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Walt Disney Animation Studios on Saturday introduced a new fantasy, Raya and the Last Dragon, which is set for a Nov. 25, 2020, release, as well as new details about its Nov. 22 release Frozen 2 before an estimated 7,000 fans gathered at the company’s D23 Expo in Anaheim.
Southeast Asia-inspired Raya and the Last Dragon is being penned by screenwriter Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians) and explores the themes of community and hope. The title character is the fearless Raya, voiced by Cassie Steele, who goes on a quest to find the last dragon, Sisu, voiced by Awkwafina, “to bring light and unity back to their world.” The story is set in the fantasy kingdom of Kumandra with five clans and is rendered with a painterly look.
Raya is being directed by Paul Briggs and Dean Wellins, and produced by Osnat Shurer (Moana).
Just Announced: Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, starring @cassandrasteele (Raya) and @Awkwafina (Sisu, the Last Dragon). Check out all-new concept art, and see the film in theaters November 2020. #D23Expo pic.twitter.com/VPqCroDkeH
— Disney (@Disney) August 24, 2019
Jennifer Lee, who was named chief creative office of Walt Disney Animation Studios following the departure of John Lasseter in 2018, introduced the Disney Animation segment of the presentation, which included new details about Frozen 2, which she directed with Chris Buck, who joined her onstage.
Lee, who also wrote the screenplay, noted that the sequel to their 2014 Oscar winner would answer many questions, including how Elsa got her powers.
The directors announced two new voice castmembers: Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld), who plays Anna and Elsa’s mother, Queen Iduna, in flashbacks; and Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) as Lieutenant Mattias. Frozen 2‘s returning voice cast includes Kristen Bell as Anna, Idina Menzel as Elsa, Jonathan Groff as Kristoff and Josh Gad as Olaf.
Music played an enormous role in the original film’s success, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who won an Oscar for Frozen‘s “Let It Go,” are returning to write music for the sequel. Also returning is composer Christophe Beck.
In a newly unveiled preview clip, Menzel’s Elsa sings a new ballad, “Into the Unknown.” And at D23, Bell, Menzel, Gad and Groff performed a second new song from the film, “Some Things Never Change,” which closed the presentation.
Brown and Wood were also on hand for the presentation.
Lee shares a producing credit with Frozen producer Peter Del Vecho.
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