Per Entertainment Weekly (h/t ComicBook.com), it’s being reported that Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler) will return via flashback for the Dean DeBlois-directed threequel, which finally has its crosshairs trained on a concrete release date – March 1st, 2019.
It’s shaping up to be a bittersweet finale for Toothless and Hiccup, whose first port of call will be to lead the Berk tribe in the absence of his father. All of those crucial leadership qualities will seemingly be funneled through Gerard Butler’s fan-favorite, as EW notes that his on-screen viking is expected to return via flashback.
And, well, this official scene description basically confirms as much:
One early but pivotal scene finds Hiccup recalling his (unfathomably adorable) toddler self first hearing Stoick’s tale about a secret home of dragons hidden behind a great waterfall somewhere at the edge of the world. Stoick’s dream was to seal it off and stop the fighting between humans and dragons. Hiccup, however, sees the utopia as a potential new home where the people (and pets) of Berk can safely relocate; he’s proudly, if inadvertently, turned Berk into a bustling Viking metropolis of human-dragon cooperation, but with each dragon Hiccup rescues from trappers, he increases the target on Berk’s back to a less tolerant outside world.
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In the eyes of Dean DeBlois, The Hidden World is all about bringing a sense of closure to Hiccup’s journey, who must learn to handle grief and move on if he’s to become a worthy successor to his father Stoick. It’s the classic ‘passing of the torch’ tale that we’ve seen numerous times before, but after generating more than $1 billion worldwide after two movies, we’re willing to give DreamWorks’ 2019 threequel the benefit of the doubt.
It’s taken an awful long time – too long, perhaps – for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World to gain any sense of momentum, but with a firm release date locked in, fans are now counting down the days until March 1st, 2019.