Universal Studios has announced the casting for its upcoming live-action adaptation of DreamWorks Animation’s beloved film franchise, “How to Train Your Dragon.” Mason Thames and Nico Parker have been selected to portray the lead characters, Hiccup and Astrid, respectively. Directed by Dean DeBlois, the film is scheduled for release on March 14, 2025, with production set to begin this summer.
Based on the books by Cressida Cowell, “How to Train Your Dragon” revolves around the remarkable bond between Hiccup, a young Viking boy, and Toothless, an injured dragon whom he befriends and nurses back to health. The movie franchise beautifully depicted Hiccup and Toothless’ journey to combat prejudice against dragons, cope with the loss of a parent, and experience first love.
Throughout the trilogy, Astrid’s character undergoes her own transformation, initially harboring disdain for dragons but later forming a deep connection with one of her own. She evolves from being Hiccup’s foil to becoming his confidante and eventual partner.
In the animated trilogy, Hiccup and Astrid were voiced by Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera, respectively. The live-action adaptation embarked on an extensive search to find actors who could grow alongside their characters, mirroring the maturity and development portrayed in the movie franchise.
Mason Thames, a talented fifteen-year-old actor, gained recognition for his role in Apple TV’s acclaimed drama “For All Mankind.” He later landed the lead role in “The Black Phone,” a horror film adaptation of Joe Hill’s short story, directed by Scott Derrickson and produced by Blumhouse. Released in 2022, the movie achieved both critical acclaim and commercial success, propelling Thames into the spotlight for teenage roles. He is represented by WME and Brillstein Entertainment and has already completed filming for two upcoming movies, namely the coming-of-age party comedy “Incoming” and the adventure-thriller “Boys of Summer” alongside Mel Gibson.
Nico Parker made her acting debut as a lead in Tim Burton’s live-action adaptation of “Dumbo” for Disney in 2019. She also appeared in HBO series “The Third Day” alongside Jude Law and Naomie Harris and featured in Lisa Joy’s sci-fi film “Reminiscence” alongside Hugh Jackman.
Her breakthrough came with the highly successful HBO series “The Last of Us,” where she played the daughter of a dangerous lone survivor portrayed by Pedro Pascal. Parker will be seen next in Laura Chinn’s “Suncoast,” alongside Woody Harrelson and Laura Linney. She is represented by WME and Curtis Brown.
Dean DeBlois, known for his work on the animated “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy, will write and direct the live-action adaptation. Producing the film are Marc Platt and Adam Siegel of Marc Platt Productions, who have garnered three Best Picture Oscar nominations. Lexi Barta, Vice President of Production Development at Universal, will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.
Fans of the beloved franchise can look forward to seeing Mason Thames and Nico Parker bring new life to the characters of Hiccup and Astrid in the live-action adaptation of “How to Train Your Dragon.” With a talented cast and an experienced director at the helm, the film promises to capture the magic and heart of the original animated trilogy while offering a fresh take on the beloved story.