Moana live-action remake: Cast, plot and everything we know so far
Dwayne Johnson’s demigod returns, this time IRL
Despite the fact that only seven years have passed since its animated counterpart first debuted, 2016’s Moana is getting a live-action adaptation — spearheaded by one of its original stars.
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%.
Read more: Disney: All the live-action remakes in development from Moana to Peter Pan & Wendy
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.
When is Disney’s live-action Moana released?
With production on Disney’s live-action Moana remake yet to begin, an official release date has yet to be revealed.
Considering how long these things usually take to make, it’s a fair assumption that we might get to see Moana return to the big screen at some point in the next few years, perhaps around 2025.
What is the plot of Disney’s Moana remake?
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 early 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.”
Moana live-action reboot cast
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 as revealed in a recent Instagram video, will not return to star in the movie.
Read more: Auli’i Cravalho Won’t Reprise ‘Moana’ Role In Live-Action Remake (Deadline, 2 min read)
“When I was cast as Moana at 14, it wonderfully changed my life and started my career,” Cravalho said in a video posted to her Instagram.
“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.”
Fans of the 2016 original will remember it featured the voice talents of Jemaine Clement as evil crab Tamatoa and The Book of Boba Fett’s Temuera Morrison as Chief Tui and Nicole Scherzinger as Sina.
As of writing, it has not yet been confirmed whether these stars will return and no director has signed on to helm the project. It’s also unclear whether Miranda will pen new songs for the project.
Is there a Moana reboot trailer?
With Disney’s live-action Moana reboot yet to enter production, a trailer is still a way off. However, when it goes live, you’ll find it here.
Disney's live-action Moana reboot is coming soon.