If you’re a fan of Disney, you may want to know if Raya from Raya and the Last Dragon is an official Disney princess.
Raya and the Last Dragon—which premiered on Friday, March 5, 2021—follows Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) a warrior from the fictional land of Kumandra who is tasked with saving the world from the Druun, a monster species that threatened Kumandra 500 years ago but were stopped by dragons, who sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, Raya and pet pill bug, Tuk Tuk, must find the last dragon, Sisu, in order to save Kumandra from the Druun once again.
As of now, there are 12 official Disney princesses: Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), Cinderella (Cinderella), Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Jasmine (Aladdin) Pocahontas (Pocahontas), Mulan (Mulan), Tiana (The Princess and the Frog), Rapunzel (Tangled), Merida (Brave), and Moana (Moana)
While Raya hasn’t been announced as an official Disney princess yet, it’s expected that she will be added to this list. In the movie, Raya is described as warrior princess from Kumandra’s Heart Land, while her rival, Namaari (Gemma Chan), is a warrior princess from Fang Land. Tran, who voices Raya in Raya and the Last Dragon, has also described her character as a princess and the first Southeast Asian princess in Disney history.
“I’m so excited to be part of a movie that’s broadening the narrative when it comes to, what do people think when it comes to the word ‘Princess?’ What do people think when it comes to the word ‘Hero?'” she said on The Drew Barrymore Show in March 2021. “I think we’ve had a very narrow perception of what those words mean.”
In her interview on The Drew Barrymore Show, Tran also opened up about her relationship to 1998’s Mulan, which she said was “such a huge part of my childhood.” “I think I was 9 when that movie came out, and it was the first time I felt like I saw someone who looked at me living in these sort of spaces on that sort of scale,” Tran said of Mulan, which featured Disney’s first Asian princess. She went on to reveal that Ming Na Wen, who voiced Mulan, has been “such an inspiration” in her life.
That’s when Wen surprised Tran on the Zoom call. “I feel like I’m looking in a mirror at the younger me,” Wen said. “Because I followed Kelly’s footsteps and became part of the Star Wars family and now she’s following my footsteps in being a Disney princess. I feel like we have this whole mirror thing going on and I love it. I’m so proud of you.”
Wen went on to describe the impact that Raya and the Last Dragon will have on viewers. “Your film, Raya—as Mulan has done—it crosses all barriers. It about finding the hero and the heroine in all of us. It’s about believing in yourself. It’s also about compassion and sharing the love to fight for humanity and fight for what’s right,” Wen said. “So all those messages are really, really important,” she said.
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