Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera on Giving 'How to Train Your Dragon' a "Proper Ending"
Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson and F. Murray Abraham also attended the Los Angeles premiere, which closes out the trilogy.
Nine years after audiences were first introduced to Hiccup, Toothless and their Viking clan, the How to Train Your Dragon series is coming to an end.
At the premiere for the third movie in the animated trilogy, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, held in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon, star Jay Baruchel said when he first saw the script for the final film, he was immediately emotional.
"I was quite moved just reading it, but very, very proud because it's a hard thing to give the proper ending that these characters and these fans deserve," he told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet.
Joking that over the last decade of voicing Hiccup he has learned "how serious cosplayers are," Baruchel said he hopes the trilogy inspires people, especially children, and shows them that "just because things are a certain way doesn't mean that's how it has to be."
"These are movies about a kid born into the margins who is told that there is no place for him, but then he figures out a way to affect change and he believes in something bigger than him," the actor continued. "It is the true journey of a reluctant leader and the world needs more of that."
America Ferrera, who voices Hiccup's love interest Astrid in the series, admitted that reading the final script was "really bittersweet" and echoed the importance of How to Train Your Dragon's message.
"I think that the takeaway is that every time the world changes, we have to go deep inside the find the courage and the bravery to become who we have to become to live in that world," she said of Hiccup's journey across the three movies.
The Hidden World picks up with Hiccup as ruler of the Berk kingdom with his loyal dragon Toothless by his side, but when danger arrives, the two must journey to find a hidden world where dragons can be safe.
Writer and director Dean DeBlois said he has had the ending to the third film in mind since the first was released in 2010, and sought to answer the question of why dragons disappeared. He consulted Cressida Cowell in the process, who wrote the children's books upon which the films are based.
"I thought that would be a great goal for us with the trilogy, to not only have Hiccup complete his arc of going from the runt of the Viking tribe to wise, selfless chief, but also in the process explain what happened to dragons and that kind of mapped out where we were going to go over the course of three installments," said DeBlois.
Although The Hidden World has been set as the third and final film, Craig Ferguson, who voices Hiccup's right-hand man Gobber, is hoping this isn't actually the end of the franchise.
"I'm kind of in denial about the whole thing, to be honest," he told THR. "Jay [Baruchel] was just saying to me there, 'So that's it, we're done' and I'm like, 'No, I'm thinking prequel.' Young Gobb, let's make the announcement. Young Gobber and his wacky friends before he lost all of the limbs. I think it'd be good."
The former late-night host also teased that when it comes to the end of the third movie, "if you don't cry, you need therapy," and added that the story is relevant today because "the youth of the community teaches the older people of the community how to let go of old ideas and old prejudices, and in that way I think it's a very beautiful message."
Held at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, the premiere was also attended by castmembers Gerard Butler, F. Murray Abraham and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is set to hit theaters Feb. 22.