With the earlier announcement of the How to Train Your Dragon live-action adaptation, Universal and Dreamworks have officially been bitten by the bug that got to Disney over a decade ago. With that project being hotly anticipated, the next big question was always going to be who would be cast in such iconic roles as reluctant hero Hiccup and the brave and bold Astrid. We now have our answer to that question, and to be honest, I’m pretty excited with the result.
The Black Phone’s Mason Thames and The Last of Us star Nico Parker have landed those respective roles, per an announcement from THR. Thames’ Hiccup and Parker’s Astrid are now the first official roles cast in this major production, which is being overseen by director Dean DeBlois, the co-writer/co-director who also helped kick off the trilogy of Cressida Cowell adaptations with 2010’s How to Train Your Dragon.
Further details from this new report seem to indicate that the young actors were selected for their roles, in part, because of some forward thinking plans. Finding participants who could “grow into their roles” was apparently part of the final decisions made, with this summer being mentioned as the supposed start of shooting. So prepare to hear more about who’ll be filling out the rest of this universe in the months to come.
Both Mason Thames and Nico Parker have made a huge impact on the role of young performers, albeit in some pretty dark material. Parker was recently seen on HBO’s The Last of Us, in which she played the role of Pedro Pascal’s on screen daughter, Sarah. Her impact on that series’ narrative was unshakable, as her two-episode appearance helped define Pascal’s portrayal of Joel in such an unforgettable manner.
Meanwhile, Mason Thames’ lead in The Black Phone also put him on the map as an actor to look out for. With director Scott Derrickson’s adaptation of Joe Hill’s novella making history in Thursday night numbers for a horror movie, the For All Mankind vet has experience a hype train of his own, putting him in a similar scenario to Nico Parker. Getting to see these well regarded young actors working in a relatively more upbeat context is going to be fun, especially since those skills also informed the previous projects that made them so notable.
Landing such impressive leads is another step in the right direction to developing How to Train Your Dragon’s live-action adventure. It also comes at an appropriate time when The Little Mermaid’s opening weekend victory has shown that the human-involved remakes of animated classics is still printing money. All we have to do now is wait and see who joins Thames and Parker in their upcoming Viking adventure, and whether or not Toothless will get a makeover in his more realistic CGI incarnation.
Universal’s live-action How To Train Your Dragon is currently on track for a March 14, 2025 release date. You can get a head start on preparing for that adventure now, as the animated franchise starter of the same name can be streamed with a Netflix subscription, at the time of this writing.