By Courtney Potter
A Magical Glimpse Into Raya and the Last Dragon
As if we weren’t already ridiculously excited for Walt Disney Animation Studios’ upcoming Raya and the Last Dragon, they went and released a brand-new trailer… and now we basically can’t contain ourselves! If you haven’t seen the clip, do check it out post haste, above.
The animated film features Kelly Marie Tran (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) as the voice of Raya, a lone warrior whose mission is to track down the legendary last dragon in a bid to save the fantasy world of Kumandra and unite its lands. Long ago, humans and dragons lived together in harmony—but when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned. It’s up to Raya to track down the legendary last dragon, Sisu (voice of Awkwafina, Nora from Queens), to restore the fractured land and its divided people. Along the way, she learns it takes more than a dragon to save the world; it takes trust and teamwork.
Raya and the Last Dragon is directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada; co-directed by Paul Briggs and John Ripa; and produced by Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho. It’s scheduled to debut in U.S. theaters on March 12, 2021.
5 Fantastic Things to Watch This Weekend
Dear Diary: We’re so looking forward to poppin’ up some corn, hittin’ the couch, and watchin’ some terrific stuff from around the worlds of Disney this very weekend. What have we in store? Well, there’s a new episode of The Right Stuff on Disney+; some new Card Sharks fun on ABC; the season three finale of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Maximum Venom on Disney XD; and more! Sounds amazing, right? We’re gonna make sure we don’t miss a thing. Love, D23.
Star Wars: Force for Change and FIRST Robotics Announce Sports- and Fitness-Themed FIRST GAME CHANGERS
Super-cool from the Star Wars galaxy: Just this week, Lucasfilm and Disney joined the global PreK–12 nonprofit organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) to announce they are partnering for a second season to inspire the next generation of diverse creators, thinkers, and leaders. The new sports- and fitness-themed season, FIRST GAME CHANGERS, invites participants around the globe to explore what it means to be “forces for change” by revolutionizing the way we play and move so people of all abilities and skill levels can participate… Take a look at the video above to see Star Wars and Disney Legend Mark Hamill—Jedi Master Luke Skywalker himself—share the exciting news, along with Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Disney Legend Ming-Na Wen (The Mandalorian), and Ashley Eckstein (Star Wars: The Clone Wars).
As a FIRST strategic partner, Disney and Lucasfilm are providing additional financial support to expand access to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning to more young people around the world, and to help them envision a brighter, more inclusive future. “We are thrilled to collaborate with FIRST again this year and engage young people in STEM learning,” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy recently said. “Educating our youth and providing access to FIRST programs for students of all backgrounds has never been so important as it is right now. I can’t wait to see the talent and potential this new season brings.”
During the 2019–20 season, with funding from Disney and Lucasfilm, FIRST expanded access to STEM programs to 112,000 students in underserved and underrepresented communities, impacting 10,000 robotics teams through its equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives. This year, the partnership will bring more hands-on learning opportunities and mentorship to youth, empowering them not only to think big, but to develop the skills needed to become the next generation of heroes and innovators. To learn more, and to find out how you can get involved in FIRST GAME CHANGERS powered by Star Wars: Force for Change yourself, visit firstinspires.org/2021season.
Totally Insane-y Animaniacs Coming to Hulu Next Month!
We’ve had this on our calendar for a while, and it’s now only a few weeks away… Those crazy Warner siblings—Yakko (voice of Rob Paulson), Wakko (voice of Jess Harnell), and Dot (voice of Tress MacNeille)—return to our (streaming) airwaves after 22 years when an all-new season of Animaniacs comes to Hulu this November! See the zany trailer for the animated series, above.
After returning to their beloved home, the Warner Bros. water tower, the siblings waste no time in causing chaos and comic confusion as they run loose through the studio, turning the world into their personal playground. Joining Yakko, Wakko, and Dot are fan-fave characters Pinky (also voiced by Rob Paulsen) and the Brain (voice of Maurice LaMarche), returning to continue their quest for… world domination.
Look for all 13 episodes of the series, once again executive produced by Steven Spielberg, to start streaming on Friday, November 20, only on Hulu. “Narf!”
Sneakerella Now In Production for Disney+
Ever wondered what it’d be like to take put a sneaker culture spin on Cinderella fairy tale? Soon you’ll wonder no more, when the new Disney+ pop/hip-hop musical Sneakerella debuts on the streaming service. The film, now in production, will feature talented up-and-comers Chosen Jacobs and Lexi Underwood as well as four-time NBA Champion John Salley. Lace up those tennies and read more about it.
Special New Look at Season Two of The Mandalorian
Speaking of Disney+: During this week’s Monday Night Football on ESPN, viewers were privy to a cool new look at the next season of The Mandalorian. If you haven’t had a chance to see it for yourself… what are you waiting for? Check it out, above.
The new season finds the Mandalorian and the Child continuing their journey, facing enemies and rallying allies, as they make their way through a dangerous galaxy in the tumultuous era after the fall of the Galactic Empire.
The Mandalorian season two stars Pedro Pascal and guest stars Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, and Giancarlo Esposito. Directors for season two include Disney Legend Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, Carl Weathers, Peyton Reed, and Robert Rodriguez. (What a lineup, right?) Showrunner Favreau serves as an executive producer along with Filoni, Kathleen Kennedy, and Colin Wilson, with Karen Gilchrist and Carrie Beck both serving as co-executive producers. Favreau, Filoni, and Famuyiwa are writers for season two.
Look for The Mandalorian premiering on Friday, October 30 (so soon!), streaming exclusively on Disney+.
ICYMI: Jon M. Chu to Direct Willow Series for Disney
In 1988, the world met Willow Ufgood, an aspiring sorcerer who plays a big part in protecting an infant from a very evil queen… If you ever wondered what happened to this truly special, totally memorable hero after the events of the Ron Howard-helmed fantasy film Willow, you’ll be over the moon to learn that—just this week—Lucasfilm announced a whole new Willow series, with a pilot directed by Jon M. Chu.