Disney Releases First Look of Animated 2016 Feature 'Moana' About a South Pacific Heroine


First look concept art from ‘Moana’

Say hello to Disney’s next heroine, the brave ocean explorer Moana.

The studio announced on Monday that it’s planning a CGI animated feature film for 2016 titled Moana, which will be directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. (They also released the first concept art image above.) The pair are storied Disney veterans, having teamed up to direct films like Aladdin and The Princess and the Frog. Musker also directed The Little Mermaid, experience that will serve him well in this new film.

Here’s the synopsis:

“In the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, Moana, a born navigator, sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her incredible journey, she teams up with her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, to traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore.”

From the description, it’s obvious that Disney learned the great lesson of Frozen: bold, strong, admirable female lead characters translate to big hits and big money. Frozen made over $1.2 billion worldwide in its theatrical run, sold millions of discs, and has become a non-stop merchandise machine. It’s also been translated into a Disney on Ice show and had its princesses Elsa and Anna added to ABC’s hit Once Upon a Time. Moana sounds firmly in their mold.

“Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself,” Musker said in the press release. “She’s the kind of character we all root for, and we can’t wait to introduce her to audiences.”

Photo credit: Disney