How far did Moana go from the initial drawing-board version? Fans who snapped up $565 million worth of tickets worldwide might not recognize the story of the plucky teen wayfarer as originally conceived.
With the Oscar-contending animated hit heading home (the Digital HD version arrives Tuesday while the Blu-ray/DVD hits shelves on March 7), Yahoo Movies has an exclusive deleted scene (watch it above) that shows how the title heroine evolved as a character.
As they set up the clip, directors Ron Clements (the one with the beard) and John Musker reveal where it originally had fit in the film.
“This is a very early scene in the movie, where Moana had six older brothers,” says Clements, “and this was a showcase for Moana’s sailing proficiencies and how she really kind of outdoes her brothers.”
“We lost her brothers and wanted to make her less proficient when she was sailing so this scene went away,” adds Musker. “But it’s a fun scene.”
“The scene went away as did her six older brothers,” says Clements. “Somehow she became an only child and probably is much happier as an only child.”
The “Lost Brothers” deleted scene is one of seven included on the home edition, along with a Lin-Manuel Miranda tune, “Warrior Face,” that also wound up on the cutting-room floor.
As Musker and Clements explained earlier to Yahoo Movies, they ultimately decided the film is about Moana’s journey of self-discovery and empowerment and the story was streamlined accordingly. For example, the directors said an early iteration of the story had Maui performing more heroics in the climactic battle, but, after discussing with some female coworkers, the filmmakers realized Moana didn’t need Maui’s help in defeating the vengeful goddess Te Kā. Likewise, the subplot with her battling a half-dozen brothers for the attention of their chieftain father felt superfluous.
Disney is notorious for its intense story-vetting process, with many films undergoing radical changes, and Moana is no exception. Musker and Clements, whose joint credits include Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and The Princess and the Frog, told us earlier that the heroine’s breakout sidekick, the daft rooster Heihei, was almost excised from the film because they had trouble figuring out how best to organically fit him in the story.
In addition to the excised scenes and song, the Digital HD and Blu-ray versions of Moana will include the Maui-Moana short “Gone Fishing,” the theatrical short “Inner Workings,” music videos, making-of featurettes, director’s commentary, and a guide to the film’s Easter eggs.
Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda freestyle about Disney princesses:
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