Is Raya from Raya and the Last Dragon a Disney Princess?

Disney, as we all know too well, is probably the most famous company that produces animated movies. Ever since its beginnings, Disney has produced a plethora of animated movies, most of which are – today – timeless classics. In recent years, Disney has also expanded to the field of streaming with Disney+, the platform that is home to Marvel’s television series but also the likes of The Mandalorian, which is probably the biggest Star Wars hit since Lucas’ original trilogy. 

Yet, we are not going to talk about Disney’s past achievements today, as we are going to focus on a future release that is already raising some questions, months before it even hit theaters. We are, of course, talking about Raya and the Last Dragon, Disney’s newest movie which is set for a March 2021 release. Is Raya, the titular protagonist, a new Disney Princess? Keep reading to find out!

The Disney Princess brand

Despite the term being used informally in a lot of situations, Disney Princess (or Princess Line), is actually an official merchandising brand owned by Disney. It is a line that focuses on the female protagonists of Disney’s animated movies, whether they are the sole protagonists of a movie or part of a larger cast of protagonists. The brand has retroactively added older female protagonists and has expanded several times to include new ones. 

The brand started somewhere after 1999, with the first publications coming out around 2005. It includes lots of different products, from publications and animated movies to – even – LEGO sets that focus on the Princesses that form part of the line. Not every female protagonist is a Disney Princess, as they have to embody the characteristics of all those characters and represent a strong female persona. The current official list of Princesses includes. 

  1. Snow White from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  2. Cinderella from Cinderella
  3. Aurora from Sleeping Beauty
  4. Ariel from The Little Mermaid
  5. Belle from Beauty and the Beast
  6. Jasmine from Aladdin
  7. Pocahontas from Pocahontas
  8. Mulan from Mulan
  9. Tiana from The Princess and the Frog
  10. Rapunzel from Tangled
  11. Merida from Brave
  12. Moana from Moana

The list is certainly going to expand as new characters appear, but this is the official list as of January 2021, when this article was written by yours truly. 

About Raya and the Last Dragon

Raya and the Last Dragon is an upcoming animated movie produced by The Walt Disney Company, set to release in March 2021 in theaters and on Disney+, which is a result of the theaters being shut down due to the global pandemic. The film is directed by Don Hall and Carlos Lopéz Estrada from a script written by Qui Nguyen and Peter Del Vecho; the film is inspired by the folklore and cultures of the countries in Southeast Asia, including Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, and the Philippines. 

The film stars Star Wars actress Kelly Marie Tran as the voice of Raya and Awkwafina as Sisu, a water dragon with the ability to transform into a human. Other actors appearing in the movie are Gemma Chan as Raya’s nemesis, Namaari; Sandra Oh as the latter’s mother, Virana; Benedict Wong as the giant Tong; Alan Tudyk as Raya’s friend Tuk Tuk; and Daniel Dae Kim as Raya’s father, Chief Benja. 

The story is set in the fictional land of Kumandra where, half a millennium ago, humans and dragons lived together in peace and harmony until evil monsters known as the Druun attacked, which prompted the dragons to sacrifice themselves to save humans. Five hundred years later, the Druun have returned so Raya, accompanied by Tuk Tuk, must go on a quest to find the last surviving dragon and earn its trust so that both of them can help humanity overcome the newest threat. 

Raya and the Last Dragon is an original story that is bound to be a hit for Disney, which is why we have decided to talk about its protagonist a little and see whether she has the potential to become Disney’s new, 13th official princess to be added to the above-shown list. 

Is Raya the next Disney Princess?

Since the movie is – as of yet – still set for release, we don’t actually know the precise answer to this question, but we do have certain theories based on what we saw from the trailer of the movie. 

In terms of general style, Raya definitely classifies as a potential Disney Princess, especially since this movie seems to be a lot like Brave or Moana, where the protagonist was a strong, rebellious female character that broke her usual societal roles. This movie seems to be everything Disney usually offers us in terms of animation, music, world-building, and the magic of its creations, so that condition is duly satisfied even if we saw nothing but the trailer. 

On the other hand, the majority of Disney’s Princesses are, in fact, a lot less tomboyish than Raya seems to be. If you look at Belle, or Jasmine, or Snow White, they all somehow fit the stereotypical damsel in distress present in fairy tales throughout the history of literature. They were all somehow tied to the male protagonist of their movies. With Raya, the situation seems to be quite different, so we cannot but ask ourselves – is the Princess material?

Well, if you look at some of the recent additions, especially Merida, Mulan, and Moana, they are all atypical Princesses but are on the official list. They wear pants, they are not princess-y in any way and they are quite rebellious. Raya seems to be exactly like that from what we gathered from the trailer and seeing how the trends are changing, there is no reason to believe that she won’t be the newest addition to the list. 

And with this, we conclude today’s article. We have given you all the necessary information about the movie and have also expressed our opinion on whether Raya is to become Disney’s newest Princess or not. Don’t forget to follow us for more of the same; until next time!