Even though the movie is more than a year away, we cannot contain our excitement for Moana, the newest addition to Disney’s iconic princesses. Set for a Thanksgiving 2016 release, the movie will star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the demigod Maui and 14-year old newcomer Auli’i Cravalho has been tapped to play the titular Princess Moana. That’s right, a Disney Princess movie about Hawaii starring actual Pacific Islander actors in the roles of Pacific Islander characters. And Emma Stone is nowhere to be found!
And while the movie has been on our radar for some time — The Rock’s been attached since last December — this is the first time Disney has offered fans a real look into the characters for the movie. Originally broken by People Magazine this morning, Disney has not only revealed the first official images of Moana and Maui, it also revealed in a video how the producers cast Cravalho in the lead role.
I mean, what’s a Disney Princess movie without music?
I know that Moana was one of the big hits that came out of the D23 Expo this past summer, and is destined to be a huge hit next year. Remember, the Thanksgiving release date has been gold for Disney lately. Frozen and Big Hero 6 were released in November 2013 and 2014, respectively, and Pixar’s long awaited The Good Dinosaur will get that plum spot this fall. So it’s safe to say that Disney is setting up their latest princess of color for success.
And with The Rock attached — and singing a song by the writer of Hamilton — how could this not be a hit?
Here’s the official synopsis of the movie:
Three thousand years ago, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast South Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped — and no one today knows why. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes Moana, a sweeping, CG-animated adventure about a spirited teenager who sails out on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest.
During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), and together, they traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous fiery creatures and impossible odds. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess & the Frog), and produced by Osnat Shurer (Lifted, One Man Band), Moana sails into U.S. theaters on November 23, 2016.