Hiccup and Toothless. Since the moment when the fierce Night Fury nudged Hiccup’s outstretched hand in How to Train Your Dragon, they’ve built a friendship. The kind of friendship that’s seen them through threats from dragon hunters and other dragons, ideological shifts on Berk, and loss. And in the first trailer for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third installment in the trilogy, we see their relationship has a new challenge: a love interest for Toothless.Yes, that’s a Light Fury, and Toothless’ discovery of more of his kind will have a strong effect on Hiccup in the film. “It’s a continuance of Hiccup’s growth with becoming the wise, selfless person that he was destined to be,” Hidden World director and writer Dean DeBlois told Nerdist. “And really, what this story reaches, it becomes a Call of the Wild for Toothless. He’s been living with humans for some time. He appears to be the last of his kind. And here comes into his life this elusive—very wild and very distrusting of humans—variation of his species called the Light Fury, and there’s an immediate attraction.”
You may have noticed that bearded, older Hiccup in the beginning of the trailer and wondered if this movie was going to taking a huge time jump. Not exactly. “The movie itself actually plays with timelines, but the main narrative of the story takes place about a year after the events of [How to Train Your] Dragon 2.”
The trailer also shows off some of Toothless’ attempts at flirting with the lady dragon, but as DeBlois described it, he’s a bumbling amateur. Toothless doesn’t have parents or siblings to learn Be a Charming Dragon 101 from, so he’s just trying his very best to impress this new Light Fury. Hiccup supports him, but he’s so closely tied to Toothless that it’s tough to watch him leave the nest. We’ve seen how Hiccup has developed and become more confident with Toothless by his side.
DeBlois explained, “Things are getting difficult and very challenging for Hiccup. As the rookie leader of his tribe, he must now face the truth about himself and that he doesn’t really quite believe that he is worthy and capable without Toothless. So in that sense, [the Light Fury] causes a change. In order to truly understand himself, he has to develop courage to consider the idea of having to lead alone, and to do the right thing for Toothless, not hold him back, and allow him to follow his destiny.”
To distill it all to a single sentence: this last installment in the trilogy is really a dual story about both Hiccup and Toothless following their destinies.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World arrives in theaters in spring 2019.
Images: DreamWorks Animation
Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist. Follow her on Twitter.