Moana remake: Everything we know so far about the Disney live action movie

Dwayne Johnson is on board!

a split template showing a still from Moana and actor Dwayne Johnson
(Image credit: Future/Getty/Alamy/Disney)

Disney has shared some exciting news for Moana fans to look forward to...

It's the tropical and heartwarming hit that amassed a legion of fans when it first dropped in 2016. Now Moana - considered one of the best kids movies on Disney+ - is getting another big screen outing, this time re-imagined as a live action adventure. The new movie promises the same storyline and beloved characters of before - think Maui, Tamatoa and Hei Hei the chicken. Plus the project certainly seems to be in safe hands with one of the film's former stars stepping up to steer the creative process. 

News of the Moana remake was announced in the lead up to the release of the live action The Little Mermaid movie, that comes to screens in May 2023. Disney fans are excited to see Halle Berry appear in the title role, in addition to another famous actress who has been confirmed as playing Ursula in the live action version.

Moana remake: Everything we know so far

Disney CEO Bob Iger and Moana star Dwayne Johnson have confirmed that a live-action remake of Moana is currently underway

"We are so excited and happy to announce that a live action reimagining of Moana is in the works," The Rock said in the video announcement, surrounded by his two daughters Tia and Jasmine, playing on a beach in Hawaii.

Johnson promised the return of "Moana, Gramma Tala, the music, the dance, Te Fiti, Pua the pig, the village, the beautiful, powerful ocean" - and one more thing - Johnson back as Maui.

Appearing on a beach in Oahu, Hawaii - could this be a subtle hint from filmmakers that they've decided on the remake's filming location?

Not much more is known about the remake, with Johnson confirming they’re still very much “early in the process” and that "there’s a lot more work to be done".

The remake certainly has a lot to live up to. The original 2016 movie was considered a box office hit, raking in $600 million worldwide. Rotten Tomatoes awarded it a rare 95% fresh rating, with an audience score of 89%.

Moana live action cast

Dwayne Johnson will reprise his role as demigod Maui from the 2016 animated film. Other cast details are yet to be announced, but according to Deadline actress Auli‘i Cravalho - who voiced the title character in the original movie - will instead have an off-camera role as executive producer.

The 2016 movie also starred Rachel House, Nicole Scherzinger and Temuera Morrison - however there's been no news on whether these stars will return for the remake.

The original film’s screenwriter Jared Bush - also behind latest Disney hit Encanto - will be involved behind the scenes. Whilst Samoan actress Dana Ledoux Miller is another name attached to the project.

Johnson's role and involvement with both the original and Moana remake have a personal element attached to it. "As many of you may not know, the brilliant team at Disney Animation, my partners, we found so much inspiration for Maui in the mana and the presence of my late grandfather, the legendary High Chief Peter Maivia.

"He would walk in, light up the room, the energy, the tattoos, the hair, the bod," he recalled, before launching into the song You're Welcome from the 2016 film.

"In a way, when I bring Maui to life, i'm doing it in the spirit of my grandfather," he adds.

Following the Moana remake, many fans went online to give their thoughts on who should join the live action cast. @MadisonMadden wants Kevin Hart to play Hei Hei - wanting a reunion between the comedian and The Rock on screen. Another Twitter user requested that American singer Dinah Jane be considered for the role of Moana. 

Others were more simple in their casting requests. "If they Make a Live Action Moana the WHOLE CAST better be Poly," wrote @t_unutoa. This was similarly voiced by @kekonapiliahi.

Moana live action film - potential release date

During the announcement, Dwayne Johnson made it clear that the Moana live action remake is still very "early in the process". As such, no release date has been shared. If we were to hazard a guess though, we expect the Moana remake to be released in late 2024 or early 2025.

With limited cast details available, it's thought that the project is very much in pre-production. This will then be followed by months of filming and post-production editing, which is likely to go on for the best part of a year and a half.

Being based on such a beloved film, we've no doubt that they'll be updates on the Moana remake in the future. And we'll certainly be keeping our eyes out for more details when they become available.

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Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.