Disney has now revealed plans for a series based on the 2016 animated hit Moana, with the show set to debut on Disney+ in 2023. Along with the announcement that Moana: The Series is now being developed, several details have also emerged about the direction of the show and how it will build upon the foundations laid down four years ago.
The Moana animated series will reportedly follow the titular spirited voyagers as she once again ventures beyond the safety of her Polynesian island home of Motunui, and will see Walt Disney Animation bringing in storytellers from Moana's home region of the Pacific Islands in order to faithfully continue to tell authentic stories of wayfinding and other traditions brought to life for generations through oral storytelling.
Moana was released back in 2016 to critical acclaim, and tells the story of Moana, the strong-willed daughter of a chief of a Polynesian village, who is chosen by the ocean itself to reunite a mystical relic with the goddess Te Fiti. When a blight strikes her island, Moana sets sail in search of Maui, a legendary demigod, in the hope of returning the relic to Te Fiti and saving her people.
Produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, Moana is directed by John Musker (The Princess and the Frog) and Ron Clements (The Little Mermaid) from a script written by Zootopia's Jared Bush. Introducing audiences to the talents of Auliʻi Cravalho as Moana, the movie is fondly remembered for the chemistry between the young actress and Dwayne Johnson, who stars as the legendary shapeshifting demigod Maui. Rounding out the supporting cast are Rachel House (Thor: Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople), Temuera Morrison (Aquaman, The Mandalorian), Jemaine Clement (What We Do in the Shadows), Nicole Scherzinger (Men in Black 3, Ralph Breaks the Internet) and Alan Tudyk (Doom Patrol, Wreck-It Ralph).
Moana features songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa'i and Mark Mancina, and an orchestral score also composed by Mancina, with the newly revealed series also set to be a musical number much like its cinematic predecessor.
The movie was a huge success for Disney, receiving two nominations at the 89th Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature, and Best Original Song for the inspirational "How Far I'll Go". Moana went on to gross $690 million at the box office on its estimated $175 million budget, so it's no wonder that the studio is looking to return to this oceanic world.
The Moana series is just one of several new animated Disney projects heading to Disney+, including a Big Hero 6 continuation with Baymax which is scheduled for 2021, Zootopia Plus, based on the buddy cop talking-animal comedy, which is set for release in 2022, and Tiana, a series based on the heroine from 2009's The Princess and the Frog, which will also premiere in 2022. There are also several Pixar projects scheduled for the streaming service in the near future, including Dug Days, and a series based on Cars. What can Disney say except, "You're welcome". This comes to us courtesy of Disney Investor Day 2020.