‘The Dragon Prince’ Preview: Why You Should Keep an Eye on this Upcoming Production

The Dragon Prince

Dragons have always been a common feature in different forms of art in both the East and the West – from being used in ancient Chinese interior design and proverbs to being depicted as the ferocious, mythical creature in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) or The Game of Thrones (2011- ). Both cultures view dragons differently, and we seldom see work that tries to combine both Eastern and Western elements of dragons. Such a trait is what the upcoming film – The Dragon Prince – aims at achieving.

The Dragon Prince is produced by Trico Films, a Washington-based film production group founded by triplets Dylan, Jesse and Miles Stipek. A relatively young company in its twelfth year of production, it has won a couple of major awards at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth with their original productions, and has had official selections each year. Its work has caught the eyeballs of many, including Sir Anthony Hopkins, who talked to the triplets about story ideas and hinted that he would be interested in a role if the triplets wrote one for him.

The Dragon PrinceOriginally, director Jesse Stipek wanted to do a remake of the 1982 animated film, The Flight of Dragons, and Dominic Monaghan (perhaps best known for playing Charlie in the TV-series, Lost) was going to take a lead role. However, due to legal issues concerning copyrights, Stipek decides to create an original work instead, and hence the birth of The Dragon Prince. Through this movie, Stipek and writer Michael Chase Walker hope to create a story unlike anything before: one that blends both Eastern and Western dragon mythology in an original tale of love, bravery and, most importantly, what it means to be ‘human’. A brief glimpse into the synopsis of the film:

A legendary dragon slayer is cursed to become a dragon and suffer the constant harassment of a thousand insufferable fools who wish to kill him for fame and fortune. When his own inept son shows up, convinced he is the monster that slew his father, The Dragon Prince must teach the boy enough of the skills to combat a real dragon while managing to stay alive himself.

One major topic of discussion in The Dragon Prince is cultural difference, something that has fascinated moviegoers for long. One notable difference between the East and the West is the attitude in treating dragons – figures to be worshiped in the East yet often demonized in the West. The film will twist this way of binary thinking to show a combination of both relationships and how that applies to the characters – ultimately, how we handle relationships with other ‘humans’ and what it means to be ‘humans’, when the Dragon Prince has become a dragon/human hybrid and is being hunted down by his own son. This will not be your typical ‘good vs. evil’ movie; instead, it will be a psychological fantasy that deals with the characters’ inner struggles and challenges the audience’s perception of what is right or wrong.

A film of such will need a vast amount of stunning visual effects, and the production cast won’t disappoint. Members from renowned studios such as Pixar, Weta Workshop and BluFire Studios will assist in the visual effects department, led by animation supervisor and executive producer Tim Everitt. He has worked on blockbuster films such as Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Blood Diamond (2006), and also in renowned independent films like Sideways (2004). A very experienced animation supervisor in the industry and an award-winning writer/director himself, he knows what it takes to bring the dragons to life and how to make the audience gasp in excitement with the fascinating effects.

A model of the dragons in production
A model of the dragons in production

In the music department, Carl Johnson and Rodney Gates will be in-charge of musical score and sound design respectively. Carl Johnson is a famed composer and orchestrator in the industry whose work includes Skyfall (2012), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and Wall-E (2008). Rodney Gates is the audio director of Sony Online Entertainment, known for creating many outstanding video games such as the EverQuest series (1999- ) and Planet Side 2 (2012). Together, they will create the kind of poetic, mesmerizing sound similar to what Shiro Sagisu has brought to the classic Japanese anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995), and its subsequent movies.

Any special effects or music won’t be able to impress the viewers without a strong plot, and writer Michael Chase Walker is guaranteed to deliver. Walker was an associate producer of The Last Unicorn (1982), an animated film produced by Topcraft, or commonly known as the predecessor of the famed Studio Ghibli nowadays. He has written books about screenwriting, lectured in colleges about screenwriting, and is a screenwriter himself with many credits to his name. With his years of experience in screenwriting, he is guaranteed to deliver a strong script for this film.

Ultimately, director Jesse Stipek really wants to make a great dragon movie ever since he watched The Flight of Dragons (1982). Growing up watching the legendary anime Dragonball (1986) and being influenced by Hollywood movies like DragonHeart (1996), he aspires to use this movie to capture the sentimental and honorable values of dragons, something that are often neglected in modern series featuring dragons. With the help of the distinguished production crew, he promises to bring to the audience something they have never seen before.

The Dragon Prince is currently in production. The trailer will be out by April, and the film will be released online and in a few selected theatres in 2015. For its latest news, please check out their official Facebook page or Trico Films’ own Facebook page. Be sure to keep an eye on this wonderful production if you want to enjoy a story of much exceptional quality!

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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  1. Like most fantasy movies, they either turn out horrible our fantastic. We are hoping for the latter.

  2. Josh Phelps

    I wouldn’t mind a live action version of The Flight of Dragons!

    • Domingo Reyes

      I love this film. I watched it when I was 5 and still like it as much now if more. The voices are fantastic and the animation is superb. If they were to do a live-action remake I think they could extend the Ogre of Gormley Keep fight with adding a few more characters to go in and rescue Sir Orin and Danielle. I have to say this is one of the greatest fantasy films of all time.

  3. Wishing that Jesse Stipek and the team can pull this one of well, reading this, I am interested to watch it. Please let the script be good.

  4. Diana Chin

    Great Article! Keep up the great work 🙂

  5. Nilson Thomas Carroll

    I’m one of the few people who I know personally that know what the film the Last Unicorn is…ahaha…it’s a strange, solid, sort of depressing film.

  6. Austin

    I’ll be keeping an eye on this one 🙂

  7. PerkAlert

    I’m sold. I need to see this movie now! Your article is well written and makes some excellent points. I’ve not often thought of dragons in the context of East vs. West. It’s an interesting notion! Also, even though the tides of YA media have turned to paranormal and dystopian stories, I’ve seen a few dragon stories here and there. You mention Harry Potter and Daenerys Targaryen, but there’s also been the recently popular Seraphina novel by Rachel Hartman and the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini not too long ago. I think these creatures might be making a subtle comeback! Which may or may not be a good thing… but in the case of The Dragon Prince, it sounds like it’ll be a good thing 🙂

  8. Great Article! I love the comparison between the East and West. That’s a really interesting concept, and I do agree that the West tends to demonize dragons. Can’t wait to see the trailer!

  9. This sounds like it’ll be a good movie, can’t wait to hear more about it. Hope you keep up on it and let us know.

  10. jwt02806

    It’s interesting to think about the difference between conceptions of the Dragon in East vs. West. Dragons tend to always be destructive in Western culture, but they are also something to be respected and awed. Smaug in Lord of the Rings, or William Blake’s awesome religious depictions of the dragon.

  11. Michael Kirsten

    This Movie Sounds Awesome.
    I Also Own:
    -Flight Of Dragons(1982)
    -The Hobbit Trilogy(1977)
    -Dungeons & Dragons(1986)
    I Also Own Several Movies And Anime Shows.

  12. Drake Vato

    Seven years later… the project has nearly vanished from sight, and this is one of the few remaining resources on the net with any substantial info about it.

    What happened? 🙁

    This sounded (and still does) like an incredibly strong idea on paper – psychological fantasy, plot focused on inner struggles, dragons, defining the human condition… Again, what the hell happened? This should’ve been long made by now and considered a modern classic… Instead, it seems to have gone into oblivion like so many awesome ideas before.

    I hope this movie gets done one day. Or at least something which carries its original spirit.

  13. To the article’s point, the dragon was the standard of Qing China.

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