One mega big piece of information that Disney CEO Bob Iger forgot to mention in his announcement of Moana 2 earlier this week was whether Dwayne Johnson was coming back to reprise his iconic role as the demigod Maui. Deadline has learned that the action star in fact is in talks, and it’s looking good. And as Maui says, “You’re welcome.”
The jury is still out on whether Auli’i Cravalho comes back as the voice of Moana. We hear that the actress is in talks, but they aren’t as close as Johnson’s. Cravalho already said in May on social that she won’t be reprising Moana in the live-action version of the movie.
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“I’m truly honored to pass this baton to the next young woman of Pacific Island descent, to honor our incredible Pacific people’s cultures and communities that help inspire her story. And I look forward to all the beautiful Pacific representations to come. Mahalo,” Cravalho wrote at the time.
Iger mentioned that the studio was so blown away by the Disney+ series they had in development for Moana, they decided to turn it into a theatrical sequel, dated for the studio’s much-favored Thanksgiving stretch of November 27. The sequel is directed by Dave Derrick Jr. with music by Grammy winners Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, Grammy nominee Opetaia Foa’i, and three-time Grammy winner Mark Mancina. The only thing missing in Moana 2 is songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The Hamilton architect was Oscar nominated for the ditty “How Far I’ll Go” from the original 2016 movie.
What happens to the live-action version of Moana, which Johnson is not only starring in but also producing under his Seven Bucks label? Does it stick to its June 27, 2025 theatrical release? No, it won’t, but Disney needs to back-fill that date with another theatrical release. Even more than that, the studio isn’t even in production on the live-action version.
Disney and Seven Bucks sources did not return requests for comment.
Johnson winked at the news on IG today:
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