Everything we know about the live-action Moana remake

Dwayne Johnson’s demigod returns, this time IRL

Moana and Maui in Moana
Moana is getting a live-action remake. (Walt Disney Pictures/Alamy)

Despite the fact that only seven years have passed since its animated counterpart first debuted, 2016’s Moana is getting a live-action adaptation — and it is coming to cinemas in 2026.

This colourful tale of family and fate takes its cues from old Polynesian myths and was a quick hit with both fans and critics alike following its initial release. In fact, in the years since its arrival, Disney’s original animated Moana has gathered an impressive 95% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, with audiences awarding it an equally healthy 89%. An animated sequel is also coming to cinemas in 2024.

Read more: All the live-action Disney remakes in development

With the studio finding additional success by transporting its classic family favourites into the real world, it felt like only a matter of time before Moana followed suit, and while its transition may have arrived a little sooner than many might have guessed, it’s on its way nonetheless.

With that in mind, here’s everything we know about Disney’s live-action Moana remake so far.

Dwayne Johnson as Maui in Moana
Dwayne Johnson returns as demigod Maui. (Walt Disney Pictures)

The live action Moana remake will be coming to cinemas globally on 10 July, 2026. It was originally slated for release in 2025, but has been pushed back a year, putting some distance between the live-action version, and the animated sequel.

Filming is set to commence in summer 2024.

A trailer for Disney’s live-action Moana is still lost at sea. However, when it goes live, you’ll find it here.

Moana in a scene from the 2016 film of the same name
Original Moana actor Auli'i Cravalho will executive produce the remake. (Walt Disney Pictures)

Disney’s Moana followed its titular heroine as she disobeyed her family to embark on a quest to save her island home from an environmental disaster.

To complete her mission, she must locate an ancient relic and reunite it with the goddess Te Fiti. Along the way, she enlists the help of the demigod Maui to assist her with saving both her family and her island home.

Read more: Live-Action ‘Moana’ in the Works From Dwayne Johnson, Disney (The Hollywood Reporter, 3 min read)

Directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, the same duo behind animated Disney animated classics The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, Moana also boasted a number of earworm tracks created by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The news that a live-action remake of 2016’s Moana was in the works was first revealed via a joint announcement via Disney and original Moana star Dwayne Johnson back in April 2023.

Watch: Dwayne Johnson announces Moana remake

It further solidified a shift in the studio’s creative decision-making to retool their animated output which has only had a brief period with fans as opposed to the more deeply ingrained nostalgia-classics like Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King.

Moana joins the similarly recent Lilo & Stitch on the list of modern Disney movies to get the live-action treatment, with the latter currently in production.

Unveiled during a shareholder’s meeting, Disney CEO Bob Iger let Johnson share his thoughts on the importance of returning to the vibrant world he first inhabited in animated form back in 2016.

“This story is my culture, and this story is emblematic of our people’s grace and warrior strength,” explained Johnson during a short video reveal.

“I wear this culture proudly on my skin and in my soul, and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reunite with Maui, inspired by the mana and spirit of my late grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia, is one that runs very deep for me.”

Dwayne Johnson attends the world premiere of Moana in 2016.
Dwayne Johnson attends the world premiere of Moana in 2016. (Alamy)

As revealed in the official announcement video, Johnson is back as mystical demi-God Maui and will also produce the adaptation alongside the team at Seven Bucks Productions.

Auli’i Cravalho, the star who voiced Moana in the original, will also produce the project but will not return to star in the movie. Instead, 17-year-old Australian actor Catherine Laga’aia will be Disney’s new Moana.

Speaking of her new role, Laga’aia said: “I’m really excited to embrace this character because Moana is one of my favourites.

“My grandfather comes from Fa’aala, Palauli, in Savai’i. And my grandmother is from Leulumoega Tuai on the main island of ‘Upolu in Samoa. I’m honored to have an opportunity to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples, and to represent young girls who look like me.”

Cravalho said: “When I was cast as Moana at 14, it wonderfully changed my life and started my career.”

“In this live-action retelling, I will not be reprising the role. I believe it is absolutely vital that casting accurately represents the characters and stories we want to tell.

“I can’t wait to find the next actress to portray Moana’s courageous spirit, undeniable wit and emotional strength.”

She added: “I’m truly honoured to pass this baton to the next woman of Pacific Island descent to honour our incredible Pacific peoples, cultures and communities that help inspire her story, and I look forward to all the beautiful Pacific representation to come. Mahalo.”

Elsewhere, New Zealand’s John Tai will play Moana’s dad, Chief Tai, and Samoan-New Zealand star Frankie Adams will play Moana’s mum, Sina. Fellow New Zealander Rena Owen have also joined the cast as Gramma Tala.

Fans of the 2016 original will remember it featured the voice talents of Jemaine Clement as evil crab Tamatoa. As of writing, it has not yet been confirmed whether Clement will return.

The film will be directed by Thomas Kail, the Tony award-winning director behind Hamilton, and he will bring the remake to life based on a script by Jared Bush and Dana Ledoux Miller.

Disney's live-action Moana reboot will be released on 10 July, 2026.