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Kelly Marie Tran is the first Southeast Asian actress to lead a Disney film!

By Rachelle  /  29 Aug 2020 (Saturday)

Kelly Marie Tran from the Star Wars franchise has been announced as the voice of Raya in Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon! 

Entertainment Weekly has also exclusively revealed a first look image from the film, which happens to be the first fully rendered CG image of the movie! The image features Raya and her trusty steed Tuk Tuk, a creature described as a fuzzy bear meets “an insect version of an armadillo.” As an evil force threatens the fictional kingdom of Kumandra, the two must leave their Heart Lands home and track down the last dragon to help stop the villainous Druun.

Raya and the Last Dragon is set in the fantasy world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons long ago lived together in harmony. The dragons sacrificed their lives to defeat sinister monsters known as Druun, but 500 years later the Druun have returned. Thus begins Raya’s search for… the last dragon!

It is a movie of many firsts as it will be Disney Animation Studios’ first movie inspired by Southeast Asia, much like how Tran is the first Southeast Asian actress to lead a film from the company. Malaysian-born Adele Lim who also co-wrote the highly successful Crazy Rich Asians movie is responsible for writing this film.

The filmmakers are putting in the work to accurately celebrate the cultures that influenced the movie, including Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Producer Osnat Shurer, who was also behind Moana, says the studio sent creative teams on research trips to multiple countries in Southeast Asia and worked with a Southeast Asia Story Trust. They also collaborated with a Lao visual anthropologist who looks at every design before it’s finalized, as well as linguists, dancers, and Gamelan musicians from Indonesia.

Raya and the Last Dragon will open in cinemas 11 March 2021.
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