Film Theory: Disney Moana’s SECRET Identity REVEALED! (Moana)

Film Theory: Disney Moana’s SECRET Identity REVEALED! (Moana)

In Disney’s Moana we see former wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson play Maui, a powerful Polynesian Demi-God. THAT makes sense. But who knew he could sing? Well, old school wrestling fans. That’s who. The Rock: Bright light city gonna set my soul! Gonna set my soul on fire! So viva Rock Vegas! Viva Rock Vegas indeed. From THAT to highest earning actor in the world, oh man, you have come a long way, Dwayne. Hello internet! Welcome to Film Theory, where Rock? uhh, Mr. Rock? Dwayne? Can I call you Dwayne? If you’re watching Dwayne, no need to thank me for dredging up all those old embarrassing clips. What else can I say except for you’re welcome? Segue way to Moana! The new Disney classic that needs no introduction. There’s a lot to love with Moana, from the gorgeous visuals, to songs written by the guy who made musicals cool again, Lin-Manuel Miranda, to a chicken obviously named after the guy reminding us that this is library. Hey! Hey! This is library! *BAWK* *BAWK* Or just me impersonating a Valley Girl. Hey, hey! While Lilo & Stitch give us a small glimpse of Hawaiian culture, Moana really feels like it’s celebrating the legends and traditions of all of Polynesia. Stories that have been almost completely absent in pop culture history. Now if you’re a regular watcher this series you might be thinking to yourself: Yeah yeah MatPat, talk all you want about how nice this movie is, I just know that you’re gonna tell me that Moana is the devil, or that Maui is a serial killer, or that the pig is actually Moana’s brother, and you know what? I can’t blame you for that dear theorist. In the recent past my theories on lighthearted animated movies have tended to stray a bit to the dark side. But you’ve judged me too quickly because for today’s Moana theory I turned over a new leaf. I tried something different and I focused on something positive. And after looking at all the fantastical elements of Moana as well as some Polynesia mythology my theory ended up being Moana is dead. Oh I’m like the living embodiment of dark Kermit! But seriously there are some weird happenings going on in Moana’s little boating adventure that need an explanation. The first and biggest red flag that set off my theorist sense was that she’s able to follow Maui into Lalotai, the realm of monsters. I mean at the very least this extended fall into the water should kill her. The surface tension of water makes landing on it from a very high place like landing on concrete! And the movie even makes multiple jokes about how long the fall is and the fact that she should be dead after it. Maui: Well, she’s dead. Sure all this is fine for Maui because he’s a demigod. But it just seemed like something that a human shouldn’t be able to do. So I looked it up and learned that in early drafts of the movie Lalotai is described as a place for ancestral spirits, i.e. THE DEAD. And the directors of the movie John Musker and Ron Clements still refer to it as the underworld in the special features of the film. *First entered the underworld* So my fears about the scene weren’t getting any better, but I swear to you internet, I was determined to stay positive! Maybe in Polynesian myths humans can go to the underworld. So I dug even deeper and learned that the Polynesian underworld is usually called Pulotu rather than Lalotai. And according to William Mariner, an English writer who lived in Tonga in the early 19th century, Pulotu was said to be both invisible and inaccessible to mortals. We even get a hint of that in the movie when Tamatoa, the giant coconut crab, expresses confusion about Moana’s presence in Lalotai, asking her: “what are you doing down here in the realm of the monst- just pick an eye babe.” So that was red flag number one, add to it the fact that Moana frequently sees the spirit of her dead grandmother Tala and you’ve got yourself no ordinary day for a mere mortal. There’s even a scene in the movie that could definitely have killed her, the first time Moana tries to sail beyond the reef her boat gets overturned by a large wave. She’s then tossed into the water, the canoe bonks her on the head and her foot gets stuck under a piece of coral. I mean I’m no doctor but getting smacked in the head by a piece of wood then getting trapped under water for an extended period of time seems pretty bad for your health. And from that point forward Moana seems like she’s impervious to harm. Look I’m not even having to dig into genetics or weird scientific connections. This one is