The first trailer for Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon is here.
The upcoming film is Disney Animation Studios’ first film to be inspired by Southeast Asia, with Star Wars’ Kelly Marie Tran being the first Southeast Asian actress to star as the lead.
It’s also the company’s first movie to be created predominantly in remote locations, with the crew forced into working from home earlier this year due to the current pandemic.
Check out the trailer for Raya and the Last Dragon below:
The official synopsis reads, ‘Raya will be an epic fantasy adventure with Southeast Asian themes, set in a realm called Lumandra, described as a reimagined earth inhabited by an ancient civilisation. Five clans form the land of the dragon, and Raya is determined to find the last dragon.’
Raya is voiced by Tran, taking over from Cassie Steele, with Golden Globe-winner Awkwafina playing Sisu, a water dragon in human form who needs help to get her powers back.
Tran earlier told Entertainment Weekly, ‘She is someone who is technically a princess but I think that what’s really cool about this project… 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.’
The film is directed by Carlos López Estrada (Blindspotting) and Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh, Big Hero 6, Moana), with the latter calling it ‘the most beautiful animated film I’ve ever seen’. Playwright Qui Nguyen and Crazy Rich Asians writer Adele Lim penned the screenplay.
Jennifer Lee, the studio’s chief creative officer, said, ‘As filmmakers, Don and Carlos bring a combination of animation know-how and emotional storytelling to Raya and the Last Dragon, bringing our fantasy adventure to surprising, original, and dynamic heights.’
The forces behind the film worked hard to ensure all the cultural influences were given the respect they deserve, stemming from the likes of Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Nguyen said, ‘To have the artists who represent those cultures in there to be able to give the subtleties of what our families are actually like, what our relationships are actually like, has given a lot of nuances to this great adventure… to be able to have some [heroes] that look like me and my kids, it’s gonna matter to a lot of folks.’
Raya and the Last Dragon is due for release on March 12, 2021.
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