New “How to Train Your Dragon” Art Shows Character Development Done Right

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: DreamWorks)

Do you know what I love most about the “How to Train Your Dragon” universe? What sets it aside from many of the other DreamWorks movies?

It’s the characters.

Sure, plenty of other DreamWorks movies have a colorful cast of merchanizable heroes, but in “How to Train Your Dragon”, everyone, from the center stars to the background characters, feel real and developed. They have their own personal quirks and habits. You really care about them and how they grow and develop.

It’s been fun watching Hiccup and his friends mature and grow. From the look of some new promo art from the next film in the series, what we’ve seen so far is only the beginning.

The most striking character in this new art is, of course, Hiccup. Comparing his design from the original movie with new images from the third film, it’s easy to see how he’s grown and developed.

Heck, it pretty much looks like those celebrity Pokémon evolution memes from a few years ago!

I love how this new design for Hiccup shows how he’s growing into adulthood and no doubt embracing the responsibilities that come with that. In this movie, Hiccup will be the leader of his village, and he certainly looks the part! From a purely design aesthetic, this works really well.

Beards as Character Development

Astrid looks great too, but I particularly love what’s been done with Snotlout and Fishlegs. You can almost imagine some backstory behind their facial hair. Theirs is a bearded Viking community, so it makes sense that they’d want to grow some face fuzz, and I love that the arrogant snotlout has only managed a light, fluffy upper lip while the D&D enthusiast Fishlegs sports an impressive braided moustache.

There’s a lot of information in these little design details that really communicate a lot about how the characters have evolved and changed since we’ve last seen them.

While I don’t normally like to trust character artwork as a sole indicator of a movie’s quality, I can’t help but be excited to see more of “How to Train Your Dragon 3”, as we get further glimpses at the future of this series and the characters we’ve all come to love.