out right handed to me! Kind of. You see on the surface the idea of Moana being dead is interesting and would make for a great clickbait thumbnail, but if we look again the evidence doesn’t hold up. For instance if that reef crash is indeed the moment where she passes on, then the people in her village are interacting with a ghost for an awfully long amount of time like it’s no big deal. And interacting is one thing but making a teenage ghost girl your next chief, THAT is where I draw the line. Also it’s worth noting that the whole thing about her talking to her grandmother’s spirit is rooted in Polynesian legend. According to anthropologist Zachary Graves in traditional Polynesian culture ghosts are often thought to interact with the living, whether for good or for evil. And if they’re both dead why is grandma a glowing white spirit thingy and Moana is just… Moana? The theory just falls apart. And yet there’s something fishy still going on because let’s face it. None of this explains my initial concern. Why Moana can go to Lalotai, survive that fall into the underworld, land of ancestors, realm of monsters, Moana may not be dead, but she is something so I kept digging. Determined to figure out what exactly was going on and I found out that my original theory of her being dead couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact when I step back to look at all the evidence she’s the exact opposite of being dead. Moana is a god. Well, demigod, actually she’s just like Maui. Let me explain. First Moana’s relationship with the water is a bit weird, right? After decades of the heart of Te Fiti being missing the ocean just chooses Moana? What, because she saved a baby turtle? I don’t think so, who wouldn’t save a cute baby sea turtle? It just seems… weird. Why her and why now? What makes Moana so special? More on that in a minute. Also the ocean’s treatment of her is pretty inconsistent. She almost drowns in her first boating adventure but after that moment she’s virtually invulnerable to the sea. Every time Maui throws her off the boat she gets thrown right back on, when she asks the sea to help her find Maui, yes she gets caught in a storm, but it’s a storm that washes her up on the shore of Maui’s island. And every time the heart of Te Fiti goes into the drink the ocean spits it right back at her like a big petrified lougie. Yeah we’re making flem jokes, when I wrote it I thought it was funny but now looking back, it snot. It snot at all. Anyhow all of these demonstrate how Moana and the sea are BFFs but the one moment that’s really striking is at the very end of the movie when SPOILER ALERT Moana orders the ocean to MOVE FISH, GET OUT DA WAY! So that she can confront Teka and the water parts right in front of her to clear a path on the ocean floor. Now obviously this is very reminiscent of the iconic scene in the Bible where Moses parts the Red Sea with the divine power of god on the side. And if this was what the movie was referencing it would hurt my case from Moana being a demigod since Moses is a mortal, but remember we’re talking about Polynesian beliefs, drawing a parallel to a Bible verse here doesn’t a whole lot of sense, what WOULD really help me out though is if there were some sort of similar story from Polynesian mythology, and wouldn’t you know it, I’ve got one. One Hawaiian legend tells of Kaneapua, who’s described as a god with a human form who was able to cause water to flow from rocks and make a safe passage across the sea. Now Maui certainly doesn’t have that kind of power, if he did he could’ve escaped from his island long before his thousand-year exile was up. So it seems likely that the one calling the shots here is Moana herself. The second thing that points to Moana being more than human is simply her name. The name Moana means ocean or deep sea in a few of the pacific languages, from Maori to Hawaiian. And while the sea could’ve chosen Moana because it’s like “Hey girl we got the same name so I’m gonna send you on a quest, it’s much more likely that Disney’s continuing the Polynesian pattern of having deities whose names are the things that they’re gods of. For example, Tawhiri is the Maori god of wind and storms. Translated the name Tawhiri means wind. Pele is a Polynesian god of fire whose name means volcano and Rang is a god of the sky whose name means, say it with me now, Skittles. Sorry I was just making sure you’re paying attention. Of course it mean sky Now maybe writers of Moana simply aren’t very creative and arbitrarily chose a name that means water, but does that sound like Disney or is it more likely that the creators of this movie who