Moana 2: Is Disney Releasing a Sequel After New Movie Announcement?
Is Disney now working on an animated Moana 2 following Dwayne Johnson’s announcement of a new adaptation of the original movie?
Disney has recently announced development for a number of animated sequels, including titles such as Frozen 3, Zootopia 2, and even Toy Story 5.
In that same spree of announcements, megastar Dwayne Johnson announced that “a live-action reimagining of Moana is in the works” as Disney takes another stab at the hit 2016 musical. It will be produced by Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions company, and Moana voice actress Auli’i Cravalho is also on board as an executive producer.
And with so many other animated follow-up movies in the works under Disney’s watch, there are already many wondering whether a sequel is in the work for Johnson’s first efforts with the House of Mouse.
Is Moana 2 Being Made?
Currently, there are no official plans for an animated Moana 2 movie being developed for a theatrical release.
However, in January 2022, Disney did confirm that a Moana sequel series was in the works for release on Disney+. This will continue the young heroine’s story under director David G. Derrick Jr., who first joined the Disney team with his work on the original Moana in 2016.
Rumors suggest that a theatrical sequel to Moana‘s story was scrapped in favor of Dwayne Johnson’s retelling of the original movie, though this has yet to be officially confirmed by Disney.
When Will Moana 2 Release?
With no indication that Moana 2 is even being officially developed, it’s pretty safe to say that the sequel, if it were to happen, would still be some time away.
Disney+ will already offer a return to the world of Moana in 2024 with an original series that will serve as a sequel to the 2016 movie. As such, it’s rather unlikely Disney is working on a theatrical sequel in any capacity at the moment.
Additionally, Disney has dated the live-action remake of Moana for June 27, 2025, while star Dwayne Johnson recently confirmed to The Tonight Show that it will be “next project” he shoots now the SAG-AFTRA strike has concluded.
This means of Moana will be treated to new releases in this world for both the next two years, with the potential always there for the Disney+ sequel series to continue beyond that for multiple seasons.
If Moana 2 were to happen, it probably wouldn’t release anytime before 2026, but in reality, such a sequel may never come to pass.
What Would Moana 2 Be Called?
More often than not, Disney simply uses numerical titles for its animated sequels, as seen most recently with the aforementioned Frozen, Zootopia, and Toy Story movies. But should Disney decide to divert from that path for Moana 2, there are a couple of different options.
While something like “The Way of Water” could work with Moana’s deep connection to the ocean, Disney is sure to avoid doubling up on a title like that after the immensely successful Avatar: The Way of Water.
One of the songs from the first movie such as “How Far I’ll Go” or “We Know The Way” could help serve as an inspiration for the title, but that will all depend on what plot details will be for the sequel.
At this juncture, Moana 2 would seemingly be the most likely pick for the title, although Disney may wish to change things up to create some distinction between the animated and live-action versions of the franchise.
Who Will Be Moana 2’s Villain?
Moana pitted the titular heroine against the powerful lava-based villain Te Ka, who was eventually revealed to be the Motonui goddess Te Fiti as Maui returned her heart. Now that the island has found peace once more and Maui is off on his next quest, there are more than a few possibilities for who could be the next villain in Moana 2.
Disney could introduce another mythical being similar to Te Fiti, either with ties to Maui or hidden in a location that Moana explores on her wayfinding trek. The sequel could also take things to a more ground-level narrative and have the antagonists be an invading tribe of warriors or even another country invading Motonui’s land after hearing about the nation’s resurgence.
This movie would also likely be set a few years after the original Moana in terms of timeline after the Disney+ series, giving the Motonuian chief’s daughter plenty of other challenges to handle as she grows into an adult.
Will Moana & Maui Reunite in Moana 2?
Considering the way 2016’s Moana ended, it would be a shock not to see Auli’i Cravalho’s heroine reunite with Dwayne Johnson’s “shapeshifter, demigod of the wind and sea, and hero of men,” Maui. The Rock’s powerful hero was the headlining name in the original movie, and as he’s already producing and starring in the live-action movie, his inclusion in Moana 2 is almost a guarantee.
At the end of the first movie, Maui was seen soaring alongside Moana and her people above the ocean in his giant hawk form as Moana showed her people the ways of the wayfinder.
While he may not be with the young leader of Motonui at the start of a possible sequel, their paths will almost certainly cross once her next journey is underway.
Then again, fans will obviously have to wait and see how their story progresses in the Disney+ series to get any clues as the where the story may proceed if Moana 2 were to ever actually happen.
Will Maui Betray Moana?
Along with Moana’s own character development in the first film, Dwayne Johnson’s Maui went on his own journey of self-discovery as he found his magical fish hook and regained his powers. Much of the story even saw him change personally too, going from leaving Moana in the dust on his abandoned island to supporting her fully in the battle against Te Ka.
Barring any wild surprises and taking away a couple of small skirmishes, fans are expecting the relationship between Maui and Moana will be solid for their next meeting. One exception to that idea could be if Moana feels that Maui abandoned her if there’s an extended separation between them, but seeing them bond at the end of the first movie seemed to set them up for a solid bond moving forward.
When Will Moana’s Disney+ Series Release?
Reports of Disney+’s Moana being in development date back as far as December 2020, while the series had its director confirmed in January 2022 as David G. Derrick Jr. boarded the project in his directorial debut.
The Disney+ series is expected to premiere in 2024, although it’s unclear whether either the writers’ or actors’ strike may have slowed down development.
Disney has yet to officially announce the return of Dwayne Johnson or Auliʻi Cravalho in their leading roles from the original 2016 movie. But both seem rather likely as they continue to be involved in this world through the live-action movie, with the former reprising his role while the latter steps back to executive produce.
Moana is now streaming on Disney+.