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David D. Derrick Jr. to Direct ‘Moana: The Series’

Moana: The Series has found its director. Walt Disney Animation Studios revealed today that longtime animator David D. Derrick Jr. will direct. “Derrick first joined Disney Animation to work on 2016’s Moana, which deepened his connection with his family’s Samoan roots.,” said the studio.

“Working on Moana was a gift personally and professionally. The film Moana caught and shared the spirit of Polynesia with the world. I am honored to continue her story to celebrate the rich and beautiful cultures of the pacific islands.”

David D. Derrick Jr.

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Picking up where the 2016 feature film left off, the series follows the further adventures of the titular character in this long-form musical series. Auliʻi Cravalho is expected to reprise her role as Moana. As of now, it is unknown if Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, and Alan Tudyk will return, but the expectation is they will eventually appear at some point in the series.

The project was announced during the Disney investors meeting from Disney Animation CCO Jennifer Lee and stated that a series based on the film would stream on the service sometime in 2023. The release date was later pushed back to 2024. It is one of the first spin-offs to be produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios itself rather than the Disney Television Animation branch. The series will be the first project produced at Walt Disney Animation Studios Vancouver.

Before joining Disney, David D. Derrick Jr. previously worked on hit animated films including Bee Movie, How to Train Your Dragon, Megamind, and Rise of the Guardians. Following his work on Moana, he worked as a storyboard artist on Disney’s billion-dollar remake of The Lion King, Raya and the last Dragon, and last years Encanto.