We’re talking about Moana 2 because Disney’s 2016 film Moana was a huge success and a major hit in the studio’s current “Revival Era.” Moana became Disney’s first Polynesian princess and the twelfth addition to their Disney Princess line of characters. Moana 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 is yet another big hit for Disney, and since the studio has recently leaned on sequels to their popular franchises, it only makes sense to question whether or not Disney will return to the world of Moana in the near future.
Let’s take a look at everything we know about Moana 2.
Moana TV Series On The Way
Whether or not we’ll ever get a Moana 2, we do know we’ll be getting more of the titular hero. In January 2022, Disney Animation announced a Moana series would be coming to Disney+, directed by David G. Derrick Jr., who was part of the art department for 2016’s Moana. According to Collider, the series will pick up right where the 2016 movie ended, and it’s expected to start streaming some time in 2024. There’s no word yet on the voice talent expected. You can see the announcement tweet from Disney Animation below.
Likelihood of 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.
Which brings into question what is this project that Miranda is working on at Disney? Maybe Miranda’s father meant that whatever this film is would be in the same vein as Moana, or simply that it would be Lin-Manuel Miranda’s second film as music co-writer? It seems far more likely that Miranda is simply working on another animated film with Disney about a Latina princess, instead of a Moana 2 that focuses on another princess.
Even with Disney’s last two animated films have been sequels – 2018’s Ralph Breaks the Internet and 2019’s Frozen II – Disney has shied away from theatrical sequels to Walt Disney Animation Studios films. Disney didn’t make a sequel until 1990s The Rescuers Down Under, and their only other sequel until those more recent films was Fantasia 2000. That’s not to say a Moana sequel couldn’t be in the works, but history is against it.
Disney does have two unannounced animated films planned for release at the end of 2022 and 2023, and since we have no clue what these films are, they could theoretically be a sequel to Moana.
But in the nearly two years since Page Six made this announcement, there’s been nothing concrete in terms of a Moana sequel, which doesn’t bode well for audiences hoping to return to this world.
The Team Behind Moana
Another major issue about Moana 2 would be who would direct it. 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
While the stars of Moana have been quiet about a sequel, Disney has had many members of the cast working on other Disney projects since, which could mean they’re ready and willing to work with Disney on another Moana film. The voice of Moana, Auli’i Cravalho played Ariel in the 2019 ABC’s music special, The Little Mermaid Live! and she also appeared on an episode of the Disney Junior series, Elena of Avalor.
Meanwhile, Dwayne Johnson, who voiced Maui, will soon appear in Disney’s next film based on their theme park properties, 2021’s Jungle Cruise, of which Johnson is also a producer. In addition to the rumor that Miranda is working on another Disney animated film, Miranda debuted Hamilton on Disney+ this summer, and there have been many rumors of Miranda and “Weird Al” Yankovic revamping the Disney parks’ Hall of Presidents. If Disney wanted to reunite the Moana team for another film, they’re certainly keeping them nearby just in case.
Moana Beyond The Screen
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. However, with cuts hitting Disney left-and-right, it’s unclear if this project is still in the works.
But in August, Disney also announced that they would be pushing back the reopening of Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort to summer 2021. During the close, a Disney World spokeswoman said that the resort would receive a refurbishment that would include Moana-themed rooms.
Even though it seems fairly unlikely that Moana 2 is on the way, at least Disney is providing more opportunities to experience the world of Moana and plenty of new projects involving the stars of their beloved film.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE, ISN’T IT?
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 for 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, but as we are over halfway through the 2022 year, the only series to premiere on Disney+ so far has been Baymax! which premiered on June 29, 2022.
Up next for the super streamer is Zootopia+, which has a November 9, 2022 premiere date. There has been a recent update to the Tiana series as it will now premiere sometime in 2023 instead of 2022. As far as Moana 2 is concerned, there has been no new news on how the series is progressing. Word on the street, though, is that with Tiana moving to 2023, this will push Moana 2 into 2024. So far, David G. Derrick is still involved with the project as the series director. Derrick was first involved in the original Moana as a story artist.
The new series will be produced by Osnat Shurer, who is the Oscar-nominated Moana producer. The pair will be creating the series from inside the new Walt Disney Animation Studios, Vancouver. This could also be the reason Moana 2 has been delayed as the new studio only opened in January 2022.
“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 need is a firm release date on the new Moana series. 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.