Star Wars Actress Kelly Marie Tran on Being Disney’s First Southeast Asian Lead

Rabid Star Wars fanboys may have forced Kelly Marie Tran to take a break from social media, however, the Star Wars: The Last Jedi actress continues to rise above the toxicity, nabbing the lead role in Disney's upcoming animated movie, Raya and the Last Dragon.

Entertainment Weekly dropped the news yesterday when it released Disney's first look photo of its upcoming Southeast Asian-inspired computer-animated fantasy film, Raya and the Last Dragon. The report came as a warm and welcome surprise for Tran's fans – the Star Wars star is now Disney's first actress of Southeast Asian descent to play the lead role in a Disney animated movie.

Speaking in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Tran opens up about how she felt when she got the role, admitting that she had no idea how much she wanted to see someone just like her, a Southeast Asian, in a Disney movie.

"I just cried and laughed through the whole thing," Tran tells EW. "I didn't know that I was yearning just to see someone who looks like me."

In Raya and the Last Dragon, Tran plays the titular role of Raya, the daughter of the Chief of the Heart Lands, one of five lands in the kingdom of Kumandra. Years ago, humans and dragons in Kumandra lived in harmony. Until the invasion of the Druun monsters that is. When the Druuns invaded Kumandra, dragons were forced to sacrifice themselves to save humanity. Raya's father was also killed during the encounter.

Disney's new movie follows Raya's journey as a warrior searching for the last dragon who she believes can save the kingdom of Kumandra.

Raya and the Last Dragon is set to premiere on March 12, 2021.

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