Moana 2 – Everything We Know (So Far)

in Disney, Movies

Moana holding an oar, standing in a ready position on a ship

Credit: Disney

Moana 2 (2024) is set to release later this year. Let’s take a look at everything we know about the highly-anticipated sequel.

official 'Moana 2' logo on a black background
Credit: Disney

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Moana (2016) has become one of Disney’s most popular films of all time, becoming the most-streamed film on any platform in 2023. Now, Disney is ready to capitalize on that popularity by releasing Moana 2 on November 27, 2024.

That being said, there is still plenty that fans of the original film don’t know about the eagerly-anticipated sequel. So to help them out, we have gathered everything we know about the film so far. Enjoy!

What Happened To the Animated Series?

Moana near a capsized boat at night with Heihei on top.
Credit: Disney

When Moana 2 was announced in February 2024, Disney fans were shocked. While there were rumblings of a live-action remake in the works, a direct sequel caught everyone by surprise. That’s because it was actually supposed to be an animated series produced for Disney+.

In December 2020, during a Disney Investor Day meeting, Walt Disney Animation Studio chief creative officer Jennifer Lee announced that a Disney+ series based on Moana was in the works. By 2021, it was revealed that Osnat Shurer would return to produce. In January 2022, David G. Derrick Jr. was announced as the director, the first Samoan filmmaker at Walt Disney Studios.

However, plans changed during the development process. While Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that they turned the series into a film because they were impressed with the quality, there’s no doubt that part of the decision was made due to the Writers and Actors strike from earlier in the year that pushed the release dates of countless projects.

Now, the entire project has found new life as an official Moana sequel, and will be one of the few releases from the Walt Disney Company’s most iconic brands alongside Pixar’s Inside Out 2 (2024) and Marvel Studios’ Deadpool & Wolverine (2024).

What’s the Plot of Moana 2?

Moana, Maui, and other travelers sailing over a whale
Credit: Disney

Moana 2 takes place shortly after the original film. The official synopsis for the film reads:

After receiving an unexpected call from her wayfinding ancestors, Moana journeys to the far seas of Oceania and into dangerous, long-lost waters for an adventure unlike anything she has ever faced.

It has also been confirmed that the sequel will “take audiences on an expansive new voyage with Moana, Maui, and a brand-new crew of unlikely seafarers.” Nothing has been announced about these new characters.

Which Cast Members Are Returning in Moana 2?

Moana and Maui
Credit: Disney

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While very little is known about the film and who the new characters will be, one thing is certain: both leads will be returning in the animated sequel. This means that both of their respective actors will be returning as well.

Moana will be played by Auli’i Cravalho. Besides Moana, Cravalho is known for her performances as Lilete Suarez in Rise, Ariel in The Little Mermaid LIVE! (2019), Amber Appleton in All Together Now (2020), Hailey Banks in Hailey’s On It!, and Janis in Mean Girls (2024).

Moana and Maui:Auli'i Cravalho on an airplane, Dwayne Johnson smiling
Credit: Anthony Quintano via Wikimedia Commons, Dwayne Johnson via Wikimedia Commons

Dwayne Johnson will be reprising his role as the demigod Maui. First breaking through as The Rock in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Johnson has since become one of the most bankable movie stars in Hollywood history, starring in the likes of the Fast & Furious franchise, the Jumanji franchise, Black Adam (2022), Jungle Cruise (2021), and San Andreas (2015).

Johnson has been involved with the project since the beginning, saying, “I can’t wait for fans to see the film, the technology, the effects, cutting edge. We all really went for it. We thought if we’re gonna make a sequel to something so beloved, let’s really go for it.”

There have been no other rumblings about who else will return for Moana 2, although it is assumed that Alan Tudyk will reprise his iconic performance as Heihei the Chicken. There’s no word on whether Jemaine Clement or Temuera Morrison will return.

Who is Working Behind the Scenes on Moana 2?

Moana high-fiving the ocean on an island
Credit: Disney

Moana 2 is being produced by Osnat Shurer, who produced the first film as well as Raya and the Last Dragon (2021). The film was written by and marks the directorial debut of David G. Derrick Jr.

The score is composed by Opetaia Foa’i, who worked on the first film, and Mark Mancina, a Disney regular who has won two Grammy Awards and worked on Lion King (1994), Tarzan (2000), Brother Bear (2003), and Moana.

Lin-Manuel Miranda at Comic Con, Barlow and Bear on the cover of the Unofficial Bridgerton Musical
Credit: Edited by Inside The Magic

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The biggest surprise comes with Lin-Manuel Miranda. The Tony Award-winning creator of In the Heights and Hamilton wrote the songs for the original film. Unfortunately, the Oscar-nominated songwriter won’t be returning for the sequel.

Instead, Disney has tapped two fan-favorite musical theater composers, Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, to take on songwriting responsibilities. The duo is most well-known for their Grammy-winning creation The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical (2021).

What About the Live-Action Film?

Dwayne Johnson shocked in Jumanji
Credit: Columbia Pictures

While fans are definitely excited about Moana 2, there is still one question plaguing Disney fans: what about the live-action remake? Little is still known about the film except for a few key pieces of information. It is being directed by Thomas Kail, who directed Hamilton (2020), and has Dwayne Johnson and Auli’i Cravalho acting as producers. However, there is one significant change.

While Johnson will be reprising his role as a live-action version of Maui, Cravalho will not be back as Moana. She explained to The Wrap that this was her choice, and she wanted to open up opportunities for Pacific Islanders in Hollywood.

“It feels really important to me to pass the baton to the next young woman of Pacific Island descent, and I say that with my whole chest. I have been invited, and I exist in these beautiful AAPI spaces, Asian American Pacific Islander, and I am one of the few Pacific Islanders. And I’ll say it again, I am one of the few Pacific Islanders. And our stories are so important to be told.”

auli'i cravalho reads header
Credit: Disney

She continued:

“We are used. And I want to tell our own stories. I want to be behind the camera as much as I am in front of it. When I talk about representation, I want to see the same thing happening in writers rooms. I want to see the same thing happening with directors. And Taika Waititi talks about this as well, I wanna see showrunners who are also of indigenous descent telling their own stories.”

“And if it has to start with me — I’m 23, but if it starts with me, so be it. I want that door to swing wide open, and I cannot wait to meet the next Moana.”

Neither can we.

What other Disney movies do you want to get a sequel? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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