For its next original animated outing, Raya and the Last Dragon, Disney is exploring the culture and folklore of Southeast Asia. Co-directed by Mouse House vets Don Hall (Big Hero 6) and Carlos López Estrada (Legion), the movie — which was first announced at D23 Expo last summer — dropped its first, Tomb Raider-esque teaser trailer today on Good Morning America. This may very well be Disney's answer to DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon.
Kelly Marie Tran (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) voices Raya, a warrior living in Kumandra, an alternate version of Earth where humans once lived in harmony with dragons. When evil monsters known as the Drunn threatened all of existence, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save the world. Fast forward 500 years later and the Drunn are on the rise again, prompting Raya (and her armadillo/wood louse companion named Took Took) to track down the last dragon (voiced by Awkwafina), unite a divided world, and stop the monsters once and for all. However, it's not that simple because Sisu is in human form and needs help in returning to her mythical form.
Watch the trailer now:
"Along her journey, [Raya will] learn that it’ll take more than dragon magic to save the world — it’s going to take trust as well," reads the official synopsis provided by the studio. To be as respectful as possible, the production worked closely with a story trust of expert consultants from Southeast Asia. "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,” Tran said over the summer. “Raya is totally a warrior. When she was a kid, she was excited to get her sword. And she grows up to be a really badass, gritty warrior and can really take care of herself.”
"She is Raya — just her buoyancy and her positivity, but yet there's a strength as well to Kelly and the character," added Hall.
Check out the first poster:
Qui Nguyen (The Society) and Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians) penned the screenplay, while Osnat Shurer (Moana) and Peter Del Vecho (Frozen) serve as producers.
Raya and the Last Dragon will breathe some fire into theaters (if any are still open) on March 12, 2021.