While we are making slow yet steady progress in Hollywood when it comes to Latinx representation, in the world of animation there is still some progress to be made. The beloved Coco, Elena of Avalor, the first Latina Disney princess, and the film Vivo starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also did the music on Netflix are all major successes but we’d love to see more Latinx stories in animation. The Netflix animated series Maya and the Three has been in the works for a while now and ahead of the fall release the streaming platform shared the all-star cast including Zoe Saldaña, RIta Moreno, and Diego Luna. The list is a rundown of some of Hollywood’s most famous Latinx stars so we’re excited to see this level of representation for such an important project.
“From the visionary director of ‘The Book of Life’ (@mexopolis) comes a mythical world of empires, gods, legends, and a warrior named Maya. Get ready for the animated event of the year @mayaandthe3,” Saldaña shared on Instagram.
The animated series comes from Mexican animator Jorge R. Gutiérrez who also co-wrote and directed the Golden Globe-nominated film The Book of Life. Silvia Olivas (Elena of Avalor), Doug Langdale, and Candie Kelty Langdale co-wrote the series with Gutiérrez, which also features music by Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla and Tim Davies.
Maya and the Three tells the story of a rebellious warrior princess named Maya (Saldaña) who is about to celebrate her fifteenth birthday and her coronation when everything abruptly changes as the gods of the underworld make a shocking revelation. Maya’s life is forfeit to the god of war — a price she must pay for her family’s secret past. But if she refuses, the whole world will suffer including her family and friends. So she embarks on a quest to fulfill an ancient prophecy that foretells the coming of three great warriors who will help her defeat the gods and save humankind, according to Netflix.
The nine-episode series is like a history of indigenous Latin America, bringing together Inca, Maya, and Aztec mythology and modern-day Caribbean culture. Gutiérrez shared a video of Princess Maya sharing that the colors used on her face are of the Mexican flag, writing “Princess Maya of the Tecas is Mexico.” He also shared that he conceptualized the character of Maya with Saldaña in mind: “And of course I wrote and we designed Princess Warrior Maya with my beloved @zoesaldana ‘s voice in my head. And what a performance Zoe gave, just you wait! In my head Maria from Book of Life is a descendant of Maya…”. Saldaña voiced María Posada in the 2014 film centered on Dia de los Muertos.
the major colors here are red, white and green. The colors of the Mexican flag. Princess Maya of the Tecas is Mexico. pic.twitter.com/iGAmVuzmtq
— Jorge R. Gutierrez (@mexopolis) August 25, 2021
“Our young heroine is lovingly inspired by the real Mexican warrior women in my life: my mother, sister and my eternal muse, my wife. I cannot wait for audiences of all ages from around the world to join ‘Maya and the Three’ on their funny, heartfelt and epic quest to vanquish the underworld gods to save their magical world. For anyone who loved ‘El Tigre’ and ‘The Book of Life,’ you are in for a spicy treat!” he previously said in a statement.
The series debuts this fall on Netflix with 30-minute episodes and we’ll be tuning in.