Home » The Little Mermaid Live-Action News & Updates: Everything We Know

The Little Mermaid Live-Action News & Updates: Everything We Know

by Oliver Emma

The next animated Disney classic to get the live-action treatment is The Little Mermaid, and here’s everything fans need to know about this new version. In recent years, there has been a trend in the film industry to adapt animated movies into live-action versions, with Disney classics being the main targets. While some movies, like Cruella and Maleficent, have delved into the backstories of classic villains, others are clearer adaptations of the original animated movie and story.


The Little Mermaid is set to follow in the steps of preview live-action movies like Cinderella, The Lion King, Aladdin, and the 2017 Beauty and the Beast remake. In 1989, Disney brought its own version of the fairy tale to the screen. It tells the story of Ariel, a mermaid princess who falls in love with a human and the world in which he lives. To be with him, she trades her voice for becoming a human. The Little Mermaid was a hit upon its release, and it remains a beloved Disney movie, so it’s not surprising that it became a target of the live-action trend.

Related: Why Ursula Was Banished In The Little Mermaid

The Latest The Little Mermaid News

Halle Bailey smiling at Flounder in The Little Mermaid

Though many fans have been hoping for a full length trailer for The Little Mermaid, they didn’t get that in February when many other films did. Instead, Disney’s 2023 Super Bowl spot did offer up a new 30-second teaser celebrating 100 years of Disney with a little bit of new The Little Mermaid footage. Fans get a better look at Flounder, Eric, and even Ariel’s sisters in the brief television clip.

The Little Mermaid Release Date

little mermaid official look ariel

The Little Mermaid release date is set as May 26, 2023. The Little Mermaid live-action film wrapped up production in July 2021, prompting many to believe that the film could come out somewhere in mid-2022. However, that prediction has been proven inaccurate, as a release date has been confirmed by Disney. The extra time has allowed the visual effects team to perfect the underwater look for Ariel’s home.

Studios have confirmed that the remake will receive a theatrical release, but it’s unsure when the film will make the jump to Disney+. As of late, Disney movies have been released exclusively to Disney+ rather than going to theaters, such as the streaming Enchanted sequel Disenchanted. When films do go to theaters, they’ve tended to hit Disney+ about three months later, which was the case with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

The Little Mermaid Cast

Halle Bailey as Skylar in Grown-ish and as Ariel in The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid live-action cast counts on both well-established actors and newcomers who will benefit from starring in a big production like this. The leading roles and the ensemble cast is filled with musically talented actors as well, which is important for the scope of the songs in the movie. Playing the lead role of Ariel is Halle Bailey, best known for being one half of the duo Chloe x Halle and for her role as Skylar Forster in Grown-ish.

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She’s joined by Melissa McCarthy as the villain Ursula though McCarthy’s casting in the Disney role was divisive. Although she’s known as a great comedic talent, Ursula’s final design in the animated movie was inspired by legendary drag queen Divine, and there was a desire by fans to see a modern-day drag queen embody the role as well. The movie will also feature Javier Bardem as King Triton, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, and Art Malik as Grimsby (Eric’s majordomo).

Ariel’s sisters are played by Sienna King, Karolina Conchet, Nathalie Sorrell, Kasja Mohammar, Lorena Andrea, and Bridgerton’s Simone Ashley. Rounding out the cast for The Little Mermaid are the actors who will lend their voices to some of the most unforgettable characters including Sebastian (Daveed Diggs), Flounder (Jacob Tremblay), and Scuttle (Awkwafina). Noma Dumezweni has been cast in an undisclosed role. It’s possible she will play Ariel’s mother, who didn’t feature in the animated movie.

The Little Mermaid Story

Ariel The Little Mermaid Trailer

The Little Mermaid is all about Halle Bailey’s Princess Ariel who dreams of exploring the human world and falls in love with a prince, leading her to make a dangerous deal with Ursula. The sea witch tricks the young princess in order for her to fail to be kissed by Eric and thus has her become her slave. However, like in any other Disney classic, love always triumphs and Prince Eric and Ariel have their happily ever after.

While much of the story will remain the same, the relationship between Ariel and Eric is getting a bit more fleshed out. While the two are immediately drawn to one another in the animated movie, the live-action film will feature the two finding common ground. Eric, like Ariel, finds himself feeling like an outsider in his world as well. The Little Mermaid is expected to be modernized for Ariel as well as she explores her freedom, not just seeks to land a prince.

RELATED: Little Mermaid 2023’s Mystery Character Is Ariel’s Mother – Theory Explained

The movie will be a musical adaptation like Aladdin and Beauty And The Beast before it, but it will also feature new music. Lin Manuel-Miranda lent his musical talents to the movie. He worked with original composer Alan Menken, to help compose four new songs for it.

The Little Mermaid Trailer

The official teaser for The Little Mermaid remake arrived on September 9, 2022. The teaser depicts Halle Bailey’s Ariel swimming through her magical cove and singing the character’s famous song, “Part of Your World.” Audiences also get a glimpse of Flounder swimming at her side. Other famous characters, such as Scuttle, Sebastian, and Ursula, have yet to be shown in their live-action form. That being said, it looks like the live-action The Little Mermaid will show an exciting new side to the famed Disney princess while maintaining the spellbinding magic of the original.

MORE: How Halle Bailey’s Live-Action Little Mermaid Compares To Animation

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