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SYFY WIRE How to Train Your Dragon

After 'How to Train Your Dragon': 5 more animated films that should jump to live action next

How to Train Your Dragon is going live-action, and these other animated films could follow suit.

By Matthew Jackson
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One of the biggest animated franchises of the last 15 years, How to Train Your Dragon, will make the leap to live-action in the coming years with the help of original franchise co-director and co-writer Dean DeBlois. In the 13 years since the first HTTYD film hit theaters it's inspired two big-screen sequels, as well as animated series that just keep expanding the world — and now that vast mythology of dragons and their riders will head to a new frontier. 

RELATED: Live-action How to Train Your Dragon adaptation set from creator of beloved animated trilogy

Making animated hits into potential live-action blockbusters is nothing new, of course. Disney's being doing it for decades, and they've particularly picked up steam in the last 10 years, with no sign of slowing down. Now, DreamWorks and Universal are getting into the game in a big way with HTTYD, which made us start wondering: What other animated movies would make great live-action adventures? You could conceivably pull it off with any animated film under the sun, but some feel like they'd work out better than others.

From Disney classics to modern releases, here are five films that feel primed for a live-action take.


Pixar made its name with a series of films about non-human characters behaving in relatably human ways, from toys to bugs to adorable robots. Moving Sheriff Woody or WALL-E to live-action feels a little redundant, because we'd just end up with CGI versions of characters that were already computer animated, but Brave is a different story. Pixar's tale of a Scottish princess and her struggle to be who she is while also repairing her relationship with her mother has already gotten a taste of live-action thanks to Once Upon a Time, and a feature-length fantasy adventure based on the animated film could work even better.

Kiki's Delivery Service

On some level, adapting Hayao Miyazaki's work to live-action just feels odd from the start, because it's almost impossible to imagine most of his films as anything other than what he delivered to our screens. That said, there have been live-action efforts at Miyazaki works on stage already, which means live-action films could happen on a grand scale somewhere down the line. Should that ever happen, this film about a young witch who flies off to start a life of her own and ends up making some unlikely friends would be the perfect vehicle to make the leap. With the right actor in the leading role, Kiki's Delivery Service could conjure a whole different kind of magic in live-action.


The Megamind franchise is already expanding in the form of a new Peacock animated series, but should live-action ever be of interest to Dreamworks on this front, there are ideas at work in the narrative that would definitely serve that path. The film is a riff on a kind of Superman/Brainiac dynamic, the story of as supervillain who finally wins, then creates a new hero to serve as his nemesis, then has to become a hero when that nemesis turns out to be a villain in his own right. There's so much fodder for riffing on the modern superhero movie landscape within that premise, and it would be fun to see it play out in a way that's untethered from other fictional universes.

The Sword in the Stone

This one feels like a no-brainer, particularly since every few years someone else tries to get a new King Arthur series of films off the ground. Disney loves making live-action updates to their animated movie library, The Sword in the Stone has its own following and beloved source material, and an epic medieval fantasy with a little bit of Disney comedy and creature work throw in could work wonders with the right cast. If Disney was wanting to get into the live action Arthurian game, this is the perfect place to start.

Treasure Planet

Disney's Treasure Planet is famous among the general public for two things: Taking a really long time (almost 20 years) to get made, and flopping at the box office. But in the two decades since its release, this sci-fi spin on the classic Robert Louis Stevenson pirate adventure has earned new fans with each passing year, and now stands as a cult classic with a devoted following and lots of reappraisals on its side. Taking that concept and expanding it into live-action, particularly with an exciting cast along for the ride, could be a blast to watch. 

While you wait for the live-action version, you can stream How to Train Your Dragon 2 on Peacock.