Don’t worry, Auli’i Cravalho is still Moana in Moana 2

Alberto E. Rodriguez (Getty Images for Disney)
Alberto E. Rodriguez (Getty Images for Disney)
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Meet the new Moana, the same as the old Moana.

Auli’i Cravalho is returning to voice Moana for Moana 2. The sequel, announced ahead of a Disney investor presentation two weeks ago, will hit theaters on November 27. The Mouse House obviously hopes that a sequel to a beloved animated new classic will fare better in the Thanksgiving fray than a sequel to a billion-dollar superhero movie or an animated tribute to Disney’s I.P. plunders.

Cravalho officially announced the return via Instagram Reels, where she posted a clip of her celebratory jumping in the air outside the Roy E. Disney Animation Building as Beyoncé’s “Texas Hold ‘Em” plays on the soundtrack. It’s a confusing song choice until one considers Cravalho’s caption, “We’re sailing WAY beyond the reef this November…” It presumably all but confirms that Moana is going to Texas! Or, something, the rollout of Moana 2 is already off to a very modern Disney start. As with its live-action remakes, endless sequel announcements, and a flailing superhero universe, the beads of flop sweat on Mickey’s brow seem to form the words, “Please tell us this is what you want.”

Well, that’s one takeaway from the movie, which was confirmed two weeks ago and arrives in less than a year. We’ve heard more about the live-action remake of the 2016 animated hit than Moana 2. For instance, that version already locked down star Dwayne Johnson, who is expected to return but has not been formally announced for the animated sequel. Part of that is because Disney is kind of winging it with this one. As previously reported, Moana 2 was originally intended as a Disney+ series that the Disney brass was so impressed by (and in need of movies because they missed out on several months of production due to writers’ and actors’ strikes) that they retrofitted the series for theaters.

While that doesn’t fill us with hope for the sequel—re-editing a Disney sequel series into a standalone feature doesn’t exactly scream “everything’s under control”—there is some precedent for it. After all, Toy Story 2 started as a direct-to-video sequel, was promoted to a direct-to-theater sequel, and was made in nine months to meet its release date. So maybe one of the best animated sequels of all time will come out of this. Consider the coconut, Moana’s family uses each part of the tree. A Disney+ series is Disney’s coconut tree.