Kelly Marie Tran Thinks Her Raya & the Last Dragon Character Is Gay
Kelly Marie Tran Thinks Her 'Raya & the Last Dragon' Character Is Gay
Even the film's star is picking up on Raya's queer vibes!
Disney's highly-anticipated animated film Raya and the Last Dragonofficially premiered today, and besides being a hallmark moment in terms of Southeast Asian representation in mainstream media (the lore of the movie was influenced heavily by many SEA cultures), many people are noticing a little something more between the film's titular heroine Raya (played by Star Wars actress Kelly Marie Tran) and her enemy Namaari (played by Crazy Rich Asians and Captain Marvel star Gemma Chan), and how the two most definitely could maybe be a part of the LGBTQ+ family.
When asked by Vanity Fair, Tran talked about how queer audiences are picking up on the spark between Raya and Namaari, and how queer people might feel represented by them on-screen, even if a relationship between the two isn't explicitly shown.
"I'm obsessed with Namaari and I'm obsessed with Gemma Chan. So I'm really excited you brought this up," Tran told VF. "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. I think it might get me in trouble for saying that, but whatever."
And in a separate interview with Decider, when asked more about Raya and Namaari's dynamic, Tran said that she is definitely rooting for the two to have a romance in the future if a sequel ever gets made and that she was one of the pair's first shippers!
"I also love their relationship!" she said. "I think it’s very clear, too — there are even specific lines in the movie — where they both talk about like, 'Oh, if things were different, we could have been friends, or this could have gone a different way.' I think the writers have done a really good job of making sure that even though Namaari is technically a villain, she’s still a very well-thought-out character. You learn her motivations. You start to recognize that no one’s really a villain. We just come from different places, and have different ways of seeing the world, and different motivations. I think that’s really important because it might have started off as something where you feel like, 'Oh, here’s two women against each other.' But by the end, you’re really seeing how they start to see where the other one’s coming from. That’s a really important distinction for me."
While it's cool that Tran totally picked up on the queer energy that her and Gemma Chan's characters gave off in the movie, considering Disney's less-than-stellar track record when it comes to explicit and meaningful LGBTQ+ representation (a one-eyed, lesbian cop mentioning her girlfriend for a split second is NOT as groundbreaking as you think it is, Disney) we're not getting our hopes too high when it comes to ever seeing a relationship between Raya and Namaari explored on-screen. *sigh* At least we always have fanfiction for that kind of thing!
Raya & the Last Dragon is in theaters now and available to stream on Disney+ for subscribers at an added, extra cost of $29.99.