Disney just announced its next animated movie, and it looks epic
Disney’s biennial fan extravaganza, D23, was held over the weekend in Anaheim, California. Die-hard Disney buffs were treated to major news about the company’s upcoming projects, including forthcoming products, apps, rides and attractions, and, of course, a slew of new movies and TV shows. While it’s safe to say we’re excited about all of it, one upcoming animated movie has really piqued our interest.
On Saturday, August 24th, Walt Disney Animation Studios announced Raya and the Last Dragon will be its next slated animated movie.
Raya and the Last Dragon is a new, original story that follows Raya, a “lone warrior” from a fantasy kingdom named Kumandra, who bands together with a “team of misfits” to find the Last Dragon and bring “light and unity” back to Kumandra.
Per Deadline, the production team was inspired by the cultures of Southeast Asia, though Kumandra is an imaginary land. And we have reason to believe the animation is going to be jaw-dropping, lush, and beautiful. Hello, just peek at the concept art:
At the D23 presentation announcing the film, audiences were given a little taste of what to expect.
In a voiceover, the clip read, "Our world was created by dragons. Before they left they hid a gift for the people. A powerful but dangerous gift. One that could save an entire kingdom or bring it to an end. The question is what will we find? Hope or destruction?"
So far, the line-up on this looks incredible. Crazy Rich Asians screenwriter Adele Lim penned the script, teaming back up with Awkwafina, who will play Sisu, the titular last dragon. Degrassi: The Next Generation star Cassie Steele will play Raya, described as “a five-star bad-ass” who can apparently sling a sword like no other, according to Deadline.
Of her character meeting Awkwafina's, Steele told the audience, "Raya is ready to meet a magical water being who breathes fog through her nose, flies by riding the raindrops, and has a gem that channels this amazing huge power." But "when Raya first meets [her], she’s in human form and needs Raya’s help to reclaim her power to become her true dragon self," according to Entertainment Weekly.
There are a few other Disney favorites at the helm of Raya and the Last Dragon: Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins from Big Hero 6 and Frozen are directing, and Moana‘s Osnat Shurer is producing.
Of course, Awkwafina has a trifecta of Disney delights up her sleeve in the next couple of years. She’ll join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, slated for release in 2021, and she’s rumored to be voicing Scuttle in the upcoming live-action reboot of The Little Mermaid.
In an Instagram post after the event, Awkwafina wrote that attending D23 was the “time of [her] life,” and that she was “so excited to finally announce” Raya. She further complimented the production team and gushed about the opportunity to work with Steele.
Raya and the Last Dragon marks the next announced Disney animated film, after Frozen 2 (November 22nd), and Pixar releases Onward (March 2020) and Soul (June 2020). Sadly, that means we’ll have to wait until November 25th, 2020, when the movie hits theaters, to meet Sisu and Raya. But we can’t wait to see this one and meet our new Disney dream team. It sounds like it’s going to be truly epic.