Much will, and deservedly should, be made from the setting of the gorgeously wrought Disney film Raya and therefore the Last Dragon: A phantasy world drawn from a spread of Southeast Asian cultures.
For a corporation that’s been setting numerous stories within the same Generically European Fairy Tale Kingdom since 1937 (most recently in 2010’s Tangled) it’s another during a series of long-overdue steps toward making the planet depicted onscreen look more just like the world off of it. That’s a noble goal, and an unalloyed Good Thing — but in fact it also happens to be good for Disney’s bottom line.
Kids yearn to ascertain themselves onscreen; more representation of various cultures means more kids can more directly avail themselves of the Disnefied thrills that white kids have taken without any consideration for many years . Nationally and globally, meaning more enthusiastic butts in (real or virtual) seats.
What’s more, the precise setting of Raya — a land divided into Iroquois League — potentially allows for a degree of specificity, with reference to discrete Southeast Asian cultural touchstones. And specificity, of course, is what seals the deal.