RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON is now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD with never-before-seen bonus footage and deleted scenes, plus Disney’s new animated short, Us Again.
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To celebrate the home release of RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, we’re sharing RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON fun facts that we learned in our interviews with Director Carlos López Estrada, Producer Osnat Shurer, & Head of Story Fawn Veerasunthorn, and Director Don Hall, Writer Adele Lim, & Writer Qui Nguyen.
Fun Facts About RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON
1. The fighting styles in RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON are inspired by six Southeast Asian martial arts forms.
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON featured fighting styles inspired by six different martial arts forms from multiple Southeast Asian countries—Pencak Silat, Muay Thai kickboxing, traditional Vietnamese wrestling, Arnis & Kali martial arts, and Krabi Krabong. Writer Qui Nguyen is a lifelong martial artist and wanted to ensure that not only were the martial arts styles depicted representative of the regional cultures included in the film, but also real forms that kids could study if they liked them.
Pencak Silat from Indonesia and Malaysia inspired Raya’s fighting style. Her weapons were modeled from Kali and Arnis martial arts found in the Philippines. Raya’s sword was inspired by the keris, a blade esteemed in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.
Krabi Krabong configurations and Muay Thai kickboxing from Thailand inspired Mamaari’s fighting style.
Nguyen recommended his longtime friend, collaborator, and female fighter Maggie MacDonald to choreograph the fight scenes because of her expertise in choreographing combat for film, television, video games, and stage.
2. RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON was created while people worked from home during the pandemic
Nearly all shot production for the film was done in the homes of artists and crew members. Director Carlos López Estrada told us they had over 400 people working from home on the film at one point. They were of course worried about how it would affect the film and their work culture but at the end of the day, “it brought us together and brought us together in a way that was powerful. And that was really profound, and that it forced us to have to trust each other to have to believe that we were all working for the same goal, even if we were in over 400 different locations.”
In total, more than 900 Walt Disney Animation Studios employees worked remotely contributing to RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON and other upcoming projects.
3. RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON is full of Easter Eggs
“At one point, it was questionable whether Hei Hei was going to be in the movie because it wasn’t really adding a lot, and the construct of the character just wasn’t working, “Hall said. “There was sort of a last-ditch effort by the story crew to save Hei Hei. Their big pitch was making him dumb, and to the point where there was a storyboard with Hei Hei, spaced on it. Like. here’s his intelligence now. This is what pitching, it’s like it’s just down here.”
“Yes, we’re gonna do that everybody loved it. And then suddenly, Hei Hei was a favorite character because we made him super dope. So I’m glad to hear he made it in this movie.”
Make sure you watch the Bonus Feature: Fun Facts & Easter Eggs.
4. The crowds of Kumandra are vast
While the 5 lands of Kumandra are each distinct and comprised of their own unique cultures and creatures, collectively, the animation elements that create them are vast.
In order to bring this fantasy world to life, the Crowds Animation departments animated more than 72,000 elements.
- Nearly 70% of all film sequences include elements from the Crowds animation department.
- They animated 18,987 human elements and 35,749 non-human elements.
- The scene with the most elements is an underwater scene with 23,836 animated fish.
5. Tuk Tuk’s Inspiration was a tuk-tuk
You know that adorable roly-poly best friend of Raya’s? Tuk Tuk? Well, he’s inspired by and named after a tuk-tuk, a term used for a type of 3-wheeled motorized vehicle popular in Southeast Asia (as well as parts of Africa and South America). The word “tuk-tuk” is specifically used in Bangkok.
To figure out the mechanics of the character’s unique, high-speed movement, animator Brendan Gottlieb and his father built a physical model of Tuk Tuk by hand in his father’s home workshop.
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