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‘The Little Mermaid’ and What We Know so Far

As we wait anxiously await for Disney’s D23 Expo this September for our first look at the studios’ live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, we thought we’d share what we know so far.

The Little Mermaid Synopsis

While Disney has yet to release an official synopsis for The Little Mermaid, the film will follow a young mermaid, who makes a deal with a sea witch, trading her beautiful voice to get human legs so she can discover the world above water. The film will obviously take inspiration from Disney’s 1989 animated classic but is also based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. Some of the key differences from the animated film will be the character of Scuttle, who will be a female diving bird instead of a male seagull. Also added to the remake are Ariel’s mother, Athena, and her sisters. Expect some new sequences to be included such as a new opening musical dance number and a ballroom dance scene.

Who is playing who?

Here is what is official, Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King (A Dog’s Way Home) as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) as Ursula, Awkwafina (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) as Scuttle, Javier Bardem (Being The Ricardos) as King Triton, Jacob Tremblay (Good Boys) as Flounder, and Daveed Diggs (Snowpiercer) as Sebastian. What isn’t official, but who we hear are the actors are and who they are playing, I still hear Noma Dumezweni is, in fact, Carlotta, Jude Akuwudike was reported to be playing a new role made for the film, which I have been told is in fact Grimsby, but it is possible the name has been changed for the remake. Lin-Manuel Miranda has denied involvement in the film, while speaking with TheWrap, though, I’m not buying it for one second, there have been rumors that he could be playing Chef Louis, but I can’t confirm that to this day. Jessica Alexander appears to have the role of Ursula’s alter-ego, Vanessa. Emily Coates is playing a new character for the film, whether that is Ariel or Eric’s sister, I don’t know. Lorena Andrea and Kajsa Mohammar are playing Karina and Perla respectively, both new characters for the film. Simone Ashley also has an unknown role in the film, but I believe she is playing a relative to Bailey’s Ariel, possibly Athena in flashbacks or a sister. Again, none of this has been confirmed by Disney at this time. For those asking, we spoke to the original Ariel, Jodi Benson in 2020 and she confirmed she will not be appearing, however, this was long before production began, and things change *smirk*!

What to expect visually!

Director Rob Marshall and cinematographer Dion Beebe, who worked together on Mary Poppins Returns and Chicago, have a beautiful eye with a unique color palette. The team who brought The Jungle Book and Lion King remakes to life, as well as the upcoming Pinocchio and The Lion King prequel, MPC Film have been tasked with bringing these characters to life. So expect, to see these sea creatures as life-like as possible. 4-time Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood (Fantastic Beasts, Chicago) is leading the costuming for The Little Mermaid with multiple gowns to be worn by Bailey. Atwood is no stranger to working on Disney projects, having worked on the Alice in Wonderland and Dumbo remakes, as well as Into The Woods and Lady and the Tramp.

Music!

 Alan Menken, who previously scored and co-wrote songs for the original film, returns as the film’s composer and wrote new songs alongside producer Lin-Manuel Miranda. All the classic songs will return, as will four new songs, including a new song for Eric and Ariel, a new solo for Ariel, a new song for King Triton, as well as a song for Scuttle. The new songs will be a “blend” of Menken and Miranda’s styles. Yes, expect Diggs’ Sebastian to have a quick rap number in “Under The Sea”.

When is The Little Mermaid first look Coming?

Ah yes, the question I am constantly asked. The Little Mermaid is still deep into post-production, but your first look is coming Saturday, September 10, 2022, at Disney’s D23 Expo. It is likely that the public will get to see a poster for the film, while those in attendance at the Disney Studios panel will get to see exclusive footage for the film. It’s been three years since the last D23 Expo, so expect Disney to save all the goods for this Summer’s ultimate Disney event.

The Little Mermaid is scheduled to be released on May 26, 2023. Stick with The DisInsider as we continue to cover this project and more from The Walt Disney Company.