Disney's upcoming Raya and The Last Dragon is the first film from Disney Animation Studios to be inspired by Southeast Asia, which means that the titular Raya -- voiced by Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Star Kelly Marie Tran -- will be the studio's first Southeast Asian Disney princess. The significance of this is something that's not lost on the film's writers, Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim. For both writers, bringing that sort of Asian representation to the world of Disney was something that was not only important to them but something they loved being part of.
ComicBook.com was on hand for a recent press day for the film and for Nguyen, Raya's significance was less that she is a Disney Princess and more that she is a "superhero".
"Well, for me, this is the big dream," Nguyen said. "I know that a lot of people are super excited about Raya being Disney's first Southeast Asian princess. But, for me, it is such a big deal for her to be my kids' new favorite superhero. It is something that I didn't get to see growing up, someone that really represented me, our voice, our culture. And to be able to have that for my children is a blessing that will last way beyond my time here on earth. So, it's an amazing moment to be part of this."
Lim had similar thoughts, opening up about how Raya and The Last Dragon lets them celebrate Southeast Asian culture in a rich and important way.
"There are so many other things too," Lim said. "We talked a bit about it, but growing up in Southeast Asia, we're very proud of our culture and our history. But you don't really ever see it on a Hollywood big screen. I had lots of action heroes on screen growing up, but it was like Hong Kong action kung fu. And now, the idea to be part of a Disney movie that can really celebrate everything that's beautiful about our culture and how strong our women are is great. And that Raya's not just an a**-kicker. She's got so much personality. I feel that it's so much of the spirit of a lot of the women I grew up with. And so, I'm very excited for the world to see this too."