Raya and the Last Dragon is an upcoming American computer-animated adventure fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Walt Disney Animation Studios for distribution by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The 59th film produced by the studio, it is directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, co-directed by Paul Briggs and John Ripa, produced by Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho, written by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim, and music score composed by James Newton Howard. It is also the first film produced by Disney Animation without any involvement from John Lasseter since 2005’s Chicken Little. The film features the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as the titular Raya and Awkwafina as Sisu, the last dragon.

Raya and the Last Dragon is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on March 12, 2021.

Premise

Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than dragon magic to save the world—it’s going to take trust as well.

Synopsis

Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than a dragon to save the world—it’s going to take trust and teamwork as well.

Raya and the Last Dragon Cast

  • Kelly Marie Tran as Raya, a fearless and passionate warrior who has been training to become a Guardian of the Dragon Gem. To restore peace to Kumandra, she embarks in search for the last dragon.
  • Awkwafina as Sisu, a water dragon who can transform into a human and is the last dragon in existence.

Production

Development

On May 24, 2018, That Hashtag Show reported that Walt Disney Animation Studios was developing an animated film titled Dragon Empire, which would be the directorial debut of story artists Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins, written by Kiel Murray. In October of the same year, Deadline reported that Adele Lim was hired to retouch the script, and that Osnat Shurer had been hired to produce the movie.

On August 24, 2019, Disney officially announced the film during their D23 Expo Walt Disney Animation Studios’ presentation panel. In August 2020, it was announced that Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, the latter who had joined Disney Animation in 2019, were now taking over the reins as directors, with Briggs remaining as co-director and John Ripa joining him. In addition, Qui Nguyen joined Lim as co-writer and Peter Del Vecho joined Shurer as producer.

Animation and design

Raya and the Last Dragon is set in a fictional fantasy land called Kumandra, inspired by Southeast Asian cultures from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Laos. To conduct research, the film makers and the production team traveled to Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Music

James Newton Howard will compose the score for Raya and the Last Dragon. The film marks the fourth time Howard scored an animated Disney film, after Dinosaur, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and Treasure Planet.

Marketing

The first look poster and teaser of the film was released on October 21, 2020.

Release

Raya and the Last Dragon was originally scheduled to be released in the United States on November 25, 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film’s release was delayed to March 12, 2021.

Trivia

  • Raya and The Last Dragon will be Walt Disney Animation Studios’ first original animated film since 2016’s Moana.
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