SPOILERS are ahead for Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon, so proceed at your own risk.
Move over, Frozen, there’s a new pair of Disney princesses in town, and the internet is absolutely obsessed with them. This past weekend, the studio released its latest animated project, Raya and the Last Dragon, a fantasy action epic starring Kelly Marie Tran as the first Southeast Asian princess in the House of Mouse’s pack. She's a badass, and a whole lot of fans believe she had some major sexual tension with Gemma Chan’s Namaari.
Oh, and Star Wars’ Kelly Marie Tran thinks so too. When speaking about Raya and the Last Dragon, the voice actress said she decided there were “some romantic feelings going on there” between Raya and Namaari in the film. She’s not alone by any stretch. As one Twitter user reacted after seeing the movie on opening day:
As the Raya and the Last Dragon story goes, Raya and Namaari are princesses from different regions of Kumandra who befriend each other as kids briefly while their parents get to business. But Namaari betrays Raya’s trust, and it results in some devastation for our main princess. Years later, Raya and Namaari are long-lost enemies, which is prime backstory for a classic romance trope, as another fan pointed out:
The film has a series of brawls between the women and cheeky quips like, “Hey there, Princess Undercut,” which spoke to the LGBTQ+ community in more ways than one. Disney Princesses have long been characterized by their own journeys to find love, so audiences are pretty much programmed to look for romance in movies like this:
It’s not unlike Elsa’s debut in Frozen, which subtextually spoke to the queer community, especially with the character’s struggle to accept her identity as a power ice queen. “Let It Go” has been embraced as a “coming out” song of sorts, and many audiences were hoping to see Elsa be given a female love interest in the sequel. Raya’s sexuality is never mentioned in her movie, but it does have its own undertones fans believe they are noticing:
Though at the same time, there is a section of the queer community that's tired of Disney catering LGBTQ+ audiences without bluntly recognizing it. A number of animated shows as of late have delivered canonic female relationships, whether that be Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra with Korra and Asamior, or Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power with Adora and Catra. As Rowan Ellis pointed out:
Have you been shipping Raya and Namaari too? Let us know in the poll below, and check out Raya and the Last Dragon in theaters and Disney+’s premier access now.