It’s safe to say that Disney is pretty much killing it right now across the board, even without the box office. With major spinoff-heavy franchises under its umbrella like Marvel and Star Wars, Disney+ is putting out content like crazy, all while the OG brand also continues to expand. For instance, the company has been revamping its classic Disney princesses line, as well as creating new princesses for younger generations to share in the magic with. One such classic princess actress, Mulan’s Ming-Na Wen, noticed and acknowledged her Star Wars and Disney connections with Raya and the Last Dragon star Kelly Marie Tran, and explained how the two have “traded places.”
Years before joining the recent animated hit Raya and the Last Dragon, Kelly Marie Tran made her big (and unfortunately problematic) break in the Star Wars franchise as The Last Jedi's Rose Tico. Similarly, it was years after Ming-Na Wen portrayed Chinese princess Mulan that she landed the role of Fennec Shand in The Mandalorian, as well as other upcoming Star Wars spinoff series. The two actresses appeared together on The Drew Barrymore Show, and Wen explained how their careers have essentially mirrored each other. In her words:
I feel like I'm looking in a mirror like at the younger [me] because I followed Kelly's footsteps and became part of the Star Wars family, and now she's followed my footsteps in being a Disney princess. I just feel like we have this whole mirror thing going on, and I love it and I’m so proud of you.
The shared experience of going from one major Disney franchise to another has clearly bonded the actresses in a pretty specific way, and Ming-Na Wen’s words were full of love for Kelly Marie Tran. While neither woman's career officially began with Star Wars or Disney films or TV shows, Wen and Tran's involvement in their respective projects seemed to have set their careers in hyperdrive.
While Kelly Marie Trans seems to be diving more into voice acting, and is already part of Disney+'s Monsters Inc. TV spinoff Monsters at Work, Ming-Na Wen has appearances in a number of Star Wars spinoff series in the works. But guess what? One of those roles will indeed involve voice-acting, with Wen's Mandalorian character shifting to 2D form for the animated series The Bad Batch. The similarities continue!
With Disney slowly but surely collecting and building its franchise base, it makes sense to see so many actors taking part in more than one major fictional universe. Getting in good with Disney has always been a coveted position in Hollywood, and that placement has only gained potential in recent years. You don’t have to look far to see what I mean: Yes, Kelly Marie Tran and Ming-Na Wen are examples, but they're not the only actors who have appeared in both Star Wars and Disney films, and that world opens up even more once you throw the MCU into it. while Tran has yet to appear in a major Marvel project, Wen herself starred for years as Melinda May in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and we're hoping she returns to that role at some point.
With Disney connections and roles in multiple major franchises, Kelly Marie Tran and Ming-Na Wen have already made great strides with their careers. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Tran step into the Marvel franchise next, or for both actresses to appear together in the same project. It doesn’t seem like Wen would be opposed in the slightest, having nothing but positive remarks about Tran and their shared Disney experiences.