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The Ending Of Raya And The Last Dragon Explained

While Hollywood has gotten used to seeing dragons in fantasy projects, they don't usually look or sound quite like what we see in Raya and the Last Dragon, a colorful fantasy that uses the culture and iconography of Southeast Asia to bring an epic story to life. Raya is set in the world of Kumandra, where mankind and dragons lived together long ago, but when the monstrous spirits of the Druun threatened them, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save the world. 

When the Druun return hundreds of years later, fierce tribal warrior Raya sets out on a quest for the last living dragon, rumored to have the power to destroy them. But the goofy and good-natured dragon Sisu (Crazy Rich Asians actress Awkwafina) is drastically different from what she expected. Ultimately the skeptical, pessimistic Raya has to learn how to trust in others, with the help of the boundlessly optimistic dragon, in order to stop the Druun once and for all. Here's how trust, as well as forgiveness, played into the movie's action-packed ending.

Raya and the Last Dragon is all about connection, trust, and betrayal

For the creative team on Raya and the Last Dragon, themes of reconciliation and trust were always a huge part of the story from the beginning. Per Polygon, the screenwriters had intended to subvert the classic narrative of Raya and Sisu saving the day by themselves. In a satisfying twist that's rare for a Disney movie, the characters, friends and enemies alike, must work together collectively to stop the Druun. This path towards forgiveness is started by the genuine, trusting Sisu, who throughout the movie is open and honest with others. In contrast Raya, still impacted by Fang Tribe warrior Naamari's betrayal — which unwittingly unleashed the Druun — is careful not to let her guard down with anyone.

Raya is persuaded by Sisu to meet with Naamari and ask her for the last orb piece rather than stealing it from her. But Naamari, swayed by her paranoid mother, threatens them, and in the process of talking her down, Sisu is shot by arrows and falls into the river. As the last dragon's magic is seemingly gone and the orb still in pieces, the Druun invade the Fang tribe.

The end of Raya and the Last Dragon shows a future not set in stone

As the Druun invade near the end of Raya and the Last Dragon, Raya enters the Fang territory as well and confronts Naamari. The Heart warrior prepares to kill her but, seeing her genuine remorse and grief, backs down. Raya, changed by her time spent with Sisu, decides to forgive and understand her enemy. Raya and Naamari soon join Raya's friends to save the Fang people from the impending threat. Surrounded by the Druun, Raya asks her people to help put the orb's pieces back together. Trust and forgiveness play crucial roles in the narrative once more when the group refuses to work with Naamari. Showing good faith, Raya gives Naamari her own orb piece before the Druun consume her. The rest are inspired and follow suit before Naamari at last reassembles the orb and contains the evil spirits.

With the Druun destroyed, the dragons — along with everyone petrified — are at last brought back to life, including Sisu, who thanks Raya for learning to trust in others again. After 500 years, the tribes and dragons of Kumandra have at last come together in celebration of unity. While the filmmakers had debated whether the final scenes would show Sisu and other dragons returning, they had always intended for the human characters to work together in the finale. "The solution is among us. We have to learn to trust one another and get together," said producer Osnat Shurer (via Polygon).