Disney is getting ready to reveal their first original, feature-length animated film since Moana, and it looks plenty impressive. Raya and the Last Dragon is a fantasy story with martial arts elements, looking more than a little inspired by the likes of Avatar and The Legend of Korra in particular. The film dropped its first trailer today, immediately showcasing what looks like a visually resplendent, more seriously themed film, and with an immediately arresting soundtrack to boot.
Raya and the Last Dragon certainly stands out from the likes of Moana, immediately projecting a more mature vibe, even if it’s similarly seems to be about a girl who runs away from home on a mission to protect her people. Instead of cracking jokes with a demigod, though, the trailer sees the titular Raya raiding a tomb full of booby traps and preparing to fight a one-on-one dual with its guardian, in the search for the “last dragon.” Kelly Marie Tran of the Star Wars sequel trilogy voices Raya, while Awkwafina voices the (apparently) last dragon.
The martial arts focus and color-coded human nation states certainly do remind one of the world of The Last Airbender, with Raya stepping in for the impetuous young Avatar Korra. Like Korra, she even has the expected animal companion who is big enough to ride as a mount. One wonders how far the similarities will ultimately stretch.
Raya and the Last Dragon is directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, from a script by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim. It’s currently scheduled for release on March 12, 2021, but in these pandemic-stricken times it would never be a surprise to see a series of pushed-back releases ultimately budget that release date. Regardless, check out the very impressive first trailer below.