New Trailer Takes a Deep Dive into Raya and the Last Dragon

Raya and the Last Dragon is speculated to be the next big Disney Princess movie. Until recently, many details of its plot were kept under wraps. We know she's a warrior princess, that her people are divided, and that she needs to find the last dragon to help reunite them. Anything else about the story was only hinted at during last month's Investor Day presentation. Today, Disney treated us to a new poster and full-length trailer that gives us a first look at Raya's backstory as well as many of the other characters in the cast, including the dragon, Sisu, herself. The movie is on schedule for its March 5th release in theaters and on Disney+ for an additional fee. If this trailer is any indication of what to expect on that day, we are in for quite the adventure.

The trailer begins with Raya discovering a stray baby and, like the kindhearted princess she is, searching for its parents. Then the baby reveals herself to be a "con-baby" (whatever that means) with badass fighting skills that are practically a match for Raya's. Raya decides to recruit her for her mission and proceeds to reveal her backstory with a flashback of her handsome father informing her of her life's mission to reunite her people. We are then briefly introduced to the other members of her team who employ themselves to help her find the last dragon, including a big guy in an eyepatch and a little boy. When they finally find the dragon, Sisu, they are disappointed when she confesses that she isn't the best dragon for the job. After six years of searching, it looks like they're stuck with her no matter what. The final surprise in the trailer is when we see Sisu shapeshift into her human form, which has the same beautiful blue and purple hair as her dragon persona. This clips are interspersed with more footage of Raya showing off her incomparable fighting skills.

The trailer does not clarify exactly how Sisu is supposed to reunite the indigenous people of Kumandra, but that particular tidbit of information is revealed in the official summary, which reads as follows:

Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good.

I didn't notice any clips of sinister monsters in the trailer, so it's possible that Disney is saving the reveal of what the Druun look like for the film. Considering that this world contains shapeshifting, it may even be one of Raya's companions to follow the latest trend of Disney Princesses and betrayals. If the Druun design is anything like Sisu's, it will be worth the wait. I love how Sisu doesn't look like your typical scaly dragon and instead has huggable cotton candy-like fur in pastel shades of blue and purple. It looks like her relationship with Raya will o be an integral part of the plot. In the trailer, she encourages Raya to learn to trust, a lesson that this hardened warrior princess seems to be in dire need of. We also see a heartwarming hug shared between the princess and the dragon that is dripping with Disney magic.

Raya and the Last Dragon poster feature Raya and Sisu

Raya has some similarities to Moana in that they are both daughters of chiefs who are questing to save their people instead of seeking freedom or romance like other Disney Princesses. I think what sets Raya apart from Moana is that while Moana was expected to sail across the ocean on a tiny one-person raft, Raya enlists a group of warriors to fight beside her, making teamwork a key theme of the film. With Sisu's help, she must learn to trust her companions and realize that it's okay to ask for help no matter how capable you may be, a valuable lesson for children of all ages. The leadership qualities that Raya must learn to demonstrate are reminiscent of the recently concluded Elena of Avalor series, which ushered in a new era of Disney Princesses who use the power of love for their companions to save the day rather than a singular romantic interest. This is a fresh take on an old trope that continues to celebrate compassion and femininity, something that I would like to see more of in newer princess movies.

It looks like Raya and the Last Dragon will have something unique to offer to old and new princess fans alike. The setting of southeast Asia paints a rich world of beautiful scenery and obscure mythology that redefines our perception of dragons. Even though the heroine is a hardened warrior, the story appears to have a lot of heart as she must learn to put her faith in others, even if they appear less capable than her on a superficial level. I love the design for Sisu and hope to see a lot more of her when the movie launches on Disney+ Premier Access on March 5th.

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