Raya and the Last Dragon will open in theaters and premiere on Disney+ simultaneously in March 2021. Disney is following through with some hybrid releases for 2021, following in the footsteps of studios like Universal and Warner Bros. The announcement was made today during Disney's Investor Day, along with a ton of other information about the future of Disney+ and beyond. The goal is to bring entertainment directly to consumers, especially since the public health crisis, which involves expanding Disney+ internationally.
Disney has announced that Raya and the Last Dragon will premiere on March 5th and unveiled a new poster too. Viewers will be able to choose if they would like to go into theaters, or watch the movie from the comfort of their own homes. Just like Mulan, the upcoming animated movie will be available exclusively through Premier Access, which means it will have a premium price. The live-action adaptation of Mulan cost $34.95 and it is believed that Raya and the Last Dragon will be the same, though that has yet to be officially confirmed at this time.
Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned and it's up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people. However, along her journey, she'll learn that it'll take more than a dragon to save the world-it's going to take trust and teamwork as well.
Raya and the Last Dragon star Awkwafina recently discussed joining the cast, which also includes The Last Jedi star Kelly Marie Tran. "When I first heard about it, it was a concept that I never heard of and couldn't even imagine. Two strong, female characters, one a warrior princess," said Awkwafina. She continued, "I knew that this is going to be very special, especially with Kelly Marie Tran involved. I've seen some footage of it and I sometimes question if it's live-action or not because it's so real." Disney has been stepping up their animation over the past few years, along with the other major studios. However, the technology isn't always where the heart is. Awkwafina explains.
"The beauty about Disney is there's always this human element, something that's very greatly relatable to all the characters. I definitely relate to both Raya and Sisu, my character, who is a water dragon."
Production on Raya and the Last Dragon was hit by the public health crisis, but they cast and crew were able to pull things together to finish. "Toward the end, we were still recording into COVID. That led to a lot of impromptu setting up the mic in my own house with horrible acoustics, recording for a Disney+ movie," said Awkwafina. While navigating a new way to record her dialogue, things started to change. "It's a constantly evolving process, which is new for me to witness how Disney works. There's so much hard work involved for the smallest details. It's a constantly evolving vision," she said. You can check out the new poster for Raya and the Last Dragon above, thanks to the official Disney Animation Twitter account.