Lin-Manuel Miranda Says That ‘Moana’ Originally Had 8 Brothers When He Was Hired for Disney’s Movie

Moana is the daughter of the chief and a friend to the ocean. However, according to musical mastermind Lin-Manuel Miranda, this “princess” almost had eight brothers in her family. Here’s what we know about Disney’s animated film and its characters.

Lin-Manuel Miranda spearheaded several soundtracks for Disney movie musicals

Lin-Manuel Miranda attends the 'Hamilton: The Exhibition' world premiere
‘Hamilton’ creator Lin-Manuel Miranda attends the ‘Hamilton: The Exhibition’ world premiere | Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images

Some know him for his Broadway show-turned movie musical In The Heights, while others know him from his Hamilton fame. Most recently, Miranda worked with Walt Disney Studios to compose music for Encanto, the story of one magical family living in Colombia. 

The production debuted first in theaters, eventually landing on Disney’s streaming platform. However, this wouldn’t be the first time Miranda partnered with Disney, as the musician previously collaborated on the animated film Moana

Lin-Manuel Miranda appeared on the song ‘We Know the Way’ from Disney’s ‘Moana’

In addition to performing on the official Moana soundtrack song “We Know the Way,” Lin-Manuel Miranda appeared as one of the songwriters for the 2016 animated release. The composer even shared insight regarding this character and the differences between her family and the Madrigal family featured in Disney’s Encanto

“You chip away at the family until you find your hero, and the hero goes on a quest,” Miranda said during an interview with Collider. “Moana had eight brothers when I got hired for Moana. She does not have eight brothers anymore because Moana had more important stuff to do.” 

“And so, hanging on to that, the really exciting challenge was finding the drama and the conflict of the movie itself, within the relationships between those characters,” he continued. “My job, as the composer, is to amplify these characters, their gifts, and their musical version of self-expression.”

As seen in Disney’s animated film, Moana journeyed across the sea to restore the Heart of Te Fiti, save her island, and earn her place as the next Chief in her village. She befriended a demigod along the way, with Miranda earning several Academy Award nominations for his work in the production. 

Most Disney princesses are the only child in their families. There are some exceptions, including Merida’s little brothers/bears, Anna and Elsa, Cinderella’s stepsisters, and Ariel’s many musical sisters. 

Although she didn’t have eight brothers, Moana was accompanied by a dimwitted chicken named Hei Hei. On the other hand, Mirabel Madrigal was always surrounded by family, including her two sisters, Luisa and Isabela. 

The Broadway cast of ‘Hamilton’ appeared in one production on Disney’s streaming platform Disney+ 

In addition to being a songwriter for Disney original releases, Miranda starred as Broadway’s original cast of Hamilton as founding father Alexander Hamilton. Miranda has since ended his appearance as the character. 

However, a recording of the live musical joined Disney+ and continues to be available for streaming. Moana is also available on Disney’s streaming platform.

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