Exciting news for Disney fans! Less than a decade after the enchanting original film’s release, The Walt Disney Company has officially announced a live-action reimagining of Moana. Originally released in 2016 by Walt Disney Animation Studios, Moana quickly captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. Earning over $687 million at the global box office and receiving two Academy Award nominations, including Best Animated Feature, the film established itself as a Disney classic, thanks to its rich animation, engaging storytelling, and unforgettable music by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

At the heart of Moana’s success was Auliʻi Cravalho’s vibrant portrayal of the titular character. Her performance, brimming with warmth, bravery, and humor, resonated deeply with fans. Dwayne Johnson’s memorable role as the shape-shifting demigod Maui also left a lasting impression. However, in a surprise move, Disney has recast the role of Moana for the live-action adaptation, selecting newcomer Catherine Laga’aia instead of Cravalho.

Although Dwayne Johnson will return as Maui, Cravalho, now 23 years old, shared her thoughts on not reprising her role, citing her age as a reason. Scheduling conflicts and her growing responsibilities as an executive producer also played a part. She expressed her excitement about the fresh talent stepping into Moana’s shoes, emphasizing that she remains deeply involved with the live-action project. Disney announced that 17-year-old Australian actress Catherine Laga’aia will play Moana, bringing her own enthusiasm and perspective to the role. “I’m honored to have an opportunity to celebrate Samoa and all Pacific Island peoples, and to represent young girls who look like me,” Laga’aia remarked (via Variety).

In related news, Cravalho will continue to be a part of the Moana universe, not only as the voice of Moana in the sequel film Moana 2 but also as a mentor to Laga’aia. Her role as an executive producer ensures that the integrity and spirit of the original film remain intact in the new rendition. This involvement signifies Cravalho’s dedication to ensuring that the character of Moana continues to inspire future generations.

Disney’s new Moana live-action remake, slated for a July 10, 2026 release, is breaking one of the studio’s long-standing “rules” by revisiting the animated classic so soon. This move underscores the story’s timeless appeal and the desire to bring Moana’s vibrant world to life in new and enchanting ways.

What do you think about this recasting decision? Are you excited about Catherine Laga’aia taking on the role of Moana? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Share your excitement and your favorite moments from the original film.

Source: [Variety](https://variety.com/2024/film/news/moana-live-action-catherine-lagaaia-1236035569/).