literally formed a whole oceanic trust of advisors to make sure they honored the culture their movie was portraying chose the kind of name that would be given to a demigod of the sea? Still, all this leaves us with one problem. Demigods don’t just come out of nowhere. Either they’re born to divine parents or else they’re somehow created. Like Maui when his parents tossed him into the sea and he presumably died so maybe that means Moana die- NO! Stop it! I’ve turned from that road and I’m not looking back! Part three of the evidence that Moana isn’t mortal, and prepare to have your mind blown, is about her lineage. Now both of Moana’s parents, Tui and Sina, appear to be mortals. But that’s not quite the end of the story. For starters, grandmother Tala, with whom Moana has a particularly close relationship, might not be mortal herself. Tala is the name of the goddess of the stars in tagalog myth And oh would you look at that, she just so happens to use the stars to demonstrate to Moana how she can find Maui. Now obviously that’s incidental but get ready, cuz here’s the doozy. Moana’s mother’s name is Sina. *John Cena theme song* Completely unrelated. Sina happens to be the name of a famous maiden from Polynesian mythology. This maiden was loved by an eel, but Sina the maiden was like “EEWWW GROSSS EEL LOVE” and reported the problem to her husband, who then killed the eel and buried its carcass. From that dead eel sprang the coconut tree. And thus coconuts came into the world. Does that sound like a familiar story? It should because it’s a story that Maui sings about in the song You’re Welcome. Oh yeah and did I mention that Sina’s husband in that legend is named Maui? And not just some dude named Maui, but the trickster demigod. Tui, you are not the father! *audience cheers* Remember that Moana’s “father”, the chief, is the one who forbids her to sail beyond the reef, but when her mother discovers that she’s going to sail off secretly into the night, she says nothing. She actually helps Moana pack her things and sends her on her way. That always felt like such a weird moment to me, but it makes a whole lot more sense when her mother sees this dangerous voyage as inevitable. Moana as a demigod being compelled to go out and accomplish greater things, and along the way, find her real father. and along the way find her real father A father who’s immortal blood is the key to her own powers over the ocean. That’s right, Moana is the daughter of Maui. Now I admit no where was I able to find that Moana is the name of the child of Maui and Sina, so getting a hundred percent confirm status on this is impossible unless one of the creators of the movie steps forward and says YAY. But I was able to find one last mind blow for you that rockets this thing into the stratosphere. One of the children Sina and Maui did have was named Kamapua’a. And this wasn’t just any ordinary kid, according to the lore it actually looked like a pig. Huh. Ever wonder why the people of Montonui didn’t eat Moana’s pet pig if they had no fish and failing crops? Well that pig’s name is Pua, which sounds an awful lot like it’s short for Kamapua’a. That’s right, the pig in Moana is indeed Moana’s brother! Talk about your weird family tree. So there you have it, no serial killers, no devils, but a pig that’s related to our latest Disney princess and a hidden god-like lineage that Moana will never know about. But hey, that’s just a theory. A film theory! AAAAND cut. Ring the subscription bell my friends, not only do I cover Disney theories like literally all the time, but also I think I deserve it after this one. Polynesian mythology isn’t the easiest thing to research, but we managed to do it and come up with a really cool theory that honestly I think is a hundred percent true so RING THAT BELL, and hey if you’re in the mood for another Disney theory click right here. And last but not least that box on the right of the screen is supposed to be best for your viewing experience. Let me know what shows up there, I’m trying to figure out what YouTube is actually serving up to you guys. Trying to figure out what these weird mechanisms that YouTube is rolling out, what they do and how they work, so tell me what’s in that box and hey, if you like it click on it, go watch that episode, I hope it’s a good one, I hope they’re right that it is the best one for you Now anyway if you’ll excuse me I gotta go and actually go to travel for a couple weeks. But there’s still theories coming up on stuff that is a little bit more mature. Uhh, we’re getting some more mature stuff in the next couple weeks, so… that’ll be fun! Enjoy Moana!

