Disney Offers Promising ‘Moana’ Spinoff Update Ahead of Live-Action Remake

in Disney, Entertainment

'Moana' series on Disney+

Credit: Walt Disney Animation

It seems like Walt Disney Studios can safely say “you’re welcome” to fans of their instant animated classic, Moana (2016), after greenlighting both a live-action remake starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and an upcoming Disney+ spinoff series, which recently received a hopeful update amid the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

dwayne johnson as maui in moana singing you're welcome by lin-manuel miranda
Credit: Disney

Related: Fans Can’t Believe New ‘Moana’ Look With Zendaya and Dwayne Johnson

In April, Disney broke the internet after revealing that just seven years after its release, Moana would receive the live-action treatment in a brand new retelling helmed by Maui actor Dwayne Johnson. Auli’i Cravalho, who played the eponymous Wayfinder in the animated flick, sadly will not return for the upcoming remake but will be taking up executive producing duties.

But long before the live-action retelling was announced, Disney confirmed they were developing an animated spinoff series for its streamer all the way back in 2020. Oddly enough, Disney has seemingly guarded any information about the show since, with story details or any production updates being kept under wraps—until very recently.

Moana holds an oar.
Credit: Disney

Related: ‘Moana’ Star Confirms She Will Not Reprise Role for Live-Action Remake

Earlier this week, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ chief creative officer, Jennifer Lee, offered a positive update on the progress of the Moana spinoff. During an interview with eCartelera, she hyped up the upcoming Disney+ project, saying, “It’s been a lot of fun, I love it:”

I love that Disney+ allows us to introduce experimentation and freshness while also exploring our legacy. Combining celebration and narrative innovation. In that sense we can play more with the Disney+ series. We’re doing the ‘Moana’ series and it’s been a lot of fun, I love it….

Moana and Maui
Credit: Disney

It’s a relief to hear Lee speaking so highly of the Moana show, considering it’s been virtually radio silent on Disney Animation’s behalf since 2020. As some may remember, the Disney+ series was initially set to premiere in 2023 but was likely pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While specifics remain unknown, the show is expected to serve as a sequel to the original film, as well as a musical series. As for its director, Disney confirmed earlier that they had tapped David G. Derrick Jr. to lead the new series, which currently has a 2024 release window. It’s safe to assume that Johnson and Cravalho will reprise their characters for the animated series, along with other supporting cast members.

Moana (Auliʻi Cravalho) and Maui (Dwayne Johnson) holding an oar
Credit: Disney

Obviously, many of Disney’s plans have been reshuffled thanks to the pandemic, the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, and other unforeseen circumstances, putting other scheduled Zootopia and Frozen projects into a state of limbo.

But now, with Lee’s confident statements about the progress of the Disney+ Moana series, it looks like we can finally start to get excited about its imminent release—as long as there are no other roadblocks along the way.

Are you excited for the Moana spinoff show? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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