‘Moana 2’ Plays Risky Move in New Footage

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Moana looking surprised

Credit: Disney

Moana, Maui, and the citizens of Montunui are getting ready to set sail again in Moana 2 (2024). As thrilling as it is for Disney to return to a story that was so warmly received years ago, a new update shows that they might still be living in the past.

Today, Walt Disney Animation Studios released a new teaser trailer for Moana 2, and it definitely looks like an animated adventure worthy of Disney. However, there’s also something very familiar about some of the teaser’s imagery. While we can’t confirm at this time, Moana might have been hanging out with another famous chief’s daughter.

Related: Six Months Before ‘Moana 2,’ Dwayne Johnson Shocks Fans With Unrecognizable Appearance

If you are a ’90s kid and think, “Why does this look so familiar?” You’re right. While the specifics of the plot are unknown, the new trailer above bears more than a few elements seen in Pocahontas (1995).

Did Pocahontas Inspire Moana?

A split image shows two animated scenes at sunset. On the left, a character with long hair looks out over the ocean toward a distant island in what appears to be new footage from Moana 2. On the right, another character stands on a cliff's edge, gazing at a canyon filled with a pinkish-red sky and river.
Credit: Disney

While there are some similarities between the two characters, such as representing native tribes, having an affinity for forces of nature, hearing the call to adventure, and (of course) a pair of animal sidekicks, Moana and Pocahontas are meant to tell two very different stories.

Related: ‘Moana’ Star Aulii Cravalho Reveals If She’ll Return To the Sequel

That said, the similarities between their two trailers cannot be ignored. Look at one of the original trailers from Pocahontas and see how many connections you can find with those in Moana’s latest footage.

The conch shell, the sailing imagery, the use of water, and even some of the color palates used in the ’90s film are echoed in Moana’s world. Moreover, the theme of bringing the tribes together is also used in the prior movie, albeit for very different reasons.

Granted, this wouldn’t be the first time an older Disney property has inspired some new blood (look at what The Lion King did for Black Panther). Still, should Disney really be pulling from one of their more controversial films?

Is It Such a Big Deal?

Pocahontas looks into the distance in front of a blue-green sky.
Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios

It’s no secret that Disney has been going through a rough patch with its recent animated movies, and that’s putting it politely. As a result, studio directors and execs are turning their attention towards previously successful properties and cranking out sequels to Moana, Zootopia, and Inside Out, just to name a few.

Related: Alan Tudyk Says He Won’t Be Back as Beloved K-2SO in ‘Andor’…Yet

Disney is falling back on what works, and using elements from the Disney Renaissance is undoubtedly a great way to subtly evoke that delectable sense of nostalgia that has kept Mickey’s head above water for years. Even so, is Pocahontas really the way to go?

Although certainly not the worst, the original 1995 film hasn’t aged remarkably well and has since been dubbed problematic due to its historical inaccuracies and more than a few racial themes. That said, the familiar imagery and themes might be enough to warrant further interest (as if the giant sea monster wasn’t enough).

Do you think Moana has Pocahontas influences? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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