David Anderson

Related Posts

100 thoughts on “Film Theory: Disney Moana’s SECRET Identity REVEALED! (Moana)

  1. lovria1 says:

    Yeah Moana the ocean DID help you

  2. momby sims says:

    Dude it's only a movie cartoon for kids so there are not a lot of logics in there -_-

  3. Marx Noname says:

    i hawe an easter egg in this viedo it is that you sed your gonna say in the episode that moana has abrother pig and she does hawe a brothe pig i solwed a mistery i guess o-o

  4. Marx Noname says:

    i guess thats not an ester egg LOL

  5. Wolf pack Member says:

    Inhale inhale brother is pig eeEEEEE

  6. FarhanPlayzYT says:

    My surname was in the dart board its ALA

  7. Justice Gutting says:

    Geezus I'm way to confused

  8. Carno Raptor says:

    Moana has a good cook as a dad then…

  9. Carno Raptor says:

    Moui: Can you smell what the rock is cooking
    Moana : Pig?

  10. Peachy Vibes says:

    T A L A I S F I L I P I N O.
    A N D I O O P.

  11. Nobilis Vaga says:

    Well all the fan art and extended universe content about those two getting together just took a creepy turn

  12. Eddy Johns says:

    Did you know that Polynesia is near hawii and there is a island called Maui in the hawian islands. So it could be a possibility that Maui was stranded in Hawaii

  13. eimaan ali says:

    ya true

  14. Olga Perez Cardenas says:

    The heart of tefiti keeps her safe when she goes to the realm of monsters

  15. Catherine Clayton says:

    Two problems with moana being moais daughter, where did the other guy come from, and disneys probly gonna try to set up a romance between them in a sequel.

  16. flashington lololol says:

    Move fish get out the way get out the way fish get out the way

  17. Amir Lleshi says:

    Moana is like muia becuse she dead

  18. Ryan Eysele says:

    Super dope theory I'm with you

  19. sugar guns says:

    Matpat : " or the pig is moanas brother !! "
    Me : " awh cmon matpat !!!! That wouldve been an amazing theory !!!!! "

  20. Alison Campbell says:

    MP: moana is dead.
    All us theorists: yup seems about right…

  21. alpha_omeka says:

    This theory went downhill so fast 😂😂

  22. Randy Duquene says:

    Banjo music for Maui and Moana shippers

  23. GalaxyPlayzz says:

    anyone else gettung triggered by the fact tha he says polynesian instead of maori XD

  24. xXx_n00b_slayer_xXx says:

    the yachts were going into moana's breasts when matpat was saying she's dead

  25. LIme Man says:

    This episode got me thinking wheater what's the difference between drugs and may pay theorys

  26. Sam Keo says:

    I was eating skittle while whatching this

  27. Brendon is my religion says:

    Boy I fucking shipped her with her own dad

  28. Aimi Akemi says:

    Meaning… Cena is married to Dwayne!

  29. J Smith says:

    9:32 moana's mom is john CENA

  30. Xiylaq says:

    Me when an animal (or Koro Sensei from Assassination Classroom): Cries so much could drown in tears

    Me when a human dies: Yeah… happens

  31. Lizard Guy85 says:

    OMG I was right he was going to tell me that the pig is related to Moana

  32. Mist Mtkafka says:

    Oh shit I shouldn’t have made fun of moana

  33. 100pushups 100situps says:

    No she played minecraft therefore she lived

  34. My penis is small, but says:

    This video: Exists
    Moana x Maui fanfictions: Intense sweating

  35. SnApple says:

    Does that sound like disney?

    Disney remakes: well, now it does.

