For those who still hadn’t quite figured out how to train their dragons by the end of 2010′s animated instructional video How to Train Your Dragon, help is at hand with the upcoming sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2. Picking up five years after Hiccup, the heir to the throne of Berk, created peace between humans and dragons in his village, the sequel follows the further adventures of Hiccup as he and Toothless take to the air and go exploring.
In addition to the returning cast – including Jay Baruchel as Hiccup, Gerard Butler as Stoick the Vast and Kristen Wiig as Ruffnut – How to Train Your Dragon 2 also stars some new voices, including Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy) as a dragon hunter, Drago Bludvist, and Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) as a dragon protector, Valka.
An interview with writer and director Dean DeBlois in USA Today has spilt some more details on Blanchett’s character, starting with the fact that Valka was written specifically with Blanchett in mind. Valka is to the dragons what Dian Fossey was to gorillas: working as a vigilante who frees them from traps and helps them to hide from mankind.
In fact, she has come to prefer their company, according to DeBlois:
“[Valka has been] living with the animals and learning to communicate with them in non-verbal ways and becoming much like a dragon herself. Her years of isolation and dealing with nothing but dragons and being very sympathetic to them has made her very distrusting of humans.”
The article also includes a first look at Valka, shown comforting a Hobblegrunt called Gruff. Valka’s favorite dragon is called Cloudjumper, and has mannerisms very close to that of an owl. He also has a second set of wings that can spread out and become an -wing, which should look very cool in the flying sequences.
According to DeBlois, Hiccup sees Valka as a kind of guru due to her close relationship with the dragons, but their views differ on how best to bridge the gap between humans and dragons. Specifically, Hiccup believes that the two species can peacefully coexist while Valka believes that the bridges should be thoroughly burned and then taken apart with a hammer just to be safe:
“[Hiccup] both admires her but sees her as what his life could be like taken to the extreme… Valka’s life is not only learning about all (the dragons’) secrets and ways and living among them, but also playing among them. That’s part of what she can show Hiccup, things he’s never known about dragon behavior.”
How to Train Your Dragon was a big hit when it came out, not only because of the breathtaking animation but also because of how endearing the characters were – both human and not-so-human. Boasting the benefits of having the same director and writer as the previous film, signs are already good that How to Train Your Dragon 2 will be a worthy follow-up.
H. Shaw-Williams blogs at Screen Rant.