In the same spirit that celebrated diversity in The Princess and the Frog, Ron Clements and John Musker have revealed their next Disney heroine – a Polynesian adventurer named Moana (Mo-AH-na) Waialiki. Disney made this announcement in the wake of the success of their latest feature, Frozen, which has already grossed $265 worldwide since its November 22nd release.
Earlier this year, Bleeding Cool wrote a piece on a scraped Disney adaptation of Terry Prachett’s Mort that Clements and Musker were working on. The duo were attempting to animate the film in the same, traditional hand-drawn animation style that they brought back for The Princess and the Frog. Sue Nichols, one of the Disney artists that was working on Mort, revealed that she was contacted by Clements and Musker after the project was scrapped to work on another project. Nichols posted the news on her website:
In 2011-2012, I was called back again by Ron Clements and Jon Musker to design some development ideas for the next story to replace the last one I can not talk about. Since this is the film they are currently developing, I once again can not say what it is until the movie starts production and hits the official press releases.
Nichols also discussed the look and feel that Clements and Musker are going for:
…a setting somewhere in the south pacific and a Tiki carving as a character… being developed in a new style of CG that’s somewhat like but certainly not identical to the techniques used on Paperman.
Paperman, the Disney animated short that won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short at the 85th Academy Awards, beautifully blended hand-drawn animation with CGI. The short can be seen on DVD and Blu Ray copies of Walt Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, but you can check the trailer out here:
Recently, Disney officially released a concept image and the official synopsis for Moana:
The combination of the beautiful art-style of Paperman with a non-fairy tale myth makes Moana an exciting concept for Walt Disney Animation Studios, who have arguably been a little more successful than their Pixar brethren these past few years. Will Moana bring Disney into another Golden Age? We’ll have to find out when it hits theaters in 2018.