Disney's latest animated feature, Raya and the Last Dragon opens in theaters and debuts on Disney+ Premier Access on Friday bringing to life the studio's first-ever feature based in Southeast Asian culture and centered around a Southeast Asian hero. In the film, the titular Raya is a fierce warrior who is trying to track down the legendary last dragon to save her world from a sinister force. Voiced by Kelly Marie Tran, Raya is a complex and powerful character, and she's not the first time Tran has brought such a character to life. Tran may be best known for her role as Rose Tico in both Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but while Rose and Raya are similar in that they are passionate and determined, they are also very different in how they see the worlds they live in.
Speaking with ComicBook.com, Tran explained that while there are parts of Rose that exist in Raya, it's how they see and interact with their worlds that make them different.
"That's a good question," Tran said. "Yeah, I think there are parts of Rose that are definitely in Raya. What's interesting about Raya, she sees the world very differently than Rose does. I think Rose from the very beginning, despite having something bad happen to her still believes in the cause of the resistance and Raya sort of has something traumatic happen to her and immediately does not want people around her and is wanting just to fight on her own. But then by the end, Raya really fights to remember what it feels like to believe in something bigger than herself. And I think that is a really important distinction for me, for those two characters. It's really cool to think about it."
Her role in Raya and the Last Dragon also means that Tran is now officially a Disney princess, something she said is a big deal to her as a lifelong part of the Disney fandom.
"Oh man, that's a big deal. Yeah, I grew up loving these movies and loving being a part of the Disney fandom," Tran said. "Just being a kid that loved watching animated movies over and over and over and quoting them with my sisters. It was a huge part of my childhood. And so, to be a part of this is a really big deal for me. I'm really excited to share it with the world. And I just honestly wish I could share this with everyone who's ever loved these movies and wanted to be a part of them. It is an absolutely incredible and rare experience that I really wish I could just share."
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