How to Train Your Dragon remains one of DreamWorks most widely-acclaimed computer-animated features (if not the most), and made just under half a billion dollars worldwide in theaters; so, it was little shock when a sequel was announced. How to Train Your Dragon 2 aims to topple its predecessor in quality – which means dropping some of the more cliche plot elements – by delivering a story with richer emotional qualities, humor, and action sequences – in order to produce what Jay Baruchel (who voices the young Viking Hiccup) has promised will be “a pretty incredible, beautiful flick.”

Time will tell, as to whether or not the sequel manages to clear that high bar. For now, we can offer a plot synopsis for How to Train Your Dragon 2, which is featured in the June 2013 edition of License Global’s magazine (hat tip to Bleeding Cool). There’s a somewhat revealing plot summary that’s been making the rounds online for a while now, but it seems to line up with this more official synopsis.

Here is the setup for How to Train Your Dragon 2:

The thrilling second chapter of the epic “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy brings back the fantastical world of Hiccup and Toothless five years later. While Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.

Head on over to Bleeding Cool, if you want to read the unofficial synopsis – which contains a couple MINOR SPOILERS – and then, check out a How to Train Your Dragon 2 promo image from the License Global magazine – one which reveals the somewhat older, and more mature, versions of Hiccup and his warrior girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera).

How to Train Your Dragon 2 features only half of the writing-directing team on the first movie, in the form of Dean DeBlois. That is because Chris Sanders – who also collaborated with DeBlois on Disney’s animated feature Lilo & Stitch (a personal favorite of this writer) – was busy co-writing and directing a different DreamWorks title, The Croods. The latter has received acclaim for being as heartfelt and quirky as DeBlois and Sanders’ previous collaborations (read our review), so hopefully DeBlois will have as much success while making a film without Sanders.

So far, the How to Train Your Dragon sequel sounds like a good time, between the promised dragon races, exploration of new fantasy settings, and the epic battle sequences. If everything goes according to plan, then the second movie could end up laying the foundation for an equally successful third film (which is already in development), to help round out the great trilogy of family-friendly adventure stories about a boy and his dragon.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 opens in theaters on June 20th, 2014.

Source: License Global [via Bleeding Cool]