There wasn’t much in the way of “news” coming out of the big Disney Studios panel on Saturday morning at the D23 Expo in sunny Anaheim, California. But one of the biggest bits of information dropped during the two hour plus panel was the title and details of the next Walt Disney Animation Studios feature, set to debut next November. It’s called “Raya and the Last Dragon,” and it’s an epic set in a fantasy world inspired by the culture of southeast Asia. Also: it looks fantastic.
The movie stars Cassie Steele as Raya, a lone warrior who sets to unique the kingdoms following the invasion of a dark evil. And how does she plan to do that, you ask? By finding the last dragon, Sisu, voiced by Awkwafina. Not only is she a playful water spirit but she also takes the form of an old woman, so that should be super fun. There was a brief teaser moment that established the movie’s tone and mood and it was gorgeous. This is one of the more beautiful-looking movies to come out of Walt Disney Animation Studios, which is saying something considering their recent output, and the storyline, which has Raya joining a group of warriors from the other kingdoms as they team up with Sisu to defeat the evil, seems like cracking entertainment that is both entertaining and heartfelt.
“Raya and the Last Dragon” is directed by longtime Disney story artists Dean Wellins and Paul Briggs and features a script by Adele Lim (“Crazy Rich Asians”). It is scheduled for release on November 25, 2020.