Star Wars star Kelly Marie Tran will voice the lead character in Disney’s upcoming Raya and the Last Dragon.

With Raya, Tran becomes the first Southeast Asian actress to lead a Disney film. Last year, Cassie Steele (Degrassi) was announced as the voice of Raya. Now, Tran is stepping in to take over the role. At this time, it’s unclear why Disney opted to recast.

The movie follows Raya, a lone warrior on a journey to find the last dragon. The last dragon herself, Sisu (Awkwafina), has been trapped in a human body. She needs Raya’s help to return to her dragon form.

Raya and the Last Dragon is set in the fictional world of Kumandra. The world draws its inspiration from various Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Disney released this first-look photo of the film.

Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon

The team behind Raya and the Last Dragon

Raya and the Last Dragon comes from director Don Hall. Hall previously worked on the Disney features Big Hero 6 and Moana. Carlos López Estrada (Blindspotting) co-directs the film. The screenplay comes from playwright Qui Nguyen and Crazy Rich Asians’ Adele Lim.

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee discussed the team behind the film with Entertainment Weekly.

“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,” said Lee. “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.”

Production on the film continues during quarantine. According to Lee, over 400 Disney Animation artists are working on the project from home.

Disney currently plans to release Raya and the Last Dragon in March of 2021.

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Source: Entertainment Weekly