Dean DeBlois, the filmmaker who wrapped up his celebrated How to Train Your Dragon trilogy earlier this year, has found his first post-Dragon project.
After going big with dragons and animation, the filmmaker is going small and live-action with Micronauts, Paramount’s take on the Hasbro toy line. DeBlois will tackle writing duties and will direct.
Hasbro’s Brian Goldner, Stephen Davis and Greg Mooradian are producing via the company’s film division, AllSpark Pictures.
Micronauts were action figures made in the late 1970s by now-defunct Mego based on a line by Japanese toy company Takara titled Microman. The toys were a big seller for a time and a Marvel Comics comic followed, which helped establish a storyline for the line.
The comics told of a Microverse in which diverse worlds were linked together and in which a power-mad dictator named Baron Karza kills the royal family, taking control. A small group of eclectic characters — a pilot awoken from a centuries-long deep sleep, alien gladiators, survivors of the coup — band together to form a resistance.
The project had been in development with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot for several years and had a script by Deadpool scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who reportedly called it a departure from the comics.
It is unclear what the new take is, but it has been described as centering on a group of intergalactic explorers.
Paramount has set a June 4, 2021, release date for the pic.
DeBlois has spent the last decade ensconced in the world of Train Your Dragon, the acclaimed animated feature trilogy that is one of the creative heights of DreamWorks Animation. He is the rare writer-director that has been able to captain an animation franchise over a lengthy period from inception to logical conclusion in a medium that often sees filmmakers leave after one outing.
DeBlois co-directed and co-wrote the original How to Train Your Dragon, released in 2010, then took the helm solo for the other two installments, 2014’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 and How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World, which was released earlier this year. The first two pics were nominated for Academy Awards for best animated features, while the original also garnered a nom for best original score. The movies have collectively grossed over $1.6 billion at the worldwide box office and been spun off into TV series and arena shows, among others.
DeBlois made his feature directorial debut with Disney’s Lilo & Stitch, co-helming the 2002 Disney animated film with Chris Sanders after spending a decade rising through the animation ranks.
Paramount and Hasbro are seeking a family-friendly tone with Micronauts and believe DeBlois could bring to the project the same heart and sophistication that he brought to How to Train Your Dragon.
DeBlois is repped by WME and Lichter Grossman.