Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) holds an oar in a still for Disney's 'Moana 2'
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

We’re About To See an Older and Wiser Moana in Disney’s Highly-Anticipated Sequel

Moana is a grown woman now. Well, almost.

Walt Disney Animation’s Moana 2 is arriving just in time for this year’s Thanksgiving box office, bringing fans back to the fantastical island world first introduced back in 2016. And this time around, it looks like fans can expect to see a much different—and hopefully, more mature—version of the titular heroine.

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How far will Moana go? Well, pretty damn far, apparently, because Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) is set to sail the high seas this November in Moana 2, where she’ll once again be joined by cocky demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) and her trusty chicken sidekick, Heihei (Alan Tudyk)

Disney dropped the first trailer for the sequel earlier this week, teasing Moana’s next adventure as she’s called by her ancestors to “sail to new skies and reconnect [her] people across the entire ocean.”

Dave Derrick Jr. will direct the upcoming musical, taking the reins from Disney legends John Musker and Ron Clements. Lin-Manuel Miranda, despite having penned the oh-so-catchy “You’re Welcome” and “How Far I’ll Go,” is also stepping aside, as Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa’i are set to compose—with a little help from songwriting duo Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear.

Needless to say, expectations are high for Moana 2. With a prime slot at the holiday box office and the general air of positivity surrounding its 2016 predecessor, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger sure seems to betting on its success to pull Disney Animation out of a years-long slump, and wisely so. So far, the trailer has amassed nearly 8 million views on YouTube, shattering the record for Disney’s most-watched animated trailer following its premiere on Wednesday.

However, the sequel seems like it will diverge from the first Moana entry in some ways, particularly, when it comes to the title character herself.

How old is Moana in ‘Moana’ and ‘Moana 2’?

Believe it or not, Moana was just 16 years old when she set out on her first journey in 2016’s Moana, similar to her voice actress, who was also 16 at the time of the film’s release. And despite being just a teenager, it looks like Moana will have to make another very adult decision to set sail in the upcoming Moana 2, which takes place three years after the events of the original. If you do the math, this puts Moana at roughly 19 or 20 years old.

Although plot specifics are being kept tightly under wraps, it seems like this slightly older version of Moana is just as curious, defiant, and headstrong as her 16-year-old self. With powerful leadership abilities and a few more years under her belt, Moana might be just the kind of chief Motunui needs, helping to put the island and its people back in touch with their wayfinding roots, all while encouraging contact with nearby civilizations. A little maturity and wisdom will also help to make Moana more confident, as we saw her struggling to come to terms with her new position at the beginning of 2016’s Moana. Hopefully, things will have improved when we meet her next.

For now, however, all we can do is speculate, as Moana 2 doesn’t arrive in theaters until November 27, 2024.


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Amanda Landwehr
Amanda is a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer who lives and breathes Star Wars, Marvel, and all things pop culture. She has worked in digital media since 2021, covering the latest movie/TV releases, casting updates, fan theories, and so, so much more. When she's not rotting away behind her laptop screen, you can typically catch Amanda maxing out her AMC Stubs membership.