After the massive success of 2013’s smash box office and Academy Award winning hit, Frozen, loyal Disney fans are anxiously clamoring for their next Princess fix. Disney’s answer to their enthusiastic call is the newest addition to the Princess brand, Moana. The new princess does not yet have a set look or released artwork that has been acknowledged by Disney as official. There are various examples of artist interpretations floating around the internet such as a logo with a tribal appearance and early concept art of Moana herself from an official Disney artist, Sue Nichols. Much like when artwork from Frozen leaked in 2012, Disney has steadfastly held that this is not an official representation of artwork from the film. The artwork in question could be another artist’s interpretation or the early design of a character that has since been changed; we are sure to find out when Moana hits theaters in 2018.
Moana will be directed by Disney vets Ron Clements and John Musker, who previously collaborated on Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and The Princess and The Frog, the film will have likely a familiar feel in its style while providing the new element of being Disney’s first Polynesian princess. The film will take place around 2,000 years ago and across a series of islands in French Polynesia. Moana means “ocean” in Polynesian, which is fitting since it will center around Moana Waialiki, the spirited daughter of the chief, a skilled navigator, and sailor. Disney’s newest princess film is said to be similar to Hercules in that it will feature mythological deities along Moana’s adventure to save her family.
Contrary to early rumors surrounding the film stating that Moana (pronounced Mo-AH-na) would be made in a combination hand drawn/computer animated technique used in the 2012 short film Paperman, Moana will be a fully computer animated film, a first for Musker and Clements. Musker commented that the technique used in Paperman is too new to be used in a full length feature film. In kind with Disney’s previous princess fims, Moana also promises to be a musical, with Mark Mancina of The Lion King and Planes composing the music.
Unconfirmed rumors circulating the internet claim that the release date has been pushed up by a year and that name of the film has since been changed to Spirited, to follow the recent adjectival theme that Disney has been using in Brave, Tangled, and Frozen. Naming schemes weren’t the only changes added to the lineup of holocene Disney princess movies; the brand has received a lot of recent recognition for the way it has changed the underlying messages of the films and they way that they market toward young girls. Frozen, a tale about sisterly love ends in the moral that not all heroes are princes and that romantic love is not the only kind of love to be concerned with while Brave reinforces the importance of mother-daughter relationships. Few details have been released about the plot of Moana and the adventure upon which the newest Disney princes will have, but if it follows the theme, the short description alludes to a story about the importance of family.
By Faye Barton