Moana Is Getting a Sequel Instead of a Series!

In my recent post, I mentioned that Moana was one of several Disney princesses with an upcoming series announcement that had not gotten any news or updates in over three years. Today, Disney revealed the reason for that. As it turns out, they secretly decided to turn the series into a theatrical sequel, and it's coming out later this year! This upcoming follow-up might replace the unwanted "live-action reimagining" that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson announced last year since it was unlikely that the studio had decided to the animated series into a feature film at that time. The sequel follows Disney's recent trend of recycling established content in theaters instead of weaving new tales except for last November's Wish, which was an overwhelming commercial failure. The sequel announcement was accompanied by a brief "First Look" teaser revealing nothing about the movie's plot.


Why did they decide to go this direction instead of a series or potential "live-action reimagining?" There could be several reasons for this. Back in the direct-to-video sequel era of the early 2000s, it was common to compile fully produced episodes of failed animated series based on previous Disney films on video or DVD disguised as a "sequel." It's possible that the series bible for Moana was considered too short to be a full show but perfect for a feature film. Since Moana 2 is being released in theaters instead of home video or streaming, it cannot get away with mimicking the format of Cinderella 2: Dreams Come True or Belle's Magical World, which were obviously failed pilot episodes with little else stringing them together to justify a full-length movie. Likely, the decision to turn the Moana series into a theatrical film was considered early in the process, explaining the lack of updates since the show was first announced in 2020. Set for the traditional princess movie release date of late November, Disney decided to announce the film at the beginning of this year to build up hype from a recognized and beloved franchise to try to prevent a repeat of the lack of profits from their latest November release.

The current summary for Moana 2 is "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." I do not love this description as it's so vague that it can mean anything and even work as a summary of the original film. The endless potential for adventures at sea is probably the reason that Disney initially thought the franchise would work well as a full-fledged series. The preview art for the show (depicted above) reveals more about it than the description or teaser. It portrays Moana sailing over what appears to be a magical whale covered in glowing spots alongside fan favorite, Maui, and three potential new characters from the film. The addition of a larger-than-life mythological sea creature reminds me of the "Nokk" from Frozen 2, whose financial success likely inspired Disney to include something similar.

There are other reasons for Moana 2 to come to theaters as well. Disney+, Disney's premiere streaming service, has been struggling significantly over the past couple of years, which may explain why we haven't heard many updates from many of the other princess series that were announced a while back. By making this a theatrical release, the movie has the potential to draw in significantly more profit on individual ticket sales than by depending on the few families who still have Disney+. Plus, Wish's criticism taught them it may be best to stick to familiar territory when it comes to box office debuts rather than creating original characters and stories. The good news about all this is the fact that since Disney sequels are no longer direct-to-videos "cheapquels" produced by a lower-budget animation department, we can depend on Moana 2 to boast higher animation and production quality than the embarrassing sequels from Disney's early days.

So, there you have it! Moana is skipping the small screen and setting sail for a big-budget theatrical adventure! Moana 2 is set for the traditional Disney Princess release date of the day before Thanksgiving, which will be November 27th, of this year. What are your thoughts? Are you excited to see Moana and Maui back on the big screen? Do you prefer this format over a potential series or live-action remake? Share your hopes, predictions, and anything else you'd like to discuss about Moana 2 in the comments below! Let's dive into the ocean of speculation together and prepare for Moana's next epic voyage!

Comments

Anonymous said…
Frozen 2 also featured the Jotnar from Norse mythology.
Lisa Dawn said…
Hi Anonymous,

Are you planning on seeing Moana 2? What are some of your thoughts?
PrincessContent said…
Hello there!
It’s been I long while since I wrote anything here. Life has been busy and I needed a break from being social online.

Moana I’ve only seen maybe two or three times and I find it ok but a bit boring. It’s very pretty but Maui is annoying so I will probably not watch the sequel.

Business wise it makes sense for Disney to make Moana a sequel instead of a tv-show, but is the live action remake still happening too? Will people actually to be interested in seeing two Moana movies?

So, it’s time to drop of some recommendations!

1. Hazbin Hotel on Prime Video
Years back I recommended the pilot episode and I remember it not being your cup of tea, but I think you should give the show a chance. It’s not a perfect show by all means but I adore princess Charlie and would love to hear your thoughts on her.
And since Disenchantment was such a disappointment, maybe this is the adult animated princess show you been waiting for.

2. My Happy Marriage on Netflix.
An amine miniseries that is technically not a princess show but it has a lot of the tropes to make it feel like a one. It’s a Cinderella story with a cute romance.

3. Damsel Netflix Movie
Only trailers so far but it looks promising. Its about a princess’ fight for survival after getting sacrificed to a dragon.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM150ZWovZM

4. Cinderella Opera
This Opera is conducted and written by Alma Deutscher. She wrote it between the age of 9 and 15!
The Opera, the 2017 production, is now uploaded in 2 parts to her YouTube channel.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrMoI-2Y9bM

5. Enchanted Commentary
A while back Kevin Lima released on to Youtube a Directors Commentary on Disneys Enchanted!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2a8rt49sNA

6. Oren’s Way - Princess Short Film
This film is currently being shown in a bunch of filmfestivals so it will be a while intill it’s released to the public. It looks cute!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os-G5VKUECA

Lisa Dawn said…
Thank you for sharing! I will check these out more later, but the movie description reminds me of the book Dealing With Dragons that I read as a kid! I do have Enchanted on DVD, so I'm pretty sure I've heard the commentary before. Take care!
Lisa Dawn said…
After watching the first half of Hazbin Hotel, I think the only thing I like about it is the music. Even though the character designs are unique, it's hard to distinguish them from each other when they all use the same three-color palette. I do find it uncanny how much the woman playing Charlie sounds to Rapunzel from Tangled though.

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