Is the first ‘Moana 2’ trailer seaworthy? Or is this one gonna sink?

I don’t have much faith in Disney’s series-to-movie sequel. PLUS: The title and cast unveiled for third ‘Knives Out,’ Seth Meyers talks ‘Day Drinking,’ and ‘Deadpool & Wolverine’ gets an obscene popcorn bucket.

Is the first ‘Moana 2’ trailer seaworthy? Or is this one gonna sink?
Heihei, Maui and Pua in Moana 2. / Walt Disney Animation Studios

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The first trailer for Moana 2 was released on Wednesday ... and I’m not feeling great about this one.

If you’ve read Popculturology for long enough, you know that I love Moana. It’s one of the best entries in Disney’s second renaissance. It’s a masterpiece on every level. The songs. The score. The animation. The voice performances.

Disney seems eager to recapture that magic with Moana 2. But based on the first trailer for the sequel, they might be trying too hard to copy what worked the first time.

Let's take a step back. Moana 2 was a surprise announcement from Disney CEO Bob Iger back in February. According to Iger and the studio, they were so pleased with how a Moana series for Disney+ was coming along, they decided to reconfigure the project into a theatrical release.

Based on this teaser trailer, we’re going to retread a lot of ground from the original Moana. The cave with the boats. The Kakamora armada. Maui joking about eating Heihei. Those story beats make a lot more sense when you remember that this movie began as a TV series. (A TV series that didn’t seem to include Auliʻi Cravalho and Dwayne Johnson as the voices of Moana and Maui. The duo weren’t on board until weeks after Iger’s announcement.) An animated series can get away with this kind of thing. A theatrical sequel, though, should be about moving the story forward.