Disney has revealed the director for the Moana television series.
David G. Derrick Jr. has been announced as the director of the Disney+ series, which will serve as a sequel to the original film. Derrick has worked as a storyboard artist on Disney films such as Raya and the Last Dragon and the Lion King remake. He first joined the House of Mouse with Moana, which “deepened his connection with his family’s Samoan roots,” according to Disney. Derrick issued a statement in conjunction with the announcement, saying “Working on Moana was a gift, personally and professionally. 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.”
Moana, which was released in 2016, told the story of its eponymous Disney Princess (Auli’i Carvalho). When an ancient curse reached her Polynesian island, Moana set out to find the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) to break the curse and save her people. The story, cast, music, and representation of Pacific Island cultures all received praise. Moana was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Original Song and Best Animated Feature, but lost to La La Land and Zootopia, respectively.
A Moana series was first debuted in December 2020 at the Disney Investors Day Conference. The show will take place after the film and will continue Moana’s musical story now that she is the chieftain and wayfinder of her tribe. The show was originally scheduled to premiere in 2023, but the date was later pushed back to 2024.
Baymax!, a spin-off to 2014’s Big Hero 6, was also announced at the conference, focusing on the day-to-day activities of the well-meaning medical droid. The first trailer for the series was released in November 2021, and the series is set to premiere in the summer of 2022. Zootopia and Tiana are two other projects that are spin-offs of previous films, with the latter based on 2009’s The Princess and the Frog.
In terms of original IP projects, Disney Animation is also working on the science-fiction series Iwáj with the Pan-African entertainment company Kugali Media. The show, which will be set in Lagos, Nigeria, will deal with themes such as “class, innocence, and challenging the status quo.” “Iwáj [which means ‘the future’ in Yoruba] represents a personal childhood dream of mine to tell my story and that of my people,” Kugali co-founder Hamid Ibrahim said of the project.
In 2024, the Moana series will be available on Disney+.