Disney today has unveiled the first official poster for RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON ahead of tomorrow’s trailer reveal. The new art features the film’s title character, voiced by Star Wars veteran Kelly Marie Tran, standing in the rain, her hands resting atop the haft of an ornate sword.
Little is known about Disney’s next animated adventure thus far, though I suspect that tomorrow’s trailer will unmask much of what we need to know to get even more excited about this mysterious release. In terms of plot, Raya and the Last Dragon takes place in a realm known as Lumandra, which according to Disney, is a re-imagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, where a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon.
You can check out the new poster below:
Directing the film are Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada from a screenplay penned by playwright Qui Nguyen and CRAZY RICH ASIANS screenwriter Adele Lim. Paul Briggs and John Ripa will also act as co-directors. Joining Tran for Disney’s animated fantasy adventure is OCEAN’S 8 and THE FAREWELL actress Awkwafina, who will provide the voice of Sisu, a dragon in human form who needs Raya’s help to reclaim her power and become her true dragon self.
As a part of many firsts for the company, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON will be Disney Animation Studios’ first movie inspired by Southeast Asia. Moreover, Tran will serve as the first South Asian actress to headline an animated film hailing from the House of Mouse. In talking with Entertainment Weekly about Tran’s audition for the part of Raya, the BLINDSPOTTING director (López Estrada) said that it was a moment that won’t soon be forgotten.
“I’m never going to forget it,” López Estrada gushed while speaking with EW. “I think [Don and I] rode in the car together, and we were quiet, looking at each other and nodding our heads just being like, ‘Yep, yep, yep. Kelly’s perfect.’” López Estrada then added, “She is Raya — just her buoyancy and her positivity, but yet there’s a strength as well to Kelly and the character.”
López Estrada also shared that after being so taken with Tran’s energy and audition that they changed a scene to match her level of performance.
“We had this little dramatic moment; it was written as a few lines. And I remember her going, ‘Hey, I have some ideas because this is normally how I would say this or I have some questions. Do you mind if I tried it a little bit differently?’” the director recalls. “She went for it, improvised for a minute, and had us all in tears. We changed the scene and reblocked the animation so that it would follow what Kelly did that day because she just clicked on something that was so much bigger than anything we had imagined.”
For the moment, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON is slated for a March 12, 2021 release in theaters, though I would not be surprised if Disney announces that the film is headed to Disney+ next year as a part of their plan to release more direct-to-consumer content during the pandemic. Be sure to check back with us tomorrow when the trailer for the film goes live online.