Moana Directors Not Involved With Disney's Live-Action Remake

Dwayne Johnson stars in the live-action adaptation of 2016's Moana.

Moana directors John Musker and Ron Clements won't be setting sail back to Motunui. In a new interview, Musker confirmed the directing duo behind the 2016 animated movie are not involved with Disney's live-action Moana remake starring Dwayne Johnson.

"I hope that they do it well, but we have nothing to do with it," Musker told the Spanish outlet El Pais. 

The retired Disney animator, who co-directed 1989's The Little Mermaid, 1992's Aladdin, 1997's Hercules, and 2009's The Princess and the Frog, also criticized Disney's pipeline of live-action versions redoing the studio's classic animated movies. (In addition to Moana, a live-action Hercules is also in the works with Guy Ritchie, behind Disney's 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin.)

"Companies are always like, 'How do we reduce our risk? They like this, right? We'll just do it again and sell it to them in a different form,'" Musker said. "Or they think, 'Well, we could make it better.'"

Art Directors Guild John Musker and Ron Clements
(Photo: Hand-out)

Announced in 2023, the live-action reimagining sees Johnson reprise his role as the shape-shifting demigod Maui. Johnson also serves as producer with Dany Garcia (Disney's Jungle Cruise) and Hiram Garcia (Black Adam) for their Seven Bucks Productions and Beau Flynn (Red Notice) for Flynn Picture Co. Auli'i Cravalho, the voice of Moana in the original movie, will not be reprising the title role, but is on board as executive producer with Scott Sheldon of Flynn Picture Co. (Cravalho and Johnson will return to voice their respective characters in the upcoming animated sequel Moana 2, from first-time feature director David G. Derrick Jr..)

Like the animated original, the new Moana will "celebrate the islands, communities, and traditions of Pacific Islanders as seen through the eyes of a young woman eager to pave her own path," per the description. "Moana's journey of self-discovery and reflection on the lives of her ancestors won hearts worldwide, as did her newfound friendship with an exiled demigod named Maui."

"I'm deeply humbled and overcome with gratitude to bring the beautiful story of Moana to the live-action big screen," Johnson said in a Hawaii-shot announcement video. "This story is my culture, and this story is emblematic of our people's grace and warrior strength. I wear this culture proudly on my skin and in my soul, and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reunite with Maui — inspired by the mana and spirit of my late grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia — is one that runs very deep for me. I want to thank my partners at Disney for their strong commitment to this special endeavor, because there is no better world for us to honor the story of our people, our passion, and our purpose than through the realm of music and dance, which is at the core of who we are as Polynesian people."

Moana 2 sails into theaters on Nov. 27, 2024, followed by the live-action Moana on July 10, 2026.