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Will There be a ‘Moana 2’ Movie?

Better yet, could we get a dozen sequels?

moana

Of all the Disney movies that have come out in recent years, Moana is generally agreed to be one of the best. But was it successful enough to warrant a sequel? Will we get a Moana 2? Here’s everything we know!

Moana: How Far She Went

Moana, which came out in 2016, tells the story of the restless daughter of a Polynesian chief. While her father and everyone else in her village is content to stay on their island home, Moana dreams of exploring the ocean around them. When a mysterious blight starts to threaten the fish and crops that the village depends on, Moana’s grandmother reveals that their ancestors were accomplished explorers, and tells Moana that she must find the trickster god Maui and make him return the heart of the fertility goddess Te Fiti, which he stole generations ago.

When Moana came out, it was a phenomenon, earning $646 million at the box office and becoming an instant classic. With original songs by Lin Manuel Miranda and a stunning breakthrough performance by Auli’i Cravalho as Moana, the movie was important not just because it was a gorgeously written and animated story, but because it had Polynesian actors and writers at the helm.

Not only that, but the end of the movie left it ripe for possible sequels. (This paragraph contains spoilers, so skip to the next section if you haven’t seen Moana yet. And go watch Moana!! What are you doing!?) At the beginning of the movie, Moana yearns to voyage, but she doesn’t know how to sail or navigate. After she and Maui restore Te Fiti’s heart, Moana returns home an accomplished sailor and wayfinder. Not only that, but conditions are now much more favorable to voyaging: the monsters that sprung up in Te Fiti’s absence are presumably not a threat anymore, the blight is gone, and the people of Motunui have come around to the idea of venturing beyond the reef surrounding their island. In the final shot of the movie, Moana is captaining the largest ship in Motunui’s fleet, while Maui drops in on her in hawk-form. Where are they going? What will they find there? The potential for sequels is limitless!

Moana 2 Rumors

So is there a Moana 2 in the making?

Early last year, a rumor briefly circulated that Moana 2 was in the works. In an interview with PageSix, Lin Manuel Miranda’s father Luis (yes, you read that right) revealed a bit of what he understood his son to be working on:

 “[Miranda] is talking to Disney about a sequel to ‘Moana,’ but the movie would be about a Latina princess.”

That’s an amazing quote, and the world would objectively be a better place if media outlets routinely interviewed celebrities’ parents to find out what those celebs were up to. Clearly, Luis Miranda was referring to Encanto, which came out a few months after the interview. Encanto’s Mirabel isn’t a princess, but there’s no other movie it could be. And, as you might have noticed, Encanto isn’t a sequel to Moana.

However, Moana fans can still rejoice, because it’s confirmed that we’ll be getting more of Moana’s adventures!

A Moana Series on Disney Plus

At a 2020 Disney investor’s meeting, it was announced that a Moana animated series would premiere on Disney Plus in 2023. The release date has since been pushed back to 2024 because of Covid. The series will pick up right where the movie left off, with Moana and her people exploring the ocean.

In January 2022, Disney Animation Studios announced that Samoan director David G. Derrick Jr., who worked on the Moana movie, will return to the franchise to direct the animated series.

Speaking with Collider, Derrick said that “Working on Moana was a gift personally and professionally. The film Moana caught and shared the spirit of Polynesia with the world. I am honored to continue her story to celebrate the rich and beautiful cultures of the pacific islands.”

Although there’s no casting confirmation yet, Auli’i Cravalho is expected to return to the role of Moana.

While an animated series means that a film sequel is unlikely, it also means that fans will get even more Moana content to enjoy. Plus, the return of Derrick and possibly Cravalho means that Disney is investing in a high quality show that will do justice to the original.

(image: Disney)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) lives in Los Angeles, where she consumes massive amounts of Marvel movies, folk horror, and other geekery. Her writing has appeared in Joyland, Make/Shift, and other outlets.