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Live-Action ‘Moana’ Set to Break Longstanding Disney Tradition

Dwayne Johnson Moana role breaks Disney tradition
Credit: Disney/Columbia Pictures

When it comes to Disney movies lately, there is one thing that is certain, live-action remakes are making the company a lot of money, so there are a lot more coming down the pike. Over the years, Disney has seen wild success with remakes of classics like Cinderella (2015), Beauty and the Beast (2017), Aladdin (2019), and The Little Mermaid (2023).

The little mermaid disney+ movie disney company

Credit: Disney

With all the money that Disney has made off live-action remakes, it makes sense that the company will continue to make them. That’s why, in April 2023, during Disney’s annual shareholder’s meeting, Disney announced that it would be remaking the 2016 box-office hit, Moana. The Mouse House even brought in star Dwayne Johnson to share the news.

One of the more exciting parts of the Moana¬†live-action remake is that Johnson will be returning to reprise the role of the demigod, Maui. With that announcement, Disney officially broke from a longstanding tradition — having original actors return for the live-action remake.

Dwayne Johnson Moana remake

Credit: Disney

Related: ‚ÄúWoke‚ÄĚ Opposition Rejoices as Disney‚Äôs Latest Live-Action Remakes Decision Means They‚Äôre Finally Listening

Right now, only three people have transitioned from a role in a Disney animated film to the live-action remake — Jim Cummings and James Earl Jones. Cummings voiced Winnie the Pooh and Tigger in the animated films, and voiced them in 2018’s Christopher Robin. James Earl Jones was famously the voice of Mufasa in¬†The Lion King¬†(1994), and returned to voice him in the 2019 remake.

live action lion king

Credit: Disney

Related: Thousands of Fans Petition to See Influencer Star in Moana Live-Action Film

So, while Johnson won’t be the first actor to return to Disney for a live-action remake, he will be the first one to appear on the big screen.¬†Winnie the Pooh¬†and¬†The Lion King¬†used CGI to recreate the characters Cummings and Jones voiced. Since Maui was a demigod, Disney wouldn’t need to use CGI on the character to recreate him.

lion king (2019)

Credit: Disney

Related: Entering a New Era: How the Downfall of Live-Action Remakes Made Way for the Dawn of Disney Sequels

Disney live-action remakes have become quite controversial among Disney fans. While a lot of fans gripe and moan about “Disney’s originality”, that isn’t keeping them from heading to the theaters.¬†This past year was not a good one for Disney films, but the live-action Little Mermaid¬†made more than half a billion at the box office.

live-action little mermaid

Credit: Disney

Disney has a lot of live-action remakes getting ready to hit theaters. Snow White will hit theaters in 2025, after being pushed back a year. Then, in 2025, the studio giant is expected to release Lilo & Stitch. The Aristocats and Hercules are also in development. Disney was planning on making a live-action Hunchback of Notre Dame, but has since pulled the plug on that project.

Disney’s live-action Moana does not yet have a release date.

What is your favorite Disney live-action remake?

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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