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Why Dwayne Johnson is the only returning Moana actor for a live-action remake

Why Dwayne Johnson is the only returning Moana actor for a live-action remake
Why Dwayne Johnson is the only returning Moana actor for a live-action remake



  • Dwayne Johnson's star power and physical resemblance to Maui make him an obvious choice for the live-action remake of Moana.
  • Original Moana actors like Auli'i Cravalho lost their roles, leading to recast decisions for the remake.
  • Despite several announced recasts, other original Moana actors could have reprized their roles for the live-action remake.

Dwayne Johnson is the only actor currently set to appear in the live-action Moana remake, and there are several reasons why no other cast members from the original film are returning. Johnson played Maui, the shapeshifter and demigod of wind and sea, in the original Moana in 2016. He was a fan favorite for both Maui as a character and for the song”You are welcome“, which has garnered more than 1.6 billion views on Youtube. Johnson's role in Moana was extremely popular, making him an obvious choice to reprise his role in the live-action remake.

Maui's popularity does not explain why other voice actors were not part of the film's cast. Moana redo, though. Disney live-action remakes often recast characters, but this is usually due to the time lapse between the original and the remake, and the search for actors who better portray their characters. Moana however, it does not have the same problems. Most of its original cast already consisted of actors of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, and the remake comes only 10 years after the original was first released. This makes it a little confusing that only Dwayne Johnson was able to reprise his role.


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Johnson was likely chosen to reprise his role as Maui because he will be able to lend a lot of his celebrity status and star power to the film. Moana redo. He has acted in major films, from Fast Furious franchise to hit films like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle And The Mummy returns. Johnson has also been a fairly consistent draw at the box office for the better part of two decades. Its popularity has recently plummeted, with films like Black Adam this failed to find a large audience, but he is still a household name. Moana might even end Johnson's box office drought.


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This is part of Disney's decision to keep Johnson for the live-action Moana, aside from its box office earnings, was probably due to how well it fit the character of Maui. In real life, Johnson looks like Maui, but without the same hair. Aside from Jason Momoa, there's really no other actor who could both match Maui's looks and give the film Johnson's level of popularity as an actor.. Johnson also had an advantage over Momoa early on, as he had performed in Maui before, and audiences would recognize his voice from the original. Moana.

Auli'i Cravalho no longer played Moana in live-action

Cady and Janis in the high school hallways in Mean Girls 2024

One of the other most original Moana Voice actors who seemed likely to return were Auli'i Cravalho, who voiced the titular Moana. Cravalho's voice was a central part of Moana's character, and her exceptional performance truly brought Moana to life.. Cravalho even returns to the role for the next Moana 2, so she seemed like a natural choice for the remake. She even made a name for herself outside of the world of animation, playing Janis in mean girls musical. It wasn't enough to land him a role in Moana remake, though, but there's a good reason for that.

The main reason Cravalho wasn't cast to reprise her role as Moana in live-action is probably because she's aged out of it. The original Moana was released on November 23, 2016, a day after Cravalho turned 16. But now, eight years have passed, Cravalho is 23, and she is too mature to convincingly play a young teenager.. Moana's age is a central part of her story, as her teenage rebellion contributed to her decision to leave Motunui. To keep this part of the story intact, the Moana The remake gave the role to Catherine Laga'aia, a 17-year-old actress.

Moana could have brought back other actors like Dwayne Johnson

While Cravalho has aged from his role, other actors from the original film Moana this is not the case, and they could have been recast for the live-action version. Temuera Morrison, for example, would have been a perfect choice. He played Chief Tui, Moana's father and leader of Motunui, in the original film. Moana. Morrison has obviously aged since 2016 (he's now 63), but since his character is already portrayed as being a long-established leader, his age isn't as significant as Moana's.. Nicole Scherzinger, who played Moana's mother Sina, could also have been recast, and she is even younger than Morrison, at just 45 years old.

Interestingly, Rachel House could also reprise her role as Gramma Tala, but she faces the opposite problem of Morrison and Scherzinger. At just 52 years old, House may be too young to play Gramma Tala in live-action.

Morrison and Scherzinger are said to have retained part of the original MoanaThe voice talent of in the live-action remake, but they were both recast instead. John Tui will now play the role of Chief Tui and Frankie Adams has been cast as Sina. Both Tui and Adams are younger than Morrison and Scherzinger, aged 49 and 30 respectively, which could help the Moana appeal again to a younger audience with younger parents. Tui and Adams also bring considerable talent to their roles, and while Disney could have opted for more original voice actors, the new live-action actors will likely be just as good.

Which other Moana cast members could return for the live-action remake

Besides the central characters of Moanathere are still some roles that have yet to be filled and could easily go back to their original voice actors. One of the issues that kept Cravalho, Morrison and Scherzinger from reprising their roles was the fact that they didn't necessarily match the ages of their children. Moana characters. There are several characters in Moana, however, where this would not be a problem. The remake will be live-action, but some characters, like Heihei and Tamatoa, would likely still be recreated in CGI, meaning they would only need voices.

Since their characters wouldn't require them to fit a specific appearance, Heihei and Tamatoa's voice actors Jemaine Clement and Alan Tudyk could still reprise their roles.. Their voices would make the remake closer to the original Moana, and they could give even more impressive performances in the same roles. Plus, there's another actor who could easily play another role in Moana: Lin-Manuel Miranda. He mainly worked on Moana as a singer and songwriter, but he also provided his voice for some minor characters, and Miranda may get a role in the remake.

Original Moana Cast Who Could Reprison Their Roles



Alan Tudyk


Jemaine Clement


Lin Manuel Miranda

Additional voices

Oscar Knightley


Troy Polamalu


Puanani Cravalho


There are several reasons why Dwayne Johnson is the only actor currently returning for live action Moana remake, but that doesn't mean it has to be the only one. As mentioned before, there are a few characters that wouldn't require their actors to look a certain way. There is also a strong possibility that some of the originals MoanaActors may return for appearances in different roles. Even if they do not appear in the Moana remake, however, these actors' contributions to the Moana story won't soon be forgotten.




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