Are you ready for Raya and the Last Dragon? Well, hold on tight because Disney has just released the teaser trailer for the new movie and it looks so, so good. The latest feature-length animated marvel from Walt Disney Animation Studios isn’t set to debut until March 2021, but hopefully, this first trailer will hold you over for a few more months.
Raya and the Last Dragon tells the story of the titular Raya (Kelly Marie Tran), a warrior who sets out to defend her homeland against an ancient evil. To do that, she has to track down the last dragon, Sisu (Awkwafina), who has transformed into a human. Also, Raya has a very cute animal sidekick named Tuk Tuk. While the synopsis of a young human girl teaming up with a mystical character who has lost their powers to vanquish a timeless villain and return that mystical character to their former glory sounds a whole lot like Moana, Raya looks – and more importantly feels – quite different, from Moana and any other Disney animated feature.
The first footage from the film was screened at last year’s D23 Expo. It was an evocative piece, full of outstanding martial arts choreography and complete with a lush, rain-soaked Southeast Asian vibe. Sisu is one of the coolest character designs in the history of Disney Animation (seriously) and it just seems like the right time for this kind of story, one that is able to be both classically mythological and thoroughly modern.
After the D23 Expo, the movie went through a pretty severe creative shake-up; original directors Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins (both longtime Disney animation vets) were removed (Briggs remains as a co-director along with John Ripa), the lead actor was replaced (Tran filled in for Cassie Steele) and an additional writer was announced (Qui Nguyen joins the previously announced Adele Lim), along with an additional producer (Peter del Vecho is now paired with Osnat Shurer). That’s quite a rejiggering. But hopefully, everything turned out for the best. The film is directed by the great Don Hall and Blindspotting director Carlos López Estrada, who is new to the Walt Disney Animation Studios fold.
We can’t wait to see what else Raya the Last Dragon has in store when it debuts on March 12, 2021. Get even more Disney updates here.