Did Moana Die in the Storm? Theory Explained

Did Moana Die in the Storm?

Since its release in November 2016, Moana has gained enormous amounts of positive reviews from critics. The movie grossed over $645 million worldwide and received various nominations, including Best Animated Feature. It’s safe to say Moana is one of the most popular Disney movies, and the fact that it’s based on the real-life heritage and history of Polynesian islands just makes it even better and worthwhile. The story follows Moana, a strong-willed daughter of a Polynesian village chief, who is set to sail the ocean in order to reunite a goddess named Te Fiti with a mystical relic.

In search of Maui, Moana sets sail across the ocean but is soon faced with a huge storm. After being shipwrecked by the typhoon, Moana wakes up on an isolated island, and from there on can only be seen interacting with gods and other non-human creatures. All of that is leading to an inevitable question; did Moana actually die in the storm?

Although Disney never confirmed it, according to fan theories, Moana died in the storm at the beginning of the movie. The argument is based on the fact that, after facing a shipwreck, she only interacts with her deceased grandmother, gods, demigods, and other legendary creatures (such as Te Ka and Maui) which makes it pretty obvious she might have died. Another theory is that Moana is in some kind of purgatory or a mythological kingdom of the gods, and Maui is her guardian angel. If Maui is indeed her guardian angel, then some might even argue that this movie is about her journey to the afterlife (Heaven).

Even though Disney is famed for making kids’ beloved all-time classics, there are usually much darker theories lurking beneath the surface. If you’re wondering whether Moana is dead or alive, then you’ve come to the right place. Keep on reading to find out if Moana really died in the storm!

So, did Moana actually die in the storm?

Did Moana Die in the storm?

With its emphasis on self-discovery and bravery, Moana is a movie that has made a sharp turn from other princess tales. But, despite the positive message of this Disney movie, the fans are often seen wondering whether it is hiding a deeper, more sinister message. For every movie, there is a dark fan theory emerging – not even kids’ movies are immune to them!

According to fan theories, Moana actually dies in the opening scenes of the movie, where we can see her face a shipwreck. After seeing her disappearing into the darkness of the ocean, the next frame shows Moana stranded on an island with Maui. In other words, after the shipwreck, Moana is only seen interacting with non-human creatures like gods, demigods, and other legendary characters. The only exception is her deceased grandmother, which can signify she is dead.

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The theory of Moana’s apparent death is also backed up by the fact that she can easily enter places other mortals can’t, such as Lalotai, the Realm of Monsters. At some point, Maui starts hinting that she may be a demigod herself, as no ordinary mortal could survive what she did. It’s either that or – she didn’t survive at all.

Not only that ordinary humans probably wouldn’t survive a typhoon on a simple wooden boat, but they also wouldn’t be able to travel such a distance with this much ease. Throughout the movie, Moana demonstrates superhuman abilities and rarely gets hurt, even in situations that would prove fatal to an ordinary human.

Moana, guided by the spirit of her deceased grandmother, Tala.
Moana, guided by the spirit of her deceased grandmother, Tala.

Before confronting Te Ka, Moana is reunited with her deceased grandmother, who is showing her support as a glowing blue stingray ghost. Tala, her grandmother, and Moana often communicate. Even though this doesn’t necessarily indicate that Moana died, as ghosts are usually thought to be able to show themselves to regular humans, it might hint that Moana has died too. But, what made fans rethink the whole situation is the fact that Moana might have communicated with both of her parents after the storm, which may indeed prove that she was dead.

Before Tala’s death, she gives Moana a necklace that, supposedly, contains Te Fiti’s heart. The necklace is said to be the only thing that can revive Te Fiti and, therefore, save Motunui. The necklace is said to have powers to create life again, which aids in the fan’s theories of Moana’s resurrection.

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Some fans stick to the theory that Moana has died at the beginning of the movie, and was actually brought back to life by the end of it. The only unresolved mystery would then be Hei Hei, her chicken best friend that is accompanying her during all of her journeys across Polynesian islands.

To resolve the mystery of Hei Hei, fans have concluded that he is probably another spirit guide, or perhaps even a demigod since he could easily survive everything she did. Although he seems without a worry in the world, it is thought he plays a significant role in Moana’s journey.

Moana and her chicken, Hei Hei.
Moana and her chicken, Hei Hei.

Conclusion

We cannot be one hundred percent sure if Moana really died at the beginning of the movie since Disney never fully confirmed it. We can only speculate whether she has died and then been brought to life in the end, or if she remained dead the whole time she traveled across the Pacific Ocean. But, if the concept of Moana’s death at the beginning of the film is indeed true, then the theories fans came up with make sense.

It is possible Tala, on the verge of death herself, saw Moana and was able to give her a necklace that held powers to bring her back to life. Or, if Maui really was Moana’s guardian angel, his assignment of taking her to Te Fiti could actually represent him taking her to heaven. It is possible the whole movie was portraying her journey to the afterlife.

In conclusion, it is likely Disney decided to give this story an underlying twist that can only be understood through a deeper analysis of hidden metaphors and meanings.

  • Nina is just another student of Cultural Studies that's slowly embracing postmodern popular culture. Her biggest interest lies in the very beginning of cinema.