Disney is famed for making some of the most beloved kids’ films of all time with movies made decades ago still ranked as fan-favourites.
However, despite the often jovial nature of the films, fan theories often emerge that hint at far darker stories when you venture below the surface.
No Disney film is safe it seems as a fan theory about 2016’s Moana asks if the film’s heroine dies in the early moments of the film.
It may sound dark but this is a fan theory with some sea legs!
Theory: Does Moana die in the storm?
A Reddit fan theory from Occams-Toothbrush posted in February 2021 claims that Moana actually dies in the storm near the start of the film.
The theory is based on the fact that after Moana is shipwrecked in the typhoon, she only meets gods, demigods and mythical creatures for the rest of the film including Maui, the Kakamora and Te Ka and has no more interactions with human characters until the very end.
One possible explanation behind this is that after Moana gets caught in the storm, she is transported or killed and finds herself in purgatory or a mythical land of the gods.
Adding further credence to the theory is the fact that Moana is able to easily enter Lalotai, the Realm of Monsters where Tamatoa the crab dwells, despite Maui claiming that no ordinary mortal would make the trip, potentially hinting that Moana is a demigod herself.
The theory is also backed up by the fact Moana reunites with her grandmother who died earlier on in the film and returns as a glowing blue ghost to offer Moana guidance before the final confrontation with Te Ka.
It’s only when Moana returns the Heart of Te Fiti that she is returned to the land of the living and it’s also the last time we see Maui as he doesn’t travel with Moana to Motunui.
What about Hei Hei?
While much of the fan theory slots neatly into place, the most confusing aspect is Hei Hei the chicken.
That’s because he is able to follow Moana throughout the film seemingly without a care in the world.
However, two potential explanations behind Hei Hei could be that he’s either a demigod himself or that he’s some sort of spirit guide, similar to the alebrijes we see in Pixar’s Coco.
After all, he definitely doesn’t know how to behave like an ordinary chicken.
Moana first released in November 2016 and is available to stream now on Disney+.