Raya and The Last Dragon Writer Talks About the Empowered Female Inspirations for The Film

Disney's latest animated feature, Raya and The Last Dragon will make its way to audiences in theaters where available and on Disney+ Premier Access in just a few weeks, giving audiences the studio's first film inspired by the culture of Southeast Asia. The story, written by Adele Lim and Qui Nguyen, draws on not just one particular culture or mythology in order to create the fantasy world of Kumandra. But even with Raya and the Last Dragon drawing from a number of Southeast Asian cultures, for Lim, it's the powerful female figures that helped inspire the film.

Speaking with ComicBook.com during a recent press event, Lim said that her personal inspirations came from her own childhood in Southeast Asia, but also the female characters in kung fu movies as well as female leaders and warriors of Southeast Asia.

"In terms of my personal inspirations for this, in the beginning, it's a bunch of different things, like growing up in Southeast Asia I watched a ton of kung fu action movies, which is more from Hong Kong, but the spirit of their female characters, that stayed with me a long time because whether they were the love interest or like the mean girl, they could still whoop your ass," Lim said. "And I like that idea. And also in Southeast Asia, we have a tradition of it but also continuing to this day that women are very empowered. We have great female leaders, there were great female warriors and so wanting Raya to also be that character and the other part of it is, having grown up seeing these powerful women, but again, when I say powerful they're also like flawed and they're also like conniving and you see different aspects of this. It's not just one monolithic like female warrior prototype."

Directed by Don Hall and Carlos Lopez Estrada with Paul Briggs and John Ripa serving as co-directors on a script written by Qui Ngyuen and Adele Lim, Raya and The Last Dragon stars Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina along with Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh, Benedict Wong, Izaac Wang, Thalia Tran, Alan Tudyk, Lucille Soong, Patti Harrison, and Ross Butler.

You can take a look at the official synopsis for Raya and the Last Dragon below!

"Raya and the Last Dragon takes us on an exciting, epic journey to the fantasy world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons lived together long ago 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 arrives in theaters and Disney+ on March 5th. If you haven't signed up for Disney+ yet, you can try it out here.

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