Disney Animation Announces Disney+'s Moana: The Series Director

Disney+'s Moana spinoff series gets a "shiny" new director in animation veteran David G. Derrick Jr. Setting sail in 2024, the previously announced Moana, The Series explores new stories with Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) as the wayfinder goes beyond the reefs of Motunui after the events of the 2016 film. When revealing the long-form musical comedy series during Disney Investor Day 2020, Walt Disney Animation Studios chief creative officer Jennifer Lee announced the project from Oscar-nominated producer Osnat Shurer (MoanaRaya and the Last Dragon) would connect with talent from the Pacific Islands. 

As a story artist on Moana, the movie "deepened [Derrick's] connection with his family's Samoan roots," Walt Disney Animation Studios announced on Twitter. 

In a statement, Derrick said, "Working on Moana was a gift, personally and professionally. The film Moana caught and shared the spirit of Polynesia with the world. I am honored to continue her story and to celebrate the rich and beautiful cultures of the Pacific Islands." 

Derrick's credits as a storyboard artist include Megamind and How to Train Your Dragon for DreamWorks, Marvel animated series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Disney's 2019 live-action re-imagining of The Lion King, and Walt Disney Animation Studios' Encanto. 

Grossing $645 million worldwide, the musical hit from Disney Animation veteran directors Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog) featured music by Mark Mancina (Disney's Tarzan) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, Disney's Encanto) and co-starred Dwayne Johnson as the voice of the shape-shifting Maui.

"There is such a deep love for this character and this film, and that love has only grown in the years since the film's initial release," Lee said when announcing the sequel spinoff series on Disney+. "In the series, Moana's boundless sense of adventure and skills at wayfinding take her way behind the reef."

Lee continued, "Since our first research trips to the region for the film, we continue to be inspired by the deep oral storytelling traditions of the Pacific Islands. To help tell the stories for this new series, we are connecting with talent from this region." 

Moana, The Series is a new long-form musical series that follows spirited voyager Moana as she ventures far beyond the reef. The studio is once again connecting with storytellers from the Pacific Islands to help tell the stories of wayfinding and other traditions brought to life for generations through oral storytelling.

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Originally announced for 2023, Disney's Moana, The Series is set to premiere on Disney+ in 2024. 

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