Easter eggs and references to other films are often a fun way to engage fans. Pixar has a whole list of standard easter eggs that eagle-eyed fans like to look for, and their cousins over at Disney frequently include their own references to the animators, directors, other Disney films, and more as little treats. Disney's newest release Raya and the Last Dragon is no exception. The newest princess in the history of Disney includes a reference to the last one to hit the big screen: Moana. Or at least it includes a reference to her sidekick chicken.
Those looking for easter eggs probably saw this, but those involved in the story either in theaters or on DIsney+ likely did not. When Raya and her crew make their way to the nation of Talon, a shot of the people there includes a shot of Hei Hei the chicken with a half coconut on his head-- a reference not only to Moana but to a specific scene early in the movie.
Seeing this reference from one Disney princess to another makes some sense. Assuming of course, the idea of the Disney Princess continue to be an institution. The concept of the Disney Princess as a brand seems to be largely being left behind by Disney these days. In Moana the character herself argues against her own status as a Princess. And aside from Frozen, we haven't seen an official coronation of a new Disney Princess since Merida from Brave in 2013. Despite Moana's success and popularity she hasn't joined the exclusive club. Time will tell if Raya will do so or not.
While this likely wasn't the only easter egg dropped into Raya and the Last Dragon, though I'll admit I didn't see very many. It's possible there actually weren't a great deal of them. Because this was Disney's first animated film dealing with Southeast Asian culture, perhaps other Disney easter eggs from the western dominated stories would have looked out of place. The trick is to make an easter egg noticeable if you're looking for it, but usually to make it blend into the background so it doesn't distract from the story being told.
And who knows, perhaps we'll get some Raya and the Last Dragon easter eggs in Moana as well. We know Disney is working on a new animated series for Disney+ based on the character, so there will be plenty of opportunity for Disney animators to drop easter eggs and references into the new series. What the future holds for Raya we'll likely depend on the success of this movie. There certainly feels like more adventures could be had here, if the audience will be there to watch them.