In celebration of the Blu-Ray/DVD release of How to Train Your Dragon 2, let’s take a look at a version of the film that only exists in storyboards: one where Valka was the villain!
(SPOILERS for How to Train Your Dragon 2. Read with caution).
These particular storyboards in question are brought to us courtesy of Darren Webb, a storyboard artist who now works at Illumination Entertainment. Presented on Darren’s blog as a series of five posts, these storyboards are based an earlier draft of the script that would have featured Valka as the main villain. Drago Bludvist, the main villain in the final version of How to Train Your Dragon 2, would have been briefly hinted at, only to be introduced as an antagonist in the third film. As Darren notes, it’s amazing how much things change between the first and final drafts, but luckily these changes were made for the better.
For those who need a brief primer on who Valka is: voiced by Cate Blanchett, Valka is a Jane Goodall-esque vigilante who rescues dragons from the hands of dragon-trappers and brings them into the dragon sanctuary to live under the care of the (good) Bewilderbeast.
She’s also Hiccup’s long-lost mother. Taken from her village twenty years ago when she was trying to defend Hiccup (who was a baby at the time) a dragon, who would later become her loyal companion Cloudjumper.
In this version of the film, she’s a straight-up psychotic. As Darren points out: “She went nuts when she found out Hiccup was the reason Toothless lost part of his tail, furious when Astrid and the gang showed up and eventually attacked Berk to free the dragons! Very different than what’s in the final film.”
As you could probably tell, this version of Valka has serious anger issues and displays little to almost no composure when Hiccup’s friends show up.
There were no designs for the Bewilderbeast when this was being drawn. Literally the only thing Darren had to go on was that it had to be bigger than the dragon that Hiccup and Toothless fought in the last film as well as a brief physical description (long tusks and dreadlock-like fur).
In the final post, the boards display a scene that’s very reminiscent of what’s in the final production: the Bewilderbeast exercising it’s hypnotic powers on Toothless. However, this version is slightly different in that we see Astrid’s dragon Stormfly getting hypnotized first.
Very rarely do we get this much of an in-depth look at the process that goes into making an animated film and to a larger extent, how many different versions that film will go through before evolving into the film that we see on the big screen.
What do you think? Would you have liked to have seen this version of the movie?