  36. Maury Galaviz says:

    he said we

  37. Masan Loy says:

    Moana:chiefs daughter
    Mat pat:Demi god

  38. LoL I’m water says:

    Soooo… Film Therorist was on crack the entire time

  39. flame star says:

    is thanos worthy

  40. Tara Lucas says:

    Well she might have died when she tried to set sail but her spirit wanted to keep growing so her lifeless body was growing around DEAD but her spirit ALIVE

  41. wolf oow says:

    You are not the father 😂🤣

  42. DerpyFaceAnime-tions says:

    I think that the giant Mountain girl with the heart of life that Maui stole in the beginning of movie is Moana's relative also. Ever notice they look like twins (Well their faces do) plus the one girl is so nice to Moana like she knew her or something so I mean



  43. Rudolf Hanikel says:

    Maui is dead, because every one was Immortal before He died and death is obviosly a Thing in the world of Moana so Maui is dead i ques it is Impossible to don't find Out the some dark Secrets while watching an Disney Movie

  44. Coffee says:

    And then there's Wreck-it Ralph 2. That movie shows Moana controlling water, not just the ocean. But that movie ain't canon to anything.

  45. Scott Divine says:

    i give 1 sin for this thumbnail

  46. Charlotte Fudge says:

    Mat explains theory
    Me: Or… it’s just a Disney movie for kids aged 3+ (not hate it’s just a joke)

  47. Galactic Spud says:

    This was the first ever film theory I ever watched. It was when Moana just came out. Now I watch every vid and stream #megafan

  48. Wking Reyes says:

    Wait you watch devilartimis

  49. Flaverfullicecream says:

    How would Maui be Moana's dad in the timeline of the movie if he was on a deserted island for 1,000 years?

  50. Gacha LilaSpirit says:

    “-Tagalog myth”

    Me, a Pilipino: You called me???

  51. Yu Han Tay says:

    Hold on… at 5:00, isn't the book talking about Greek mythology?
    Granted, I haven't seen the rest of the book, but just from that excerpt that Matpat highlighted, it looks like it's about Greek mythology/culture rather than Polynesian culture.

  52. mario iobagiu says:

    you should name your channel T-series
    just a thought

  53. TotalHufflepuff says:

    I always thought Maui as a father-figure for Moana, but being her actual Dad just blows my mind.

  54. yan ping wang says:

    Maoie's face!😂🤣

  55. Trey Gavino says:

    Isn't moana grandmother is the mother of her father Not his mother?

  56. Dragon Blood says:

    So Pua is a demigod 😳

  57. Leo the kid says:

    Bring on the John cina memes

  58. DontCarryDog says:

    I’ve just started watching this guy and he’s… kinda creeping me out

  59. Nicholas Andrews says:

    Hehe means chicken in Maori

  60. ArchTheSkyKnight_ 27 says:


  61. ExtremeGames 45 says:

    May but in Hawaii pua means pig

  62. that derpy tuber says:

    My question is how old moana mother

  63. Raycode Undertale says:

    I am used 2 u saying A GAME THEORY

  64. user 123 says:

    matpat says: but does that sound like disney? (in a dissapointed tone)
    disney: oh shit they have higher expectations now we just gotta go with this

  65. Tera Davidson says:

    Moana is a vsco girl!!!!

  66. Zedekiah Stephens says:

    Left is that the cars aren’t cars for the movie cars. Right is about if Thanos is worthy of Thor’s hammer.

  67. Charles Edwards says:

    Says something is gonna be on the bright side monna is dead me: uhh that’s not good

  68. SUPBRO says:

    Moana is Maui's daughter

  69. Grimmdus says:

    But how did they have Moana if he was stuck on his island? Like multiple generations back stuck.

  70. Mr Bot says:

    this is honestly the brightest disney theory that you have done matpat. im proud of you

  71. elainny reyes says:

    im……..Shook……I. need a moment to process this

  72. Pet talk and beyond 2.0 says:

    She JESUS!!!!🤯😯

  73. Holly Coulter says:

    Ok but how could maui be moanas dad if he was trapped on that island for 1000 years n Moana people have not left their island in about the same amount of time?

