Moana 2's Release Date Plan Changes Explained by Disney CEO

By Richard Nebens Posted:

Disney CEO Bob Iger gave fans some insight into the change in the release plan for Moana 2.

Iger officially confirmed development for Moana 2 as a feature film in February 2024, sharing multiple pieces of concept art and setting multiple characters in stone for a comeback from the original film.

The movie marks only the third time Disney has given an animated movie a direct theatrical sequel after 2012's Wreck-It Ralph and 2013's Frozen

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Why Did Moana 2's Release Plan Get Altered?

Moana movie ending

In a quote from the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger explained the strategy behind the change to Moana 2's release plan.

Iger first touched on the MCU's Deadpool & Wolverine as it preps for its release in July before confirming Moana 2 was originally a TV series set for Disney+ before it was changed to a movie

Iger and his team decided to change the story from a series to a movie (read more about the canceled series here) after seeing that the first Moana "was the most streamed film of the year" in 2023 throughout the United States across the streaming sphere:

"We decided to convert it to a film [from a TV series] when we saw that the 2016 version of 'Moana' was the most streamed film of the year in the United States in 2023 on all streaming platforms. It gave us reason to think, well, maybe it shouldn't be a TV series, but a movie. And so it will be."

Iger previously stated during the company's most recent earnings call that Moana 2 was changed into a movie after footage heavily impressed studio executives:

"We were impressed with what we saw and knew it deserved a theatrical release."

In February, The Wrap shared further details on the change in the release plan, noting it was "set in motion a few months ago," bringing up Disney executives' reaction to the footage from the Moana TV episodes. That footage saw rave reviews from Disney's top brass, who quickly began to wonder if those episodes could "be combined into a single theatrical experience."

What Will Happen in Disney's Moana 2?

When Disney confirmed Moana 2 as a movie, the film's synopsis teased "an expansive new voyage" featuring "a brand-new crew of unlikely seafarers" next to Moana and Maui from the original film:

"Walt Disney Animation Studios’ epic animated musical 'Moana 2' takes audiences on an expansive new voyage with Moana, Maui and a brand-new crew of unlikely seafarers. 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."

On top of the journey to lands seemingly going far past the island of Moto Nui, many are already curious to see what actors and new characters will tell this new tale.

Thankfully, Auli'i Cravalho told fans to expect her presence in the sequel, taking to Instagram to announce she'd voice Moana again as she did in the 2016 animated film.

Now, the big question is whether Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will rejoin the Disney family for his role as the demigod Maui, particularly since the powerful hero is coming back no matter who plays him.

Moana 2 will splash into theaters on November 27.

Read more about the entire Moana franchise:

Disney Will Release These 3 New Moana Projects In the Near Future (Confirmed)

Moana Live-Action Movie Has Now Cast Its New Moana Actress (Confirmed)

Moana Live-Action Movie Release, Cast & Everything We Know

Dwayne Johnson's Live-Action Moana Movie Gets Exciting Release Announcement

- In This Article: Moana
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- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.