UPDATED with first-look image of the movie. Kelly Marie Tran is making history. Deadline has confirmed that the Star Wars alum has joined Walt Disney Animation Studios’ forthcoming animated feature Raya and the Last Dragon as the titular heroine, marking the first Southeast Asian to lead a Disney animated film.
Tran replaces Cassie Steele, who was originally announced as the voice of Raya last year at D23 Expo. Raya and the Last Dragon is set in the fantasy kingdom of Kumandra and follows a warrior who teams with a crew of misfits in her quest to find the Last Dragon and bring light and unity back to their world. Tran joins Awkawafina, who plays a dragon in human form named Sisu.
Also joining the Raya and the Last Dragon team are Don Hall (Big Hero 6, Moana) and Carlos López Estrada (Blindspotting) as directors, as well as playwright Qui Nguyen (Vietgone) who will join Adele Lim as co-writer. Paul Briggs and John Ripa serve as co-directors. Dean Wellins, who was originally announced as a director alongside Briggs, is directing another project at Disney Animation. Peter Del Vecho (Frozen, Frozen 2) joins Osnat Shurer (Moana) as a producer.
“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,” said Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee. “They both saw the potential for this film and had a strong vision for the story, especially for our lead character, played by the wonderfully talented Kelly Marie Tran. And no small feat, directors Don and Carlos, writers Qui and Adele, and the entire crew of 400 Disney Animation artists are making this film together, while separated and working from home.”
Raya and the Last Dragon is set to debut on March 12, 2021. Check out the first look at the movie below.
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