Raya and the Last Dragon is a movie of firsts. Not only will it be the first Disney movie inspired by Southeast Asia, but it will also be the first Disney film where a Southeast Asian actor will be the lead. It was recently announced that Star Wars actor Kelly Marie Tran (Rose) will play the lead Raya in the animated film. Awkwafina will also join the cast as a dragon in human form named Sisu who needs Raya’s help to return to her dragon self.
Here is an exclusive image of the film published by EW:
Raya and her trusty steed Tuk Tuk are called to action after the villainous Druun threatens the fictional kingdom of Kumandra. In order to stop evil from spreading, Raya and Tuk Tuk must find the last dragon.
The new film is one of the first Disney Animation features created while animators have been working remotely, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Director Don Hall (Big Hero 6, Moana) said that despite the challenges, Raya is “the most beautiful animated film I've ever seen.”
Carlos López Estrada (Blindspotting) will be directing alongside Hall. López Estrada said that he never believed in ‘perfect casting’ stories until Tran auditioned for the role of Raya. He said, “I'm never going to forget it...I think [Don and I] rode in the car together, and we were quiet, looking at each other and nodding our heads just being like, ‘Yep, yep, yep. Kelly's perfect.’”
Tran looks forward to Raya and the Last Dragon premiering because it changes what it redefines to be a Disney princess. “She is someone who is technically a princess but I think that what's really cool about this project, about this character, specifically is that everyone's trying to flip the narrative on what it means to be a princess...Raya is totally a warrior. When she was a kid, she was excited to get her sword. And she grows up to be a really badass, gritty warrior and can really take care of herself.”
Raya and the Last Dragon is set to premiere March 12, 2021.
What do you think of Kelly Marie Tran as the lead in Raya and the Last Dragon? Are you looking forward to this new Disney princess? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!