On Dec. 10, 2023, the satirical Disney blog Mouse Trap News published an article that claimed the animated character "Moana" transitions "from a girl to a boy" in an upcoming sequel to her 2016 self-titled film. The purported plot line for the alleged "Moana 2: Rise of Kai" would make Moana Disney's first trans princess, according to the article. It read:
BREAKING: Moana To Be The First Transgender Disney Princess
The Walt Disney Company is putting inclusivity at the top of its agenda. They want to appeal more to people who don’t watch their movies over parents and children. This is why they now have Furry Days, men can be Disney princesses, and Elsa marrying a woman in Frozen 3. Disney is taking arguably the boldest approach yet by making Moana the first ever transgender Disney Princess. [...]
The movie Moana is all about Moana overcoming many challenges. However, in the movie, she is always struggling to find and understand her identity. She screams this to the audience in the popular song 'How Far I'll Go'. [...]
Essentially this song is a metaphor for Moana wanting to transition from a girl to a boy. [...] In Moana 2, she finally makes the transition.
Mouse Trap News also shared the story on TikTok, where the post went viral, gathering over 3 million views and 80,000 likes, as of this writing. Some comments on the TikTok video criticized Disney for the alleged plot line or expressed hope that the rumor about Moana was not true.
@mousetrapnews What do you think of this controversial move by Disney? #disneyworld #disneynews #moana #moana2 #disneyprincess ♬ How Far I'll Go - Auli'i Cravalho
The claim was not true. On its website, Mouse Trap News' About page describes itself as a satire site that writes "100% made-up stories for your enjoyment." it read:
What is Mouse Trap News?
Mouse Trap News is the world’s best satire site. We write fake stories about Disney Parks stuff. From Disney Park announcements to Disney Hotel and resort news to made-up Disney partnerships, you can be assured that anything you read here is not true, real, or accurate, but it is fun. So technically our slogan The Moused Trusted Name in Disney News isn’t true, but we thought it was creative and funny, so we are running with it.
As of this writing, there was no evidence of a sequel to "Moana" — that is, a full-length, animated film — being in production. However, in January 2022, Walt Disney Animation Studios announced in a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) that a new series about the character would one day be available for streaming via Disney+.
Just announced: David G. Derrick Jr. will direct Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Moana” series for @DisneyPlus. Derrick first joined Disney Animation to work on 2016's Moana, which deepened his connection with his family’s Samoan roots. pic.twitter.com/0MslhBs9OD
— Disney Animation (@DisneyAnimation) January 21, 2022
Meanwhile, in April 2023, Dwayne Johnson, who voiced the character Maui in the 2016 film, announced on Disney's YouTube channel that he would be producing and starring in an upcoming live-action remake of the movie.
The claim about Moana's gender identity was not the first rumor about queer representation in Disney films stemming from Mouse Trap News. In October 2023, we alerted readers to the satirical claim that the animated character Elsa would marry a woman in "Frozen III."
For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.