It is the sixth of January. That means it is time to crown our King of Fools for 2017. This year’s recipient comes from the world of Moana.
This year’s recipient may be the dumbest character in the history of Disney Animation. Heihei is a dumb rooster. As one villager points out, “He seems to lack the basic intelligence required for pretty much… everything.” That being said, after accidently stowing away on Moana’s canoe, he survives being Maui’s lunch and makes it through the entire adventure.
The bird actually started out with a higher IQ and a judgmental personality. But the filmmakers felt they’d seen that character before so they decided to turn Heihei on his head. “But it wasn’t enough to make him dumb,” says story artist Sunmee Joh. “We had to find a way to make him a complication for Moana and ultimately her journey. Complications are a great way to challenge characters and enrich their story.”
As our own Alex Reif shared, “Hei Hei was almost cut from the film. Directors Ron Musker and Jon Clements pleaded with the story team to find a way to save him. The character started as the chief’s watchdog pet, but was morphed into the stupidest chicken you’ve ever seen, which served the story in many ways. When the character was saved, the team celebrated with a chicken dinner…”
While we won’t celebrate Heihei’s crowning as King of Fools with a chicken dinner, we do congratulate him on receiving the only award he will probably ever receive.
One weird fact, Heihei and the villager who suggests that they eat Heihei are both voiced by Disney lucky charm Alan Tudyk. I am not quite sure what to take from that.