  74. Samantha Shapiro says:

    Moses is a Jewish story -=-

  75. Soundwav373 Kill says:

    I knew it 🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑🤑 my cousin owes me $999999 🤑

  76. cain nicol says:

    Maui's been stuck on an island for a thousand years don't know how many kids you can have alone on an island

  77. TheRamses says:

    Moana is God

  78. Kanadai-Magyar Mapper says:

    Game theory: Moana is the brother of the pig!
    Everyone: Yes that makes sense

  79. Jeffrey Suijkerbuijk says:

    This theory makes the most sense till now

  80. Osagie Ebhonu says:

    4:16 why his he aiming for her breast🤔🤔😂😂

  81. binx says:

    am i the only one who didnt like moana


    Mat pat, I'm okay with the dead Moana theory because it MAKES sense to me more than her being the daughter of Maui, Maui is over 1000 years old and Cena and tala age normally, Maui doesn't so Cena wasn't born until after he was in exile. If Moana became a demi-god she would have had to die. So if she did die during the first attempt to go beyond the reef the gods could have turned her into a demi-god and returned her back into the water, When she came back to her senses she realized she was underwater and started to panic( demi-gods can drown otherwise maui wouldent have held his breath while entering the realm of monsters) and she had a bruise as the result of becoming a demi-god.
    This theory makes a lot more sense to me I hope you see this because I would like to hear the other theory of her being dead from you. This is just my take on the dead Moana theory please tell me what you think of it.
    Love yah keep up the work

  83. diamond smith says:

    moanas dad was also gonna go on the quest before here i think most forget that

  84. Zachary Brehm (student) says:

    Cheat code to have your childhood ruined

    Subscribe and turn on notifications

  85. littlevilevie littlevilevie says:

    But in the movie the grandma said she was the dads mom but if the dad is not a demie god but the grandma is maui is not the dad

  86. PizzaCatLover 2958 says:

    Save The Turtles sksksksksksk

  87. pydro says:

    But mowi has been trapped on the island way before moana was born

  88. Unicorn 08 says:

    MatPat: * mentions Lin Manuel Miranda *


    Hamiltrash anyone? 😂

  89. Anthony Blizard says:

    Ya cant happen seeing how he was on that. Island for a thousand years so ya

  90. Super Fire 64 Gaming says:

    One problem
    Maui can’t be Moana’s father….
    Because he was trapped on an island for a couple thousand years

  91. Hexrecon 42 says:

    But tala was not cenas mother she is the mother of the chief

  92. MorgBorg says:

    Another thing to consider, it’s kinda odd for Sina to live as Tui’s wife if she had Moana with Maui, and for Grandmother Tala to be Tui’s mother as a goddess herself. So maybe, Tala is also Maui’s mother, making Tui and Maui brothers, and Moana was disguised as Tui’s daughter when she was born.

  93. Imma Android 18 says:


  94. SzymonZ199 says:

    In some versions shes called viana

  95. JmanGamer1327 says:

    ariel is related to Hercules was on recommended

  96. Aberrant the RockDrake says:

    “Moana’s named Ceana”

  97. Phyre Archer says:

    iq before video:45 iq after video:1000000000000000000000🧠

  98. DID YOU SEE THAT says:

    3:42 Simple she's a Demi God just as Maui was tossed into the sea only to be made a Demi God, she was made a Demi God by that freaky ocean thingy. 5:40 Oh sure steal my line. 11:30 Well did not see that coming. Humph!

  99. Harneev D says:

    Anyone else hear the almost sherlock theme in the background or am I just a really obsessed high functioning sociopath

  100. Riley Delaney says:

    Sorry, I don't agree. Moana had the heart of Tefiti, which would give the Power of Life to mortals, therefore enabling her to survive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *