Auli'i Cravalho will return in Moana 2 (but not the live action film)

30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Arrivals
30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Arrivals / Kevin Mazur/GettyImages

Disney has caused quite the stir with its Moana announcements but it's also led to some confusion. Back in April 2023, news broke that there would be a live-action adaptation of the popular Disney movie. This, of course, led to questions of whether or not Auli'i Cravalho would reprise the titular role that made her a household name especially since Dwayne Johnson would be returning to the franchise as Maui.

Cravalho made it clear that she would not be playing the character despite being an executive producer on the film. Per Deadline, she posted the following on her Instagram explaining why she felt the role should be played by another actress.

"When I was cast as Moana at 14, it wonderfully changed my life and started my career. In this live-action retelling, I will not be reprising the role. I believe it is absolutely vital the casting accurately represents the characters and stories we want to tell."

So, as an executive producer on the film, I cannot wait to help find the next actress to portray Moana’s courageous spirit, undeniable wit and emotional strength. I’m truly honored to pass this baton to the next young woman of Pacific Island descent, to honor our incredible Pacific peoples cultures and communities that help inspire her story. And I look forward to all the beautiful Pacific representations to come. Mahalo."

Moana is meant to be a young girl coming into her own and discovering her place in the world. While the 23 year old Cravalho has played teen characters in film (most recently in the updated Mean Girls), this particular story would resonate more and be the most impactful with an actress closer to Moana's age. It's about visual representation, that's the marked difference between why Cravalho won't star in the live-action but will reportedly reprise the role in the animated film's sequel.

Not much is known about Moana 2 yet outside of Cravalho and Johnson returning to the franchise for the movie. The description, while enticing, doesn't give much away. Moana and Maui, joined by a group of unlikely seafarers, will be going on a mission to Oceania after our heroine is called by her ancestors to do so. Their journey will be dangerous as they'll be traveling through long-lost waters, but it's bound to be an adventure none of us forget.

Moana 2 hits theaters on Nov. 27, 2024. There's been no word yet that the live-action Moana has been pushed from its June 25, 2025 release date, however, it'll likely be moved to put room between both entries in this expanding franchise. Stay tuned to Hidden Remote for more news and coverage!