Disney announces surprise Moana sequel, due to hit theaters this year


'Moana 2' was initially developed as TV series, but the studio was so 'impressed' by the footage it decided to turn it into a cinematic follow-up

Disney announces surprise Moana sequel, due to hit theaters this year

Disney will release Moana 2 later this year.

The studio has announced a sequel to the original beloved animated blockbuster — which was released in 2016 and starred Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Aulii Cravalho — and fans don't have to wait long until the November 27 release date.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement: "Moana remains an incredibly popular.

"We can't wait to give you more of Moana and Maui when Moana 2 comes to theaters this November."

The project was originally set to be a TV series, but Iger was so impressed with the footage that the decision was made to go with a feature film theatrical release.

Disney added that the sequel will take fans on an "expansive new voyage with Moana, Maui and a brand-new crew of unlikely seafarers".

The studio teased: "After receiving an unexpected call from her wayfinding ancestors, Moana must journey to the far seas of Oceania and into dangerous, long-lost waters for an adventure unlike anything she's ever faced."

Music will come from duo Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, alongside Opetaia Foa'i and Mark Mancina, who worked on the original film, with Dave Derrick Jr. set to direct.

However, Lin-Manuel Miranda — who penned classic tracks How Far I'll Go and You're Welcome for the first movie — is not set to write new songs for Moana 2.

The upcoming sequel is separate from Disney's planned live action remake, which will see Dwayne Johnson reprise his role as tattooed demigod Maui.

And while Auli'i Cravalho is set to reprise her role as Moana in the animated sequel, she won't be bringing the character to the screen in the live action project.

She previously wrote on Instagram: "I believe it is absolutely vital that casting accurately represents the characters and stories we want to tell.

"I can't wait to find the next actress to portray Moana's courageous spirit, undeniable wit and emotional strength."