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Fan art for the upcoming Disney Princess movie Moana has been popping up all over the internet, before we even have a real character design. At Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA this weekend, I got a chance to chat with directors Ron Clements and John Musker, and producer Osnat Shurer, as well as Dwayne Johnson, who will voice the role of the demigod Maui.

Johnson told us about Maui. “The character of Maui is a demigod and he has issues, like most adults in Disney movies. Like myself as well. There is a greater lesson to be taught and learned here, and some of the greatest lessons are taught by Moana. To empower this young girl is really a beautiful thing. The storytelling is really fantastic. For me, personally, when I started fifteen years ago, I wanted to be in the Disney family, I wanted to make an animated classic. It was so far-fetched, but it was still a goal. So to be here now, fifteen years later, still as handsome as ever,” he laughed, “is such a cool thing … he’s extremely confident. He’s extremely arrogant, he thinks the world owes him. He gets put in his place, I’ll just say that.”

The filmmakers told us that this was a very different thing for them, working with CGI. They said that the ocean reflects what’s going on in the story. They also said that Maui’s tattoos are hand drawn and move around Maui’s body, which they thought was really cool. They also said that this is a classic heroes journey, and that they were very influenced by the work of Joseph Campbell. They were excited that people have been responding to the idea of Moana and that they spent a lot of time in the Pacific Island, trying to get it all right and make things accurate. They said that

Moana will hit theaters on November 23, 2016.

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Jenna Busch

Jenna Busch is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Legion of Leia and has hosted and written for sites like Nerdist, ComingSoon.net, Metro, Birth. Movies. Death., IGN, AOL, Huffington Post and more. She co-hosted Cocktails With Stan with the legendary Stan Lee and has appeared on Attack of the Show, Fresh Ink, Tabletop with Wil Wheaton, in the documentary She Makes Comics, on NPR and Al Jazeera America, and has covered film/TV/gaming/comics for years. She's currently a co-host on Most Craved. She's been published in the comics anthology Womanthology, is a chapter author for Star Wars Psychology: Dark Side of the Mind, Game of Thrones Psychology and Star Trek Psychology and more, and owns a terrifying amount of swords and 20-sided dice. There are also those My Little Pony trailer voice overs that give one nightmares.

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