Moana 2 had been expected from Disney but it now appears that the sequel plan is for a Moana series on Disney+
Disney’s Moana has been on everyone’s mind since Dwayne Johnson, who played the demigod Maui in the original animated film, recently took to social media to make the announcement that he would be leading the way in a live-action Moana film.
Whether fans will flock to another live-action Disney film based on one of their immensely popular animated films is a story for another day, but it does bring up the question – what is happening with the animated sequel, Moana 2?
Moana became Disney’s first Polynesian princess and the twelfth addition to their Disney Princess line of characters, which got an added boost when Dwayne Johnson lent his vocal chops to Maui.
The film made over $248 million domestically and $643 worldwide, making more money than other popular 2010’s Disney animated films like Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph.
Moana was another huge hit for Disney, and since the studio has been leaning on sequels to their popular franchises, it only made sense that Disney would once again delve into the world of Moana in the near future. Let’s take a look at everything we know about a possible Moana 2.
MOANA 2 WILL NOW BE A STREAMING SERIES COMING IN 2024
For years there has been talk of Moana 2, especially with as successful as it was. While fans of the animated film would love nothing more than to see another helping of Moana on the big screen, it looks like it will be the small screen as to where they have to focus their attention.
Over a year ago, it was announced by Disney Animation that the further adventures of Moana were coming to the Disney+ streaming service. When Disney made the announcement, they also revealed that David G. Derrick Jr. would be directing. Derrick Jr. was part of Disney’s art department for the original Moana.
The series is expected to pick up right where the 2016 movie ended. It is also expected to hit Disney+ sometime in 2024, though there is no specific word on that as of yet. Disney has also not announced who will join the voice cast, so it is unknown if Johnson will return as Maui or if Auliʻi Cravalho will be back as Moana.
MOANA LIVE-ACTION IS IN THE WORKS
The big news dropped not long ago when Dwayne Johnson and Walt Disney Studios posted on YouTube an announcement that probably was not a shock to many, given the live-action “reimagining’s” Disney has been cranking out.
Moana is now going to be joining the list of live-action Disney films. Johnson, accompanied by his young daughters on the beaches of O’ahu, was thrilled to make the announcement, which you can see below.
While Johnson is unable to parse out any more information than he did during his announcement, it is clear he has a lot of emotional attachment to the story and that he plans on being part of it as Maui. It is unknown if Auliʻi Cravalho would even be considered to play Moana as her age (she is presently 23 years old) would keep her from the role.
The release date for the Moana live-action movie has been set for June 27, 2025.
LIN MANUEL MIRANDA’S FATHER HAD SAID THERE WOULD BE A MOANA 2
The primary rumor surrounding Moana 2 comes from a Page Six article in 2019, which states that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s father, Luis, said of his son, “He is talking to Disney about a sequel to Moana, but the movie would be about a Latina princess.”
Miranda was the music co-writer for Moana and one would imagine that Disney would want Miranda’s name on any future Moana projects.
Yet the eldest Miranda’s statement raises a few questions. The first is why would a sequel to Moana focus on a different Disney Princess. The Frozen films have shown that Disney can make an animated film that centers around two princesses, but to introduce another princess in a sequel that wouldn’t theoretically focus on Moana seems like a bit of a stretch.
What we eventually found out was that yes, the elder Miranda was correct that a Latina princess would be forthcoming, but it wouldn’t be for a possible Moana 2, but instead, it would be for the Disney animated film, Encanto, the story about young Mirabel Madrigal and her Columbian family, all of whom have “special gifts,” except for Mirabel.
Lin-Manuel was part of the production team, first as part of the team that put the story together, and secondly, as the film’s composer. He wrote eight original songs for the film. The soundtrack was so successful that it became the first Disney film to have both the number-one song (“We Don’t Talk About Bruno”) and the first number-one album.
MOANA CO-DIRECTOR JOHN MUSKER HAS LEFT DISNEY
Another major issue about Moana 2, besides the upcoming Disney+ series, is the question of who would direct the sequel. While Moana co-director Ron Clements is still with Disney, Clements’ co-director John Musker left Disney in 2018 after working with the studio for over forty years.
Musker was a legend at Disney, co-directing with Clements such classics as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Treasure Planet and The Princess and the Frog. Musker is reportedly working on making his own short film by hand.
This isn’t to say that Clements couldn’t direct Moana 2 solo or that Disney couldn’t pick some other team to make it, but it would be hard to recreate the magic of Moana without the team of Clements and Musker.
THE MOANA 2 CAST COULD INCLUDE DWAYNE JOHNSON AND AULI’I CRAVALHO WHO HAVE CONTINUED WORKING WITH DISNEY
We already know just how much Moana means to Dwayne Johnson, but is it enough for him to not only star in the live-action reimagining, possibly lend his voice to the Disney+ series, and also be part of a Moana sequel? The man is spear thin as it is, but you could never count him out from something like that.
It would be much easier to see (or hear) Auli’i Cravalho return in an animated sequel. Ever since she took on the vocal role of Moana, Cravalho has remained a big part of the Disney family. She played Ariel in the 2019 ABC music special, The Little Mermaid Live! and she also appeared on an episode of the Disney Junior series, Elena of Avalor.
THE POSSIBLE MOANA 2 HAS BEEN DELAYED FOR ALMOST TWO YEARS
It has been nearly two years since Disney announced that they were working on a new animated series that will take place as a feature film sequel to their 2016 hit film, Moana. While a Moana 2 has been talked about virtually since the film premiered, Disney has been slow on the uptake.
On December 10, 2020, Disney took to its Twitter account to announce a number of new TV series that would be coming to Disney+. The announcement included the series Baymax!, Zootopia+, Tiana, and yes Moana. According to Disney at the time, Baymax!, Zootopia+, and Tiana were all receiving 2022 release dates, which Baymax! and Zootopia+ received. Tiana is still scheduled to hit the steaming network, but not until sometime in 2024.
No one knows (or is saying) what the pushing of Tiana into 2024 will do for the release of the Moana animated series. What we do know is that Derrick still appears to be involved and series producer Osnat Shurer is excited to see where the new Moana series will go.
“Getting to explore the story of Moana further is really exciting for us, particularly in this extremely cinematic, musical, long-form event series, and we can’t wait to meet all the amazing artists who are joining Disney Animation Vancouver to help us bring Moana’s next gorgeous journey to life,” exclaimed Shurer via Whatsondisneyplus.com.
Now all we are looking for is a firm date as to when Moana will hit Disney+. It will also be nice to get an idea of the vocal talent involved in the new project. Will Auli’i Cravalho be back to lend her vocal talent as Moana? What about Dwayne Johnson? The actor has been and continues to be so busy, does he even have time to reprise his role as Maui? Hopefully, we will have more news to report soon.
MOANA IS AN ATTRACTION AT EPCOT
Even if it doesn’t look likely that Disney is working on a Moana 2, the studio does have major plans for Moana going forward.
Last year, Disney announced a new Moana attraction at Epcot in Orlando, Florida. The attraction called “Journey of Water” is part of a remodel for Epcot that will let guests interact with “living water” that includes water fountains and plenty of vegetation. The new attraction is expected to open later this year.