Lin-Manuel Miranda is a gosh-darn gift, and he never stops giving. In the past six months alone, Moana premiered, the Hamilton mix-tape finally dropped, and he's posted tons of bonus clips and seasonal playlists to social media. For fans of both Hamilton and Moana, it seemed like the director, writer, actor, pep-talker and all around delight couldn't possibly have anything else up his sleeve. Of course, this is never the case with Miranda, who revealed a musical surprise on Tuesday for both fans of the Broadway show and the Disney film. In a new video, the two projects come together as Hamilton stars Christopher Jackson and Phillipa Soo belt out "Warrior Face", a deleted track from Moana.
While "Warrior Face" was cut from the film, the track is still available on the soundtrack. However, on the album's demo version, Miranda sings the song himself, rather than it being a duet. It's also a pretty bare bones recording, and, with minimal musical accompaniment it's harder to imagine what the song might have been like in the film.
Now, with the movie set to be released digitally on Feb. 28, and on Blu-Ray and DVD March 7, a new version of the track premiered on EW. In this version, Jackson voices the demigod Maui and Soo standing in for Moana. Here's the original track with Miranda voicing both roles:
In the new video, there is an introduction from Miranda that gives the historical and cultural context for the song. "I'm thrilled to show you a glimpse of a song that didn't make it into Moana," he says. "'Warrior Face' came a little bit out of the tradition of the Haka, which is huge in the Pacific Islands. We watched these amazing videos of these young women do the Haka and being really scary, it's incredible. So we came upon the notion of, all right, they're about to face all these undersea monsters, Maui is gonna show Moana how to face them."
The Haka is a traditional war cry, dance, or challenge where people stamp their feet in coordinated movements and erupt with a battle cry. "It's a bit of the anti-lesson," Miranda says in the EW interview, "It's not about who you are inside. It's about putting up a really scary outside so that you can survive." Haka originated in New Zealand, and the islands' Rugby players still sometimes use the tradition in the sport. It's often also performed onstage.
The sneak peak from the Moana release also features some of the original storyboards. The animated short shows Maui teaching Moana how to steel herself as they head into the monster realm. Even though the animation is only sketched and in black and white, it's enough to make you wish the scene was included in the film. Of course, Jackson's passionate vocals are just as compelling, and now I'm anxious to get my hands on the release for all the new features. I know I'm going to be the first in line.
Even though it would have been cool to hear the track in the original movie, I'm so glad Miranda shared this content with the world. Hopefully, there will be many behind-the-scenes features on the DVD release, and I certainly won't complain if more of these outtakes feature Hamilton cast members. I'm just going to keep watching the "Warrior Face" video until the release date.