Walt Disney Animation Studios has taken the wraps off its next project, unveiling at the D23 Expo on Saturday Raya and the Last Dragon, which will star Cassie Steele and Crazy Rich Asians standout Awkwafina. A November 25, 2020 release date has been set.
Awkwafina adds to her Disney credits that soon will include Shang-Chi and the live-action The Little Mermaid. Steele is best know for starring on Degrassi: The Next Generation and also voices Tammy on Rick & Morty.
Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins (Big Hero 6, Frozen) are directing with Moana‘s Osnat Shurer producing. Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians) penned the script. The plot: a lone warrior from the fantasy kingdom of Kumandra teams up with a crew of misfits in her quest to find the Last Dragon and bring light and unity back to their world.
Judging by the three-minute clip shown in the room, the epic fantasy is informed by the cultures of Southeast Asia, but the movie itself is set in mythical land. Raya is described as “a five-star bad-ass,” and a footage preview shows lush jungle glistening under sheets of rain and a clinging mist.
An evocative voiceover: “Our world was created by dragons, before they left they hid a gift for the people. A powerful but dangerous gift. One that could save an entire kingdom or bring it to an end. The question is what will we find? Hope of destruction?”
The crowd erupted when Steel and Awkwafina were introduced. Awkwafina said she likes the way she looks in her magical animated form as the dragon, named Sisu. “That’s me up there,” Awkwafina says while vamping. “I look good right? I like the hair. I look splendiferous.”
The news came during the studios’ presentation that also included new details on Frozen 2 like the voice roles being played by Sterling K. Brown (Lieutenant Destin Mattias) and Evan Rachel Wood (Anna and Elsa’s mom Queen Iduna).