Raya and the Last Dragon: Get To Know Your New Favorite Dragon Sisu

Rya and the Last Dragon

RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON – Sisu is a magical, mythical, self-deprecating dragon. © 2020 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

We are a little over a month away from the release of the Disney Animated film, Raya and the Last Dragon. This epic adventure takes will take us to the fantasy world of Kumandra, inspired by south-east Asian cultures. Here we find a place where long ago humans and dragons lived together in harmony. That all changed when an evil force threatened the land and the Dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now five centuries later, that same is back. It will be up to Raya, a lone warrior, to find the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and unite its divided people.

In a previous piece, we have already talked about the overwhelming theme of trust in Raya and the Last Dragon. In order to succeed in her mission, she is going to have to learn how to trust people again along the way. The reality is that in a dire situation like this one, there is always strength in numbers. Her journey starts with starts off with finding the last legendary dragon, Sisudatu, or Sisu for short. Raya’s relationship with Sisu could be just what she needs to regain that lost trust and save her land in the process.

Raya and the Last Dragon
Raya seeks the help of the legendary dragon, Sisu. Seeing what’s become of Kumandra, Sisu commits to helping Raya fulfill her mission in reuniting the lands. Featuring Kelly Marie Tran as the voice of Raya and Awkwafina as the voice of Sisu, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Raya and the Last Dragon” will be in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access on March 5, 2021. © 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Sisu, voiced by Awkwafina, is said to be a divine water being of unspeakable beauty and unstoppable magic. But when Raya finds her, she finds a funny, self-deprecating dragon that sees herself as average at best. She will have her own challenges in the film as she has to figure out how to become the dragon of a legend in order to save the world alongside Raya.

As you can see, Raya and Sisu couldn’t be more different. One is a skilled and resilient warrior, untrusting of the world around her. The other is a light-hearted, funny, not so legendary dragon that has love and hope for humanity. Together in Raya and the Last Dragon, they will have to help each other find balance and become the best version of themselves.

ALSO SEE: RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON HOPES TO INSPIRE US ALL TO TRUST AGAIN

Sisu has the potential to be a lasting popular character in the magical world of Disney. With a beautiful design and great voice work from Awkwafina, I feel that she will become many people’s favorite character. So let’s get to know this mythical dragon from Raya and the Last Dragon and why Awkwafina was a perfect choice.

Thanks to a virtual press event by Disney, we got to learn a lot about Sisu and her vital role in the film. But instead of hearing me ramble about her, why not get it from the creative team of the film themselves. Let’s start with the voice of the dragon herself. “I definitely connect with Sisu,” says Awkwafina. “She has optimism, she has hope and she even has belief in herself—but really to her surprise. I love her because she isn’t perfect, and I think that’s a strong message to send to everyone: We don’t have to be perfect.”

Rya and the Last Dragon
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON – Sisu is a magical, mythical, self-deprecating dragon. © 2020 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Producer Osnat Shurer added to that description while also commenting about what Awkwafina brings to Raya and the Last Dragon. “We were looking to create a character that had ancient knowledge, and yet, had this incredible humor. And Awkwafina brings to the table the naivety, the openness and the innocence of the Sisu character.”

“Awkwafina is Sisu dragon,” says Shurer. “What a great casting decision that turned out to be. She’s amazing, she’s hilarious, she’s fun, she improvises, and she’ll hit the emotion with no fear at all. She’s just been a joy to work with.”

Director Don Hall and Screenwriter Adele Lim also commented on how Awkwafina and Sisu are one and the same. Hall even went as far as comparing her performance to Robin Williams and the Genie in Aladdin. The role had almost seemed tailor-made for his amazing talent. “I feel like we did the same thing with Sisu. Sisu was written with Awkwafina in mind, and I can’t imagine somebody else as Sisu. Awkwafina is Sisu. Sisu is Awkwafina.” Said Hall.

Adele added that “Awkwafina in person, too, is like of many cultures. She’s Asian American but her appeal is global. And we’ve seen that in her past projects and we definitely see that in this. So I feel like in that way, Awkwafina and Sisu have a lot of the same qualities.”

One important ability that Sisu gains in the film, is the power of shapeshifting. She is able to transform into a person. This allows her to see the world from humans’ eyes and empathize with them more. A perspective that she would not be able to see as a magical dragon. Director Carlos Lopez Estrada commented about this “texture” of Sisu.

Recovering a piece of her fractured Dragon Gem, Sisu discovers the ability to shape-change into human form. Featuring Kelly Marie Tran as the voice of Raya and Awkwafina as the voice of Sisu, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Raya and the Last Dragon” will be in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access on March 5, 2021. © 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

“She gains the power of shapeshifting, and she’s able to transform into a human. And that allows her to also understand what it feels like to experience the world through our eyes. The distrust and the challenges that we face with each other. And that, I think, brings her just a little bit closer to us and allows her to speak not only from experience and not only from hundreds of years of wisdom, but also just from a different perspective, which is many times something that we lack.” Said Lopez

Without a doubt Raya is going to be part of the list of memorable characters like Moana and Anna and Elsa. But based on what we have learned so far about Sisu, I wouldn’t be surprised to see if she became many people’s favorite! The clips that we were privileged to see left me wanting to see more of her. After such a difficult 2020 where it seemed like we were losing trust and hope by the day thanks to various dilemmas, a character like Sisu is just what we need to help us move forward.

What do you think of Sisu? Let us know in the comment section below!

Raya and the Last Dragon opens in theatres and on Disney+ with premier access on March 5th, 2021.

 

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Manny Gomez

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