Disney have often been one for keeping their upcoming slate under wraps, but that carefully constructed veil is slowly - and largely without Disney's consent - being lifted. We've got lots of new plot and character details for Big Hero 6, ditto for Nathan Greno's Giants, and now a stunning new piece of concept art and some plot details for Ron Clements and John Musker's exciting next film!
The directors of The Little Mermaid and Aladdin's next project is the Polynesian folk-tale, Moana. The film is ostensibly Tiki-inspired and Pacific-set, and was recently reported to be a musical. Talk has also been abound that the film will be animated in a similar style to last year's Oscar-winning short film Paperman, which fused CG depth with hand-drawn lines. While you can't really see any of that from this new concept art, you can observe some stunning visuals and really vibrant colours.
UPDATE - 13/10/2013, 15:14 (GMT): Alas, John Musker recently confirmed in an interview with Indiewire's Animation Scoop that "it's far too early to apply the Paperman hybrid technique to a feature. The Meander digital in-betweening interface still has a host of production issues (including color) that need to be perfected."
"In some ways, it may be the tip of the iceberg in how there are ways that hand-drawn sensibilities can merge," said Musker. "And I think there will be other things that come out that find ways of fusing those." And the article adds that Musker is looking forward to "learning more about CG and making it work for Moana in an illustrative way."
Oh. Well never mind then.
The concept art, by Sue Nichols, comes from Animation Heroine; Bleeding Cool also provided us with some cool new plot details about the film:
[Moana's] an epic, or even mythic, adventure set around 2000 years ago and across a series of islands in the South Pacific.
The lead character, Moana Waialiki is the only daughter of a Chief in a long line of navigators. She’s really a bit of nerd, but a nerd about sea voyaging, and when her family need her help, she sets off on an epic journey. Some of the other characters are demi-gods and spirits drawn from real mythology.
The film looks like the thematic child of Lilo & Stitch and The Princess and the Frog, and sounds extremely exciting! Given that this is the latest from the makers of Hercules and all the aforementioned classics, expectations for Moana are running very high (indeed, expectations for all of Disney's upcoming slate are running very high) and it looks great so far.
Moana is expected in 2018, and had been previously aligned with Disney's pegged 8th March, 2018 release date.