Disney recasts Raya and The Last Dragon with Kelly Marie Tran as new lead
In a historic move, Disney has chosen to recast the forthcoming animated adventure Raya and The Last Dragon with Kelly Marie Tran (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) now taking over the titular role and becoming the first Southeast Asian to lead a Disney animated film, according to Deadline.
Written by Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians) and Qui Nguyen and directed by Don Hall (Big Hero 6) and Carlos López Estrada (Blindspotting), the film is set in the mysterious realm of Kumandra and centers on warrior Raya as she seeks for the last dragon before Druun an Evil Force Destroys the Realm.
The titular role was originally set to be voiced by Cassie Steele (Rick and Morty), but the filmmakers and studio have chosen to adjust their vision and bring Tran in as the lead star, joining the previously cast Awkwafina (The Farewell), who is starring as a dragon in human form named Sisu.
“As filmmakers, Don and Carlos bring a combination of animation know-how and emotional storytelling to Raya and the Last Dragon, bringing our fantasy adventure to surprising, original, and dynamic heights,” Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee said in a statement. “They both saw the potential for this film and had a strong vision for the story, especially for our lead character, played by the wonderfully talented Kelly Marie Tran. And no small feat, directors Don and Carlos, writers Qui and Adele, and the entire crew of 400 Disney Animation artists are making this film together, while separated and working from home.”
Raya and the Last Dragon, which is also being co-directed by Paul Briggs (Zootopia) and John Ripa, is set to hit theaters on March 12, 2021.
(Photo Credit: Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)