Everything You Need To Know About Disney’s New Live-Action Moana

The Rock is returning as Maui, but Auli’l Cravalho won’t be reprising her role as Moana.

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Disney continues to bring fans joy by delivering live-action versions of beloved animated classics. Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, Cinderella, the upcoming version of The Little Mermaid. And now one that fans might not have expected, but is just so exciting. Especially because of the way the world found out. Dwayne Johnson and his two youngest daughters announced in a video filmed on a dreamy beach in Oahu that there is a live-action Moana in the works. Here’s everything we know so far, including which cast members are coming back.

Disney is reimagining Moana in a live-action version.

“As you know, Hawaii means so much to my family and me,” Johnson explains in a video announcement for Disney as his two youngest daughters, 7-year-old Jasmine and 5-year-old Tia who he shares with wife Lauren Hashian, play in the sand. “The traditions of our ohana, or ‘aiga’ as we say in Samoa, were shaped by these incredible islands.”

Johnson, who grew up in Oahu, went on to explain that the Pacific islands and their culture “inspired a very special story,” just before his daughters both yell “Moana!” With that he announced that a live-action “reimagining” of Moana is in the works.

The 2016 animated feature Moana introduced us to so many precious characters. Moana herself, voiced by Auli’l Cravalho, a young Hawaiian princess who sets out on a courageous quest to save her people from an ancient curse. Moana’s grandmother Gramma Tala (Rachel House) who pushes Moana towards her destiny against her father’s wishes. And of course, the vaguely narcissistic demi-god Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, who finds himself helping Moana even as he swears he wants nothing to do with her. Even Hei Hei the chicken (Alan Tudyk), the dimunitive nemesis/best friend of Maui.

Who will return in the live-action Moana?

According to Johnson, pretty much every character. “Moana, Gramma Tala, the music, the dance, Te Fiti, Pua the pig, the village, the beautiful, powerful ocean...” and yes, even Maui. Although Johnson’s daughters claim he is not actually Maui when he asks, at least not until he bribes them with ice cream.

But who will play those characters? Well, we know for sure that Cravalho will not reprise her role as Moana in the live-action version. “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,” Cravalho said in a video shared on Instagram.

“I believe it is absolutely vital that casting accurately represents the characters and stories we want to tell,” she continued. “So, as an executive producer on the film, I cannot wait to help find the next actress to portray Moana’s courageous spirit, undeniable wit and emotional strength. I am truly honored to pass this baton to the next young woman of Pacific Island descent, to honor our incredible Pacific peoples, cultures and communities that helped inspire her story. And I look forward to all the beautiful Pacific representation to come.”

When can we expect to see the live-action version of Moana?

It’s early days yet for Moana, which Disney CEO Bob Iger also announced to shareholders in April. No director has been attached to the film, but Johnson is acting as a producer while Moana herself, Cravalho, is listed as an executive producer. Screenwriter Jared Bush is also returning to write the live-action version. A release date probably won’t be announced for some time yet. Until then, you can still stream the original Moana on Disney+.

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