Earlier this week, Disney dropped a major surprise — announcing that Moana 2 is not only in the works but set to hit theaters this year. The sequel to the 2016 hit animated film will release this November 27.
The sequel will be directed by Dave Derrick Jr. with music by Grammy® winners Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, Grammy nominee Opetaia Foa’i, and three-time Grammy winner Mark Mancina. Disney was light on details but did share a brief synopsis, confirming an "expansive new voyage with Moana, Maui, and a brand-new crew of unlikely seafarers."
What wasn't confirmed, however, is whether or not original Moana stars Auliʻi Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson will reprise their roles as Moana and Maui, respectively.
However, some news has emerged since the announcement regarding casting for the film.
Will Auliʻi Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson return for Moana 2?
Deadline reports that Dwayne Johnson is currently in talks to return as Maui and "it's looking good."
It's a bit cloudier for Auli'i Cravalho though. Deadline hears that the actress is in talks to return but notes "they aren't as close as Johnson's."
It feels a bit weird that Disney would announce a sequel to one of their most popular movies — and that it's hitting theaters in less than a year from now — without having the original voice actors already signed on. But it makes a bit more sense when you take into account that Moana 2 originated as a series for Disney+.
It's quite common for television spin-offs to feature actors who sound like the original cast, which explains they Johnson or Cravalho weren't initially involved.
But it's this very reason (along with a few others) that the announcement of Moana 2 has been met with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.
With Moana 2 hitting theaters on November 27th, it probably won't be long before we learn for certain if Johnson and Cravalho will return.