Canadian actress to lead Disney's new animated spectacular

(L-R) Cassie Steele and Awkwafina of 'Raya and the Last Dragon' took part today in the Walt Disney Studios presentation at Disne's D23 Expo 2019 in Anaheim, Calif. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

Canadian actress Cassie Steele is set to be Disney’s latest animated star with the upcoming release of Raya and the Last Dragon.

The film is based in Southeast Asia in the land of Kumandra, part of five clans that make up the Land of the Dragons. But the creatures are long gone and it has been invaded by a dark and sinister force.

Set to be released next year, the film is describe as “an epic fantasy adventure.” The story is particularly personal for writer and producer Adele Lim, also known for the film Crazy Rich Asians. She grew up in Malaysia and always loved Disney’s “magical” and “transporting” presence. She also lived for Hong Kong action movies growing up and this films is a combination of the two genres.

“[It’s] a chance to bring our childhood fantasies to life,” Lim told the crowd at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California on Saturday.

Steele is known in Canada for her role as Manny Santos on Degrassi: The Next Generation. The 29-year-old is from Toronto and went on to play Abby Vargas on The L.A. Complex, with a new reboot on the show in the works.

Steele is joined in the film by Awkwafina who plays Sisu in the film. When Raya (Steele) meets Sisu, she is in her human form and needs to reclaim her power to become her true dragon self.