First Look: Disney’s Next Princess Movie

Published January 23, 2014 by Disneyways.com

Moana

Spoiler alert! We’ve got the inside scoop on Disney’s next Princess. While I am sure none of what you read here has been formally announced by Disney, I feel that my sources are pretty reliable, namely the Huffington Post and some others. The movie is not estimated to release until 2018, and a lot can change between now and then… but I think this is fun information that was too good not to share, and I hope you’ll agree.

First let’s talk story. This highly anticipated Disney princess movie is set to be an epic, or even mythic, adventure set around 2000 years ago. The setting will be across a series of islands in the South Pacific. The lead character, our princess, Moana Waialiki, is the only daughter of a Chief, and she comes from a long line of navigators. She’s a nerd about sea voyaging – so when her family needs her help, she sets off on an epic journey. “Moana” has been described as a “Polynesian musical” and it is said that the animation and music will go along with that theme. Mark Mancina will reportedly serve as the project’s musical composer. Typical of many of Disney’s “magical” movies, some of the other characters supporting Princess Moana are demi-gods and spirits drawn from real mythology.

(Hello again Hercules!)

While the studio doesn’t seem to have settled entirely on the overall look of the animation, Moana is expected to use some new, ambitious techniques. John Musker and Ron Clements, who were the directors of Treasure Planet and The Little Mermaid, are expected to have some pretty cool tricks up their sleeves for this movie. Remember how Paperman tried a new blend of the hand-drawn and the digital?

Here is a refresher in case you’ve forgotten:

Beautiful, isn’t it? I hope we get to see something like that again. The good news is that artists behind Moana have been playing around with similar, yet different, cutting edge software and systems. They are testing how much is ready for application to a full-length feature. Musker has said that “it’s far too early to apply the Paperman hybrid technique to a feature,” stating that the technique still has many complications (including color use) to sort out before it can be used for a full-length film. I think with all this time on their side, they can make it happen though – don’t you?

There’s no evidence of the technique here in the concept art (see below) but it’s still an interesting tease of some of the style, even if it is only in an early development phase. Disney has denied that this concept art is for Moana, however that may not be the case. If you remember, Disney denied that many leaked Frozen concept art pieces were real, but in the end they were released as official. In their defense, it is possible that what Disney meant was that the concept art no longer reflects what the film will look like, as the creators may have overhauled it. Such a situation is common in movie development, especially for movies that will not be out for half a decade. The concept art for Moana that you see below was found on an official Disney artist’s website, under a section where she talks about Moana. Additionally, notice that the concept art has the artist’s signature on it.

moana2

Below is a painting by Paul Gauguin that is said to be serving as an inspiration for Moana.

moana3

We can end here by saying we’re a long way out from Moana, with its release unlikely to happen before 2018. We have lots of time to speculate and dream about what will come of it. The look of the film could change quite a bit in the meantime, and that’s always worth bearing in mind. Regardless, I think Moana is a wonderful concept, and shaping up to be really quite tremendous. Only the next 5 years will tell! In the meantime I am perfectly happy to play my Frozen soundtrack over and over and relish in my new favorite character of all time, Queen Elsa.

What are your thoughts on all this? Please leave me your comments below!

If you enjoyed this post be sure to check out Solving the Mystery Surrounding the Rapunzel Tower in new Fantasyland and our entire collection of World Secrets!

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