Raya and the Last Dragon is the first major release for Disney in 2021, a year that the company very much hopes will be different than 2020…but that’s not guaranteed at the moment. Anyway, the upcoming film features a young warrior princess in Raya who has to travel her land in search of said Last Dragon to go and save her people from threats both within and without. Raya is VERY different from past Disney Princesses and for writer Adele Lim, she’s a testament to the stories, legends, and movies, she knew about as a kid growing up in Asia.
She spoke with ComicBook.com about Raya and the Last Dragon and noted that while growing up in Southeast Asia one of the biggest things she would watch were Kung Fu movies. Ones that very much showed strong female characters kicking butt, and their “spirit” stuck with Lim for some time. She cited how now women are very much empowered in that there are strong female leaders in the world and she wanted Raya to have that feeling. But, she also was clear to make sure that she wasn’t a “monolithic” character, but one that had both strength and flaws.
As noted earlier, Raya is VERY different from all previous Disney Princesses that came before her. Because the only one from past movies that could be called a “warrior princess” was Mulan. But her story was about having to hide her gender to fight in the army. Whereas Raya is able to embrace her female and warrior side from the start and without true restrictions.
It’s clear that a lot of effort and passion went into this film and that Disney has a lot of faith in it. We’ll just have to see how it does when the movie arrives on March 5th both in theaters and on Disney+ Premiere Access.