Way back in April, Dreamworks confirmed that there would be further instalments in the adventures of junior Viking Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III. The news has just emerged from the studio that the first sequel to How to Train Your Dragon is now officially underway, with all the original voice cast returning. $500m in box office will do that.
That means that Jay Baruchel is back to voice Hiccup, as is Gerard Butler as his father Stoick the Vast; America Ferrera as Astrid; Jonah Hill as Snotlout; Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs; Craig Ferguson as Gobber the Belch; and Kristen Wiig and TJ Miller as Ruffnut and Tuffnut.
Dean DeBlois is also back to write and direct, but this time he isn't partnered by his usual honcho Chris Sanders, who's busy with cavemen The Croods. And if you know Cressida Cowell's books, you'd be wrong to assume that the next step is necessarily the quest for Grimbeard the Ghastly's treasure, as recounted in the second tale, How to Be a Pirate. As before, the second film is likely to diverge quite significantly from its source material, with DeBlois keen to pull "all sorts of elements" willy-nilly from the nine-volume series. If there's no swashbuckling on the high seas though, we may have to have words.
Big animated 3D projects take time, so we won't see How to Do Something Else With Your Dragon until 2013. Still, given how ace the first one was, we'll be there with bells on when it finally rolls out.