With quarantine, many Disney films have had their release dates pushed back including Black Widow, Soul, the live action Mulan, and this newest Disney princess movie titled Raya and the Lost Dragon, which features a Southeast Asian protagonist voiced by Cassie Steele. Like Mulan, she is more of a warrior than a princess, but is still being considered a princess. With an expected release of March 2021, this is what we know so far.
This image shows Raya riding a creature on what is presumably her native land. She is wearing a culturally traditional outfit and holding a weapon, one that will probably be a very important tool for her throughout the movie like Moana's oar and Maui's fish hook. The clouds seem to make the shape of a dragon in the sky. On the left, there seems to be an abandoned shrine or temple, which could be a ancient place where the people could have worshipped the dragons. The plants at the bottom left corner resemble the wisps from Pixar's Brave, and the way they are placed and extenuated in this image makes them seem like they could have importance in the film. These plants could possibly lead the way to the main goal. Both the dragon shape in the clouds and blue plants can be seen better in the image used for the thumbnail of this article. (Source #1)
Without the trailer release, the plot is not 100% confirmed, but there are ideas that seem to be great plot predictions.
The film takes place in a mystical land Kumandra (although some other sites have been calling it Lumandra), where the protagonist begins her quest to find the last dragon after the dragon population mysteriously disappears. In this land, dragons are very well respected. She comes across a water dragon named Sisu, who is played by Awkwafina. She has the ability to take on the form of an old human woman. Sisu does not have the appearance of a typical dragon, which will make this film unique from the other dragon based movies. Sisu is actually based off of the water spirit of Southeast Asia. (Source #2) (Source #5)
Awkwafina states that Sisu "breathes fog through her nose, she flies by riding the raindrops, and she has this gem that channels this amazing power." (Source #4) This source suggests that the quest is for Sisu to regain her dragon form to rediscover her powers and that the dragons are the creatures that created their world. A couple sources also suggest that Raya is introduced in a scene where she is walking up an ancient staircase with a little boy following her with a flute, who is also the narrator the beginning. Annoyed, Raya begins arguing with the boy and the dragon blows out her torch.
The film's directors are Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins (who also did Princess and the Frog), with the co-director John Kipa. One of the writers of the film Crazy Rich Asians named Adele Lim wrote the screenplay for this movie. The producer of this film is Osnat Shurer. The film makers traveled to many Asian countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Indonesia to gain inspiration for how the movie should look. This movie is not supposed to be a muscial, and will be the first original Disney animated film since Moana. (Source #3)
Many are excited to see Disney's latest original film and anticipate emotional and empowering scenes from the movie. Although expected to hit theaters March 2021, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could change that.
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