Disney’s Moana movie now has a teaser trailer, which features its first Polynesian princess, Moana, who is voiced by newcomer Auli’i Cravalho, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as her unlikely travel companion Maui. While you might think the teaser would focus on the title character Moana, you would be wrong. The trailer is more of a presentation of Johnson’s character, the demigod Maui, who is trying to impress Moana.
“Feel the swell..the sky & the ocean are talking to you” ~ Maui
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) June 13, 2016
According to Yahoo Movies, not featuring the princesses in Disney movie trailers is a very specific marketing strategy designed to make the films seem “less girl-centric.” This strategy was adopted after the 2009 Disney film The Princess and the Frog underperformed at the box office.
The Moana movie revolves around the title character teaming up with Maui to find the long lost island she’s heard about in stories to help connect her to her heritage. During the journey, Moana will have to battle monsters of the deep and confront a vengeful land spirit. One thing her quest is not about, however, is finding her prince.
— Oh My Disney (@OhMyDisney) May 31, 2016
Hype has been building around Disney’s upcoming princess movie since it was announced that she would be the first Polynesian princess. With news that Hamilton star and writer Lin-Manuel Miranda would be doing the music for the film, that John Musker and Ron Clements (the duo behind The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Hercules) would be directing, and that Moana’s quest will not be about finding love like so many other princesses, fans cannot wait to see this one.
Johnson’s character, Maui, is an actual demigod in Hawaiian mythology, which helps bring authenticity to the story. At the D23 Expo in Anaheim last year, Johnson revealed that Maui was born human and raised by gods. He is able to shapeshift, and in the teaser trailer, we see him turn into an owl, and he has a magic hook. Moana will play a key role in Maui’s life, helping the troubled character find his true self. It was also revealed that Johnson would sing and rap in the movie.
Often times with Disney movies, the sidekicks and pets steal the show (remember Olaf and Sven from Frozen?), and it looks like Moana comes with its own show-stealing animals. Accompanying Moana and Maui on their adventure will be a pig named Pua and a chicken named Hei Hei. Social media has been buzzing about Pua’s debut in the teaser trailer, with many saying the pig is one of the main reasons they want to see the film.
Two main reasons to see Moana:
1.) It’s a Disney movie
2.) She has a pet pig need I say more pic.twitter.com/7QkRwI9W6N
— Emily Kreiswirth (@EmilyKreis) June 15, 2016
— Susanne (@SusanneWhite) June 13, 2016
Other than Johnson and Cravalho, there hasn’t been a whole lot in the way of casting news for Moana. We know that Alan Tudyk, who has voiced characters in Zootopia, Big Hero 6, and Frozen, will be voicing a character, but we do not know any details. He has previously voiced the characters of villains in Wreck-It-Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero 6, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will be a bad guy again.
The Moana movie hits theaters November 23, 2016, and if early social media buzz is any indication, this one is going to be a hit!
[Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Fast Company]