Disney+: Is ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ a Musical?

Raya and the Last Dragon is the latest entry in Disney‘s canon of animated films. It hits theaters on March 5 and will available as a Premier Access title on Disney+ at the same time.

As any Disney fanatic will tell you, musicals are an integral part of the company’s ever-growing library. This includes 90s classics like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, as well as modern favorites like Moana and the Frozen series. With that in mind, many might be wondering: is Raya and the Last Dragon also a musical?

How can you watch ‘Raya and The Last Dragon’?

Raya in Disney's 'Raya and the Last Dragon,' voiced by Kelly Marie Tran.
Raya in Disney’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon,’ voiced by Kelly Marie Tran. | Disney

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As reported by outlets like Polygon, Disney officially unveiled Raya and the Last Dragon in August of 2019. It was initially planned for a Thanksgiving 2020 release date, but COVID-19 forced a delay to March 2021.

Other significant changes took place during the film’s development as well. Initially, Degrassi star Cassie Steele was cast as Raya alongside Awkwafina as Sisu, the titular “Last Dragon.” A year later, Variety reported that Steele had been replaced by Star Wars: The Last Jedi star Kelly Marie Tran, owing to changes in Raya’s character.

The story of Raya and the Last Dragon follows Raya, a warrior from the land of Kumandra who must seek out the world’s last dragon to help fight back against an invading force known as the Druun. The rest of the cast includes Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh, Benedict Wong, and Alan Tudyk.

As a Premier Access title for Disney+, Raya and the Last Dragon will be available initially for $29.99 on top of the monthly cost of the service. This will remain in place for three months and on June 4, the film will be made available without an extra charge.

The film will be more of an action fantasy than a Disney musical

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In Feb. 2020, when details about Raya and the Last Dragon were still slim, Skyler Schuler, Editor-in-Chief at DisInsider, tweeted out a scoop about the film’s genre. The news initially came as deflating for classic Disney fans hoping for a new musical to fall in love with.

“Just learned, RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON will NOT be a musical,” Schuler said in a tweet.

While the likes of Tangled, Frozen, and Moana have established a trend of musicals in Disney’s modern era, it hasn’t all been show tunes. Raya and the Last Dragon now joins the non-musical ranks of Zootopia, Big Hero 6, and the Wreck-It Ralph series in the company’s recent output.

Fans hoping for a new hit of Disney musical goodness won’t have to wait long, however. The company is slated to release Encanto this Thanksgiving, an animated film about a Colombian family living in a magical house in the mountains. It will feature new songs written by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who previously worked on the Moana soundtrack.