With all the Marvel and Star Wars news coming out of Disney, it’s easy to forget that the studio made their name with groundbreaking animated films like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, and Beauty and the Beast. At the entertainment powerhouse’s D23 theatrical panel, Jennifer Lee, CCO of Walt Disney Animation Studios, revealed a new animated movie called Raya and the Last Dragon, from Crazy Rich Asian‘s writer Adele Lim.
Just Announced: Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, starring @cassandrasteele (Raya) and @Awkwafina (Sisu, the Last Dragon). Check out all-new concept art, and see the film in theaters November 2020. #D23Expo pic.twitter.com/V40bv64IIp
— Walt Disney Studios (@DisneyStudios) August 24, 2019
Described as a mix of “Hong Kong action movies and Disney animation magic” the film will center on a young girl named Raya (voiced by Cassie Steele) who sets herself the task of hunting down the last Dragon, Sisu (voiced by Awkwafina). The presentation focused on the influence of Hong Kong movies and southeast Asian culture. Fom what we heard, the film will follow Raya as she tries to find the last Dragon to save her fictional homeland of Kumandra: “a reimagined earth inhabited by an ancient civilization that venerated the mythical dragons for their power and their wisdom.” Those dragons are long gone though, and when an evil force threatens the world that she loves, Raya must track down the last of the mythical creatures to help her. She might have a problem, though, as Sisu is trapped in a human body and needs to reclaim her true dragon form.
The film seems to share multiple plot threads and themes with the smash-hit Nickelodeon show Avatar: The Last Airbender, which isn’t totally surprising as that beloved series was loosely inspired by the classic piece of literature Journey to the West. Nerdist’s own Kyle Anderson was present at the presentation and was blown away by the quality of the footage shown.
The footage they showed looked so amazing. Awkwafina plays the dragon and Cassie Steele plays Raya. #D23Expo
— Nerdist (@nerdist) August 24, 2019
We’ll have to wait a little longer for a trailer and official art, but the response from those in the room means that Disney has something special up their sleeves. Raya and the Last Dragon will hit screens on Nov. 25, 2020.
Featured Image: Disney