Kelly Marie Tran Cast as Lead in Disney’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’

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Kelly Marie Tran replaces Cassie Steele for the lead role in Raya and the Last Dragon.

Not only is the film influenced by Southeast Asia culture and traditions, but it marks Tran as being the first Southeast Asian actress to lead an animated Disney film. Tran will also be joined by comedian Awakwafina, known for her role in Crazy Rich Asians, as Sisu the dragon.

The picture will be directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, written by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim, produced by Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho, and co-directed by Paul Briggs and John Ripa.

The film takes place in Kumandra, which is described as a reimagined earth inhabited by an ancient civilization that venerated the mythical dragons for their power and their wisdom. The film implements Southeast Asia themes, focusing on community and hope. Raya, a lone warrior, journies on a quest to save her world and find the last dragon.

In her interview with Entertainment Weekly, she stated, “I didn’t know that I was yearning just to see someone who looks like me.” She continues, “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.”

The film was originally set to premiere in theaters this November, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is now expected to debut on March 12, 2021.

It is also one of the first Disney Animation features to be developed from remote locations as a result of the pandemic.

With fan’s love and support for Tran, this animated film is the perfect thing to look forward to for the new year.