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Cate Blanchett, Djimon Hounsou and Kit Harington are the new voice actors joining How to Train Your Dragon 2, it was announced at DreamWorks Animation’s panel Thursday.
The announcement was followed by an appearance by Harington, who joined Dragon director Dean DeBlois, Turbo director David Soren, Peabody and Sherman helmer Rob Minkoff and DWA’s Bill Damaschke. John Powell is returning as composer.
Blanchett will voice a feral vigilante intent on freeing enslaved dragons, Hounsou will voice a maniacal dragon hunter, and Harington will voice a dragon trapper that works for Hounsou.
The cast announcement capped a presentation that showed off the popularity of the Dragon franchise.
The first Dragons is considered one of the best of DWA’s line, with a following that only grown in numbers since its release in 2010. The crowd in the room was comprised mostly of adults; the sequence, a more elaborate version of the recent teaser trailer, drew sustained applause.
After the second sequence, which featured series star Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his pet dragon Toothless meeting a new mysterious rider and ending precipitously for both characters, the crowd again reacted strongly.
DeBlois, who appeared humbled at the response, thanked the crowd on behalf of the 200 people working on the movie. “We have a long road ahead of us, so this is a nice shot in the arm,” he said. The director revealed that the sequel is set five years after the first movie, and pits the Vikings and the dragons against a new threat as they explore beyond their lands.
DeBlois added that Empire Strikes Back, an early inspiration of his, also informed the Dragon franchise, which is now a trilogy.
Haringon came on stage after the cast reveal and the crowd was treated to a test reel that showed him trying several accents.
Prior to the Dragons portion, Minkoff showed off a sequence from Mr. Peabody and Sherman in which as the genius-level talking canine and his adopted human boy are on the run in Paris during the French revolution.
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