Date: 28th August 2020

Disney's 'Raya and the Last Dragon' Recasts Kelly Marie Tran as Lead.

Kelly Marie Tran will voice the main character in Disney's animated adventure "Raya and the Last Dragon", replacing the voice role previously held by Cassie Steele.

Tran is taking over the role from Canadian actress Cassie Steele, who was initially cast when the animated film was announced last year. But it appears that the coronavirus pandemic has affected the film, which had to "quickly reshuffle" to work remotely with production ramping up in March just as the pandemic hit. However, it seems things have changed for the better, as Tran took over the lead role after an amazing audition that left the film's directors, Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, in "stunned silence". Playwright Qui Nguyen is also joining Crazy Rich Asians scribe Adele Lim as co-writer.

Raya and the Last Dragon (2021), set in a fictional fantasy land called Kumandra, follows a fearless warrior as she seeks to save the realm from evil forces. As previously announced, Awkwafina voices a character named Sisu, a rare water dragon who can transform into a human being. Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada are directing the film, which was written by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim.

Tran shot to fame after starring in 2017’s "Star Wars: The Last Jedi". She reprised her role as rebel mechanic Rose Tico in 2019's "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker", the final chapter in the nine-part Skywalker saga. Her casting in "Raya and the Last Dragon" makes Tran the first Southeast Asian American to lead a Disney animated film.

"Raya and the Last Dragon" was originally expected to debut in theaters this November, but amid the coronavirus pandemic, its release was shifted back to March 12, 2021. Though the film has been kept mostly under wraps, Awkwafina teased the project at D23 Expo last year.

"We keep saying it's about sisterhood", Awkwafina said. "Raya - when we talk about Disney idols - she's, as you would say, 'bad ass.' ".

Source: Press Release