“Dwayne Johnson and Zendaya Star in Live-Action Moana Reimagining”

By | July 29, 2023



Dwayne Johnson and Zendaya have sparked excitement with a fan-made trailer for the upcoming live-action remake of Disney’s Moana. Although the cast has not yet been officially announced, Johnson is expected to reprise his role as Maui. However, original Moana actress Auli’i Cravalho will not be starring in the remake, instead serving as an executive producer. The trailer, featuring Zendaya as Moana, has gone viral on social media platforms, accumulating hundreds of thousands of views. The live-action Moana is expected to hit screens in June 2025. Inside the Magic reported

Actor Dwayne Johnson as the character Maui (left) and Actress Zendaya as character MJ (right)

Picture Credit: Cinematic Pro Studio, YouTube (left) / Marvel Studios (right)


About four months back, Disney CEO Bob Iger and film star Dwayne Johnson, known for his role in Black Adam, formally revealed that the tale of Moana and Maui would be returning to cinemas in a live-action adaptation. Today, a trailer featuring Johnson and Zendaya as the main character is trending online.

Moana Live-Action Reimagining

Characters Moana and Maui
Image Credit: Disney

The live-action production efforts of The Walt Disney Company continue to progress. In May, the company launched the latest in its series of remakes, The Little Mermaid (2023), featuring Halle Bailey as the titular mermaid, Ariel. Disney’s live-action adaptations have received mixed reviews over time, but it’s clear that the company is dedicated to continuing the series.

Return of Moana and Maui

In early April, CEO Bob Iger, who had returned to his role, joined actor and former wrestler Dwayne Johnson to announce that Moana (2016) would be getting a live-action remake. Johnson, who recently played Frank Wolff in Jungle Cruise (2021), confirmed that beloved characters from the Disney animation such as Moana, Maui, Hei Hei, Pua, Gramma Tala, and Te Fiti would make a comeback in the remake.

Moana (Auliʻi Cravalho) and Maui (Dwayne Johnson) holding an oar
Image Credit: Disney

Fan Reactions to Moana Live-Action Announcement

Even though the announcement of a live-action Moana is less than ten years old, it has sparked both criticism and support from fans. Some praised Disney for re-engaging Johnson for the remake, while others criticized the studio’s decision to revamp the animated classic so soon. This also sparked more debates about Disney’s lack of original storytelling and its excessive focus on retelling stories.

Upon its release, scheduled for June 2025, Moana will join a list of other Disney remakes, including Alice in Wonderland (2010), Maleficent (2014), Cinderella (2015), The Jungle Book (2016), Beauty and the Beast (2017), Dumbo (2019), Aladdin (2019), The Lion King (2019), Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019), Mulan (2020), Pinocchio (2022), and The Little Mermaid.

Dwayne Johnson as Frank Wolff in 'Jungle Cruise'
Image Credit: Disney

Update on Moana’s Casting

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As of now, the official cast has not been confirmed, including Johnson’s character Maui, although it is likely he will return as the demigod. Earlier this year, Auli’i Cravalho, who voiced Moana, announced on Instagram that she would not be acting in the live-action remake but would serve as an executive producer.

This leaves a chance for a new actress to portray Moana, and a new trailer has emerged online featuring well-known actress Zendaya as the lead character, alongside Johnson’s Maui.

It should be noted that this is a fan-made “teaser trailer” and is not an official Disney product. But this hasn’t prevented the trailer from going viral on social media. The video above has over 100,000 views on YouTube, and on TikTok, the trailer has received tens of thousands of likes and views.

Despite being unofficial, fans have either believed it to be true or wished that Zendaya, best known for her roles as MJ in the Spider-Man series and Rue in HBO’s Euphoria, should play Moana. However, it’s unlikely that she will. When announcing that she wouldn’t be playing Moana in live-action, Cravahlo stated, “It is absolutely vital the casting accurately represents the characters and stories we want to tell. I’m truly honored to pass this baton to the next young woman of Pacific Island descent to honor our incredible Pacific peoples, cultures, and communities that help inspire her story, and I look forward to all the beautiful Pacific representation to come.”

Moana holds an oar.