On October 21st, 2020, Disney released the first teaser trailer for their upcoming animated-feature film, Raya and the Last Dragon.
The trailer introduces the story of the world of Kumandra, a land that is based on Southeast Asian cultures, such as Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia. The main character, Raya, is faced with the task of finding the last dragon in order to restore peace from an evil that threatens to consume her home, Kumandra. Star Wars actress Kelly Marie Tran voices Raya in this film alongside Awkwafina, who is set to voice the last dragon, Sisu.
According to Disney executives, the film will be directed by Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada, Paul Briggs, and John Ripa. Don Hall has six years of experience with Disney, having directing credits for Big Hero Six and Winnie the Pooh.
The importance of this film, however, lies in its cultural significance. Raya and the Last Dragon will make cinema history as Walt Disney Animation’s first film to feature a princess of Southeast Asian descent. According to Forbes, the teaser trailer displays heavy Southeast Asian influences through Raya’s Southeastern facial features, Southeast Asian influenced wardrobe, and fighting style that closely resembles Arnis (also known as Kali or Eskrima), a martial art of the Philippines.
The film will be released in theatres during March of 2021, and as the release date nears, more information about the movie will slowly be released.