Raya and the Last Dragon: Disney movie premieres with first Southeast Asian princess

Credit: Disney

Disney's latest animated movie Raya and the Last Dragon has premiered, featuring the first Southeast Asian princess in the company's nearly 100 year history.

Titular character Raya is the first princess of Southeast Asian ethnicity, voiced by Kelly Marie Tran - the first Southeast Asian actor to lead an animated feature from the studio.

The story follows Raya through the fantasy world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons lived together in harmony long ago, but now faces an evil threat.

Raya is Disney's first Southeast Asian princess in the company's nearly 100 year history. Credit: Disney

Co-writer Adele Lim, best known for the box office smash hit Crazy Rich Asians, said the movie was "inspired by Southeast Asian and Malaysian culture".

While her fellow co-writer Qui Nguyen wrote: "I dreamt of this moment, but it's hard to believe it’d be real. I made an Asian DISNEY SUPERHERO."

The film has been celebrated too for its ethnic and gender diversity across its cast and crew - boasting an all-female technical leadership team.

Kelly Marie Tran is joined by golden globe winner Awkwafina, who voices Sisu, and described the role as a dream come true.

The 32-year-old said: "Disney was such an iconic part of my childhood. Those characters and movies and the things you learn from them, shape who you become.

"If I was a kid and I had seen a movie like this it would have changed how I looked at myself in the world.

"We want movies that ultimately reflect our real world and to combine that with something that’s also like a treasure from my childhood – it’s very powerful."

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