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"Moana 2" in Works at Disney, Sets 2024 Release Date

Thu 08 Feb 2024 | 09:54 AM
Moana 2
Moana 2
Yara Sameh

Disney is developing a sequel to its 2016's “Moana”, which will be released theatrically on November 27.

The company’s CEO Bob Iger revealed the news on CNBC ahead of Disney’s first quarter of fiscal 2024 earnings report. The second “Moana” was originally developed as a TV series but became a feature film because Iger was impressed with the footage.

“’Moana’ remains an incredibly popular franchise,” Iger said in a statement. “We can’t wait to give you more of Moana and Maui when ‘Moana 2’ comes to theaters this November.”

According to Disney, “Moana 2” will take audiences on an “expansive new voyage with Moana, Maui, and a brand-new crew of unlikely seafarers. After receiving an unexpected call from her wayfinding ancestors, Moana must journey to the far seas of Oceania and into dangerous, long-lost waters for an adventure unlike anything she’s ever faced.”

Dave Derrick Jr. is directing the sequel, with music from the duo of Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, as well as Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina, who worked on the first movie. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote “How Far I’ll Go” and “You’re Welcome,” isn’t expected to return with new songs for the follow-up.

“Moana” became a success for Disney, generating over $680 million at the box office. The animated musical found renewed life on Disney+ with 1 billion hours streamed last year.

Iger’s decision to put “Moana 2” in theaters follows Disney’s rough 2023 at the box office. Disney Animation’s “Wish” joined a long line of misfires, including “The Marvels,” “Haunted Mansion” and “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” Pixar’s “Elemental” struggled to start but ultimately rebounded with $496 million globally.

“Moana 2” is separate from the studio’s live-action remake, which is currently in the works with Dwayne Johnson back as the tattooed demigod Maui. 

Auli’i Cravalho, who voiced Moana in the 2016 movie, is expected to reprise her role in the animated sequel. But she will not return as the titular character in the live-action version, though she will serve as an executive producer.

“I believe it is absolutely vital that casting accurately represents the characters and stories we want to tell,” she said last May on Instagram. “I can’t wait to find the next actress to portray Moana’s courageous spirit, undeniable wit and emotional strength.”