Raya, from Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, is gay – according to Kelly Marie Tran, at least.
Tran plays the latest Disney princess Raya in the movie Raya and the Last Dragon. She admitted in an interview with Vanity Fair that, when she was recording her role for the animated film, she decided there were feelings between Raya and her longtime enemy Namaari.
Even though their relationship isn’t official, Tran said she believed Raya had more than platonic feelings towards Namaari, who is voiced by Gemma Chan. She told Vanity Fair she is “obsessed with Namaari” and Chan, which rubbed off on her portrayal of Raya.
“I think if you’re a person watching this movie and you see representation in a way that feels really real and authentic to you, then it is real and authentic,” Tran says. “I think it might get me in trouble for saying that, but whatever.”
The film, which premiered on Disney Plus, takes places in a magical re-imagined Earth known as Kumandra. A warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon, stop the sinister monsters known as the Druun and save humanity.
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Raya and the Dragon hints at Raya being gay
Vanity Fair hinted that Disney may be subtly confirming that Tran’s character is, in fact queer. The magazine pointed out that Raya is introduced in the film wearing an outfit that looks shockingly similar to the costume worn by the main character in Nickelodeon’s TV series The Legend of Korra.
Korra, the main character of the series, was confirmed to be in a relationship with her companion Asami. The two women walked into a spirit portal, hand-in-hand and gazingly fondly at each other at the end of the series.
One of the co-creators of the show wrote in a blog post: “Our intention with the last scene was to make it as clear as possible that yes, Korra and Asami have romantic feelings for each other.”
Disney has been tiptoeing around LGBT+ inclusion for a while now
Fans have been eagerly awaiting more LGBT+ characters and stories in Disney, and the filmmaker has been teasing about this coming to fruition. The Beauty and the Beast live-action featured an “exclusively gay moment” as the character LeFou, Gaston’s manservant, explores his feelings about the major character.
Disney even toed the line on LGBT+ representation by announcing that Valkyrie would be the first official LGBTQ superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but there has still been no explicit exploration of the character’s sexuality in any of the movies she has appeared in.
Marvel has since been hyping up more LGBT+ representation in their upcoming film The Eternals, which features the MCU’s first out gay hero.
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