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The Trailer for Disney’s Raya and The Last Dragon With Kelly Marie Tran Has Arrived!

Good things are coming in 2021, and when we return to theaters, Disney will be there with Kelly Marie Tran leading Raya and the Last Dragon. The film has been in the works for years, but today we finally got our look at Disney’s newest Asian leading woman, and their first story inspired by Southeast Asian locations like Vietnam. And the film looks amazing.

What does this first teaser tell us about Raya? Well, Raya herself is a super-competent young explorer and warrior, it seems. We see her at the top of the trailer navigating an ancient temple with boobytraps and mysterious tests where Indiana Jones would be comfortable. In true Disney fashion, she has an animal sidekick: a very very cute little armadillo who’s also pretty useful for rolling around and getting bast trap.

Inside the temple, where water flows backward, Raya meets a mysterious guardian in a dragon mask and begins to battle with them. It’s unclear if this is a test or training or a final boss. I would hazard a guess that this is part of Raya’s training to be, as is explained later in a voice-over, a guardian of “the dragon gem.”

But it looks like things are not going well in Raya’s world, as she zooms over the desert in a vehicle that looks like part of it is based on her cute armadillo friend. The different peoples are divided and to bring peace, Raya will need to find, wait for it, the last dragon. We only get a glimpse of the dragon in the final moments behind the title, swimming through the water.

Just the fact that the dragon is in water and this story seems to be tied to some sort of drought is a sign that Disney is really getting their mythology right. In most of Asia, dragons are associated with water, not fire. From the Indonesian/Indian Naga to the Vietnamese Long (Rong), dragons are spirits of rivers, the sea, and water in general, and thus very important as water is so central to many cultures.

I’m sure that there will be comparisons made here to Avatar: The Last Airbender, or The Legend of Korra given that Raya’s look is superficially a bit similar to Korra or Katara, and the different tribes we see could very easily be associated with different elements. But hopefully, since it looks like there are five, they might be assigned the Chinese elements (Wu Xing) of Earth, Wood, Fire, Metal, and Water.  I’m just guessing and hoping here, though we do see someone holding metal.

What I’m most excited for, however, is hearing the voice of Kelly Marie Tran. Tran was an amazing part of The Last Jedi who was treated terribly by parts of the Star Wars fandom and The Rise of Skywalker. No one deserves more to be a Disney heroine and a new icon for young girls than Kelly.

Are you excited for Raya and the Last Dragon? Do you think we’ll actually get to see it in theaters?

(image: Disney)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.