After over a year since Disney+ confirmed the development of the Moana series, it looks like the project is still moving forward with Walt Disney Animation finally sharing a new major update about its current status. The studio has announced that story artist David G. Derrick Jr. has been tapped to direct the upcoming Disney+ series, which is expected to serve as a follow-up to 2016’s acclaimed animated film.
Just announced: David G. Derrick Jr. will direct Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Moana” series for @DisneyPlus. Derrick first joined Disney Animation to work on 2016’s Moana, which deepened his connection with his family’s Samoan roots. pic.twitter.com/0MslhBs9OD
— Disney Animation (@DisneyAnimation) January 21, 2022
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This marks Derrick’s latest collaboration with Disney, after first working on the storyboarding for some of Moana‘s iconic scenes. After that, he also went on to become the storyboard artist for 2019’s The Lion King film, Raya and the Last Dragon and Encanto.
“Working on Moana was a gift, personally and professionally,” Derrick said in a statement. “The film Moana caught and shared the spirit of Polynesia with the world. I am honored to continue her story and to celebrate the rich and beautiful cultures of the Pacific Islands.”
Set to debut in 2024, the Moana series is described as a long-form musical which will continue to follow the titular voyager after the events of the 2016 film. It will feature Moana as she ventures far beyond the reef and will see Walt Disney Animation connecting with storytellers from Moana’s home region of the Pacific Islands to continue to tell the authentic stories of wayfinding and other traditions brought to life for generations through oral storytelling.
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The Disney+ spin-off is set to be the first project out of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ newest facility in Vancouver, which will be opening soon this year.
The film was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. It starred Auliʻi Cravalho as Moana, and Dwayne Johnson as Maui, who go on an adventure together in hopes of returning the mystical relic to the goddess Te Fiti. The film was not only a commercial success with a gross of over $600 million, but it was also earned positive reviews from critics and had earned two Oscar nominations including Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.