Disney reveals Us Again short to debut ahead of Raya and the Last Dragon
Walt Disney Animation has revealed a new theatrical short with the musical and vibrant Us Again that is set to debut ahead of next month’s Raya and the Last Dragon, the studio’s first in five years since the debut of Inner Workings ahead of the Oscar-nominated Moana!
The short is produced by Brad Simonsen (Big Hero 6) and executive produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee and features music from Pinar Toprak (Captain Marvel) and choreography from award winners Keone and Mari (World of Dance).
“Working with Keone and Mari was the key to making this film work,” Parrish said in a statement. “From the very beginning, I knew that I wanted this film to be music driven. And I felt that dance is a universal language that can translate into any culture. I loved that their dance style felt like it was made for animation, and that there was this genuine, honest and organic connection between them because they were actually a married couple in real life. The story itself was inspired by my own grandparents, who faced getting older in different ways, along with my own physical limitations in playing sports resulting from getting older and injuries. I started thinking about how someone might look at the world differently as things change and they grow older.”
“One of my priorities has been to bring back theatrical animated shorts and to give artists at our Studio an opportunity to explore new ideas,” Lee added in a statement. “Us Again has so much spirit and energy, and pushes the boundaries of our short form storytelling.”
Following its theatrical debut, Us Again is set to premiere on Disney+ in June.
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 will be led by Kelly Marie Tran (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), who will be the first Southeast Asian to lead a Disney animated film. 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.
In addition to Tran and Awkwafina, the cast for the film includes Gemma Chan (Captain Marvel) as Raya’s nemesis, Namaari; Daniel Dae Kim (Hellboy) as Raya’s visionary father, Benja; Sandra Oh (Killing Eve) as Namaari’s powerful mother, Virana; Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange) as Tong, a formidable giant; Izaac Wang as Boun, a 10-year-old entrepreneur; Thalia Tran as the mischievous toddler Little Noi; Alan Tudyk (Harley Quinn) as Tuk Tuk, Raya’s best friend and trusty steed; Lucille Soong (Fresh Off the Boat) as Dang Hu, the leader of the land of Talon; Patti Harrison (Shrill) as the chief of the Tail land; and Ross Butler (To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You) as chief of the Spine land.
Raya and the Last Dragon is co-directed by Don Hall (Big Hero 6), Carlos López Estrada (Blindspotting), Paul Briggs (Zootopia) and John Ripa from a script written by Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians) and Qui Nguyen.
The film will arrive in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access on March 5.