Move over Snow White, Disney has a new heroine in town, and this one doesn't need a romantic entanglement with a prince.
At San Diego Comic-Con, Disney confirmed that its latest female protagonist to hit the silver screen, Moana, will not have a love interest. This is a huge first for the company, although it has slowly made strides with previous female protagonists in its animated properties.
Moana takes place in ancient Oceania in the South Pacific and follows a young woman who navigates the ocean in search of a fabled island. Her adventures bring her an ally in the legendary demi-god Maui.
Disney has a reputation of putting princesses on-screen as damsels in distress, often needing princes to help rescue them. From Snow White singing about how she expects her prince to turn up someday to Cinderella depending on Prince Charming to save her from her evil stepsisters to the Little Mermaid having her fate tied up on whether or not the prince loves her, the animated properties of Disney have often only offered young women's stories as they revolve around men.
That began changing with the release of The Princess and the Frog and Tangled: although both princesses in those movies had love interests, they were still self-rescuing to some extent. That led to Brave, where princess Merida outright rejects love interests proposed by her family. In Frozen, the main protagonist has no love interest, but her sister meets and falls in love with two men.
Moana breaks completely from that princess stereotype, though, and goes where no Disney animated female-led movie has gone before.
San Diego Comic-Con attendees also got a sneak peek at the new movie, including the first three minutes of the film, which showed Moana's grandmother telling the young heroine about the legend of Maui. Those few minutes also showed a young Moana as she first experiences the ocean and a grown-up Moana as she meets Maui for the first time.
Entertainment Weekly called the footage "vibrant, colorful, funny and surprisingly moving."
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson portrays Maui in the movie, and Disney confirmed that he does sing his own song in the movie. Firefly's Alan Tudyk also lends his voice to the film. Moana's directors are Ron Clements and John Musker (The Princess and the Frog). Newcomer Auli'i Cravalho provides Moana's voice.
Moana opens in theaters on Nov. 23.