
“As much as modern kids are on their devices a great deal, we did not want to lose what makes kites feel so grounded by putting too much technology into it,” he tells Polygon. “My instinct was always to lean away from technology.”
Dragons: The Nine Realms takes place 1,300 years after the end of the original series. (“Even though the show takes place 1,300 years into the future,” adds Tellegen, “it does not mean we will not find any surprises from the past.”) After a crack in the earth’s crust opens, restless teenager Tom and his mother travel to the bug research center. Curious after all the possible discoveries, Tom accidentally falls over the hidden world, the underground cave, where the dragons retreated after the end of the film trilogy. He befriends a curious black-and-white dragon and eventually introduces his new friends to them as well. The modern framework not only allows the characters to use drones, cell phones and computers; it also introduces new themes – those that may be more related.
“One of the benefits of moving into modern times is that it allows us to play on themes that are more current, such as climate change and animal rights. Things that are important to our modern audience that the Vikings may not did not care, “says Tellegen.” But so do our modern children. “
Unlike the characters in the original film and show, today’s children are in Dragons: The Nine Realms is a more diverse bunch. It’s definitely more of an ensemble show than anything else in the originals, which was ultimately focused on Hiccup and Toothless. But now there is another child and another dragon – with different cool powers – to match. For example, the shy computer hacker Alex is paired with a dragon that can become invisible, while fearless Tom ends up attaching himself to Toothless’ descendant, who can shoot lightning.
As Tellegen says, as the dragons and children evolved together, the focus was always on creating a broad and diverse list of human characters, all of whom shared a very specific thing.
“They were all children who did not necessarily have a place to call home. D’Angelo is a lad from the army who traveled around with his family, and Tom and his mother had been on adventures around the world, ”explains Tellegen. “The idea of bringing all these characters from different walks of life together and getting them to find a family and find a home in this place was a big part of the development of the human characters.”
Dragons: The Nine Realms streams further Peacock and Hulu now.