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Pixar isn’t going anywhere, but the makers of animated films are starting to follow their example in developing timeless, character-driven stories as opposed to relevant-to-the-moment feature-length cartoon shows. The past few years have seen a crush of well-formed animated tales, including Despicable Me, Megamind, Kung Fu Panda and last year’s surprise 3D hit, How To Train Your Dragon. A Dragon sequel and TV series were already confirmed, and now we’ve got some new information from an interview producer Tim Johnson gave to Italian outlet BadTaste.it (via /Film).
Johnson said that it’s still “very early” to be talking about the sequel. “I can tell you Dean DeBlois signed on, one of the original directors, and he’s going to write and direct the second [movie],” he revealed. “I can tell you it’s a much bigger movie. Everybody’s already terrified of pulling off the movie. [DeBlois] had a big pitch to people two weeks ago, almost right before I came, and now everybody’s trying to figure out how we would pull off that story. It really is about taking a look at the story and the sets and the new characters he’s proposing we meet and figuring out if we can get it all done. I think that we’re talking about fall of 2013, so… a little less than three years.”
There’s also an animated TV series in the works, which Johnson confirms is set to come before the next movie, both of which are part of of a larger plan. “I believe with the TV series, the goal is for 2012 and then the following year… would be the sequel. But I’m not positive,” he said. “It would definitely be not at the same time as the series. The goal is to explore this world and introduce something maybe every year to audiences. Different stories, different formats.”
Johnson went on to confirm that work has already started on the TV effort, though it remains in the earliest stages. He also spoke a little bit to the planned tone for the series, using a comparison to another example from the DreamWorks Animation catalog. “We have partner in Nickelodeon from doing the Kung Fu Panda TV series. And that’s a show that’s appropriate to Nickelodeon, it’s a little bit younger, it’s the fun, sort of outrageous adventures of Po,” he said. “With How To Train Your Dragon we’re not gonna be doing Nickelodeon. We’re actually gonna go a little darker, a little more dramatic, much like the film. The goal was not to change it or lighten it in order to make a TV series. The goal is to try to stay true to it and actually make a TV series that is fairly challenging, fairly dense. So we’ll see, but it’s really in the early going. We have a sort of plan for it, but the scripts are just starting.”