It’s been nearly nine years since the first How to Train Your Dragon film arrived in theaters, launching an animated franchise that has spun off into sequels, a TV series, and a number of short films. Now, with February’s How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,, the adventures of Hiccup and his best dragon friend Toothless are coming to an end.
This third and final movie–for now, at least–will give fans a closure that a lot of other franchises don’t get the luxury having. “I think they’re gonna be simultaneously sad and satisfied,” star Jay Baruchel, who voices Hiccup in the films and TV series, told GameSpot.
It’s not just the fans that will have to come to terms with the end of the franchise, though. Baruchel himself is saying goodbye to a character he’s played longer than any other. “It’s hard not to get a bit kind of wistful, a bit melancholy,” he said. “You know, I auditioned for this movie when I was shooting a movie called Tropic Thunder… There’s very few things I’ve done for this long. I’ve been a son for 36 years. Been an actor for 20 some odd [years]. [I’ve] never played a part for as long as I played Hiccup. So it’s gonna be [melancholic] to say goodbye.”
Still, as producer Brad Lewis explained to GameSpot, it’s best to go out on top. “When you fall in love with characters and you fall in love with a world in a story, obviously, you don’t want that to end,” he said. “At the same time, you also don’t want it to get cheap. You don’t want it to feel artificially extended, and relationships start to meander, right? You want it to have an intense emotional focus. So, for me, the great thing is we’ve been really focused on taking this trilogy and having these characters and these stories really have a conclusion to them.”
Like Baruchel, though, Lewis expects there to be a bit of sadness from the audience, now that it’s coming to a close. “Like all great endings, there’s bittersweet aspects to it,” he teased. “There’s things that you’re happy about, things that you wish emotionally that were really tough to accept. But that’s, you know… if we can do that to an audience, then we’ve really done our job.”
How to Trains Your Dragon: The Hidden World hits theaters on February 22.