‘Star Wars’ sequel star Kelly Marie Tran replaces Cassie Steele in lead of ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’

(LOS ANGELES) — Disney announced Thursday that Star Wars sequel star Kelly Marie Tran will voice the title character in the upcoming animated film Raya and the Last Dragon

The announcement didn’t mention that Canadian actress Cassie Steele was at one time supposed to voice Raya, and was even promoted as such during last year’s Disney D23 expo. Tran is of Southeast Asian descent, and the film’s animators apparently looked to countries in that region for design inspiration.

The project centers on warrior princess Raya’s quest to find the last surviving dragon in the fantasy world of Kumandra, to battle against a race of sinister monsters bent on ruling the land. Raya’s unlikely partner, a water dragon known as Sisu, will be voiced by Akwafina.

In announcing the casting news, Disney shared an image of the warrior along with her sidekick, an armadillo-like insect that’s large enough to ride.

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Raya and the Last Dragon opens in U.S. theaters on March 12, 2021.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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