Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon casts Star Wars' Kelly Marie Tran

An original Disney project, upcoming animation Raya and the Last Dragon looks and sounds stunning. Due for release in 2021, the official synopsis states: "A lone warrior sets out to find the last dragon in existence and save the kingdom of Kumandra from the villainous Drunn."

Disney + dragons? Consider us sold. The project comes from Big Hero 6 helmer Don Hall and fellow director Carlos López Estrada; the latter isn't exactly known for family-friendly projects, having made his feature film debut with acclaimed indie drama Blindspotting. Nevertheless, Estrada is attached to the planned CGI remake of Disney's cult classic Robin Hood.

It's now been reported that Star Wars' Kelly Marie Tran is taking over from Cassie Steele as main character Raya. She's the aforementioned "lone warrior" who sets off in pursuit of fire-breathing beastie Sisu, who will be voiced by Crazy Rich Asians scene-stealer Awkwafina. Here's a beautiful image from the movie that teases what we can expect.


According to Entertainment Weekly, Tran is the first actress of south-east Asian descent to voice a Disney character. She hopes it will break down boundaries: "[Raya] 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."

Tran says she identifies with Raya's emotional journey: "Any time I step on set or I get involved in something new, there's always this [nervousness]. The best thing that I was able to do was trust in the process and trust those involved just knowing that this thing is bigger than us… Strangely enough, that's also one of the things in the movie, is Raya, to get through this journey, she needs to learn how to trust."

Raya and the Last Dragon is due for UK release on 12th March 2021. Excited? Let us know @Cineworld.