‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′: America Ferrera wants Astrid as chief

June 11, 2014 | 5:00 a.m.
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Dean DeBlois, America Ferrera and Jay Baruchel, the writer- director and stars of "How to Train Your Dragon 2," at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

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Dean DeBlois and Jay Baruchel discuss the making of "How to Train Your Dragon 2" at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival. (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

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America Ferrera talked about what she predicts for the third installment of the "How to Train Your Dragon" franchise at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival. (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

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Jay Baruchel cracked up the audience while discussing his identification with the character Hiccup at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival. (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

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Dean DeBlois, Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera discuss the making of "How to Train Your Dragon 2" at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival. (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

“How to Train Your Dragon 2″ doesn’t hit theaters until Friday, but the stars of the film are already preparing for a third chapter.

Jay Baruchel, who voices Hiccup, the outcast Viking who befriends a dragon named Toothless in the first installment of the franchise, said he is looking forward to continue his character’s journey into manhood.

“I hope Hiccup continues on his trajectory to virility,” Baruchel joked.

Taking place at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters, the  screening of “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ kicked off Day 2 of the Hero Complex Film Festival on May 31. Programming also included a screening of “Gremlins” and a conversation with director Joe Dante, as well as an appearance from James Cameron, who spoke about his storied career and writing process between screenings of “Terminator” and “Terminator 2.”

At the “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ event, Baruchel was joined by co-star America Ferrera, who voices Hiccup’s ally, the independent-minded Astrid, and writer-director Dean DeBlois, with the trio describing the challenges of following up the 2010 original — a critical and commercial smash that took in about $500 million at the box office worldwide and received Oscar nominations for animated feature and original score.

The sequel is set five years after the events of the first film and sees Hiccup taking on a wider set of challenges. The original cast members reprise their roles, with “Game of Thrones” star Kit Harrington, Cate Blanchett and Djimon Hounsou added to the mix.

While the actors and DeBlois detailed the process of making the new film, they also looked forward, with each offering hints about what might lie in store for the couple in the film’s third installment.

“Astrid is going to become chief in the third one,” Ferrera said of her independent-minded character.

Au contraire, countered Baruchel.

“You keep saying that, but that’s just never going to happen.”

The two bantered good-naturedly, finally reaching a fair compromise.

“We’re both excited to become chief,” said Baruchel.

Continuing the story into a third film was always part of the plan, according to DeBlois.

“When I was approached about a sequel, I said, ‘Will you consider it to be the middle act of a three-act trilogy?’ Therefore, we’re not just inventing a random other adventure where we cast the same five or six characters into and graft on a problem that feels artificial.”

Watch the clip above to hear what else the two stars and the writer-director had to say about the next film, and look for more video from this conversation and others from the festival soon.

– Justin Sullivan | @LATHeroComplex

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