So the question here is, did you even know Hei Hei from Moana was going to be axed? The follow up question is: how grateful are you that he wasn’t? The lovable but dim-witted rooster from Moana was perhaps one of the funniest parts of the movie despite his limited screen time. He’s what’s called a ‘scene-stealer’ on account of the fact that whenever he was in the scene he kind of took over no matter that he really didn’t have a voice. He had a presence, that was enough, and it allowed him to become a character that people would never forget. Now that the hype from Moana is over however you’d be surprised to learn that people still love Hei Hei and remember him better than other characters in the movie. What’s fortunate however is that the creators and the entire team that worked on this film sat down in order to try and save him since initially he was going to be a very different character and likely wouldn’t have made it into the final cut.
Hei Hei almost looked very different.
Hei Hei was going to be much more aggressive in the start and was going to serve as a kind of watchdog for Moana’s father, to keep an eye on her and alert him when she was trying to do something dangerous or not allowed. However it seems like this rendition of Hei Hei would have been a little too stern since he was said to actually harass her just when he felt like it, acting more like an overbearing character than a comical and lovable part of the movie. This version of Hei Hei was quite fierce as you can see and wasn’t the type to really bend to anyone unless he had to. That’s just one reason why the chicken almost didn’t make it since he wasn’t really a character that a lot of people wanted to relate to. In fact if Hei Hei had been left as he was in this picture it’s safe to say that he wouldn’t have made it at all. It’s not even a question of whether anyone would have liked him, he would have been pulled from the story before anyone could even see him in action.
The role of comical idiot was perfect.
Hei Hei didn’t have a clue. In the history of dumb sidekicks this has to be one of the most historical characters that Disney has ever created. The rooster is just so oblivious to everything that he can’t help but be kind of pitiful and funny at the same time. His vacant stare, his inability to do much of anything except peck at various spots on the ground and wherever his beak lands makes him one of the most moronic characters in the history of animation, but also one of the most endearing somehow. You’ve got to keep in mind that Hei Hei was there when Moana really needed him, even if he did almost get captured by the enemy. Near the end he’s one of the reasons why Moana was able to hold onto the heart of Te Fiti and finaly put it back where it belonged. But really Hei Hei just got by on dumb luck since many times over he should have been killed in numerous different ways.
The reaction to Hei Hei by the rest of the characters was priceless.
After all what do you do with a seemingly brainless rooster? Some people woudl pluck his feathers and cook him, but Moana wanted him around for some reason. Maui just wanted to eat him, while the ocean, well, the ocean just kind of got fed up with Hei Hei after a while. The final time we see Hei Hei he’s headed back out to sea just simple as you please, then the ocean plucks him up and sets him back towards land. This was of course after spitting him out like a bad seed when Te Fiti was restored. It’s easy to see how Hei Hei was one of the more necessary components of this film since he did add a lot of comedy to Moana and was a helpful character in his own right. Some people might still be scratching their heads wondering why a chicken would be a great companion but overall the inclusion of Hei Hei was a serious lift for the film that would have been missing had he not been added in, or kept.
How much you know about the movies you watch is often challenged when you do some in-depth research on how they came to be. To think that Hei Hei almost didn’t make it into this movie is amazing, but to think that the character might have been far different at one point is even more so.