When we run out of stories to tell about the heroes, it’s time to find out what the villains are all about. That seems to be one of the new Hollywood thru lines, with a number of different studios leaning into the darker sides of their characters and fully explaining where some of the most famous antagonists got their starts. The newest rumor along these lines comes from insider Daniel Richtman who has it that Disney is now developing a new story around Ursula, she of Little Mermaid fame.
According to this Richtman rumor, the new Disney movie around Ursula would follow along the lines of what we saw with Cruella recently. While just a rumor, it’s easy to see why the studio would be thinking along these lines. Having run through many of the traditional stories in live-action form, they are now turning their sights on the other characters in the franchise. Ursula could be the next one up with an underwater look at how a truly evil being got her start.
Ursula was part of the original Hans Christensen Anderson story of “The Little Mermaid” but was a minor character at best. She got a bigger billing when the Disney animated film came out in 1989. In that story, she tricks Ariel into becoming a human in a desperate attempt to take over all of the underwater world. A live-action movie about the character would have to deal with a couple of interesting production issues, first being she’s part octopus. And there are a bunch of other physical traits that make Ursula a bit more off-putting to the eye.
But Disney could take a number of liberties here considering they have a long leash to take these characters in any direction they want. In the upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, Ursula is being played by Melissa McCarthy. The studio could opt to go the same direction with a standalone film or recast the part if they are going for a younger version. The upcoming flick is currently filming and will have Halle Bailey in the lead as Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, and Javier Bardem as King Triton. Plus Daveed Diggs, Jacob Tremblay, and Awkwafina will each voice Sebastian, Flounder, and Scuttle respectively.
Of course, this wouldn’t be the first Disney villain getting a live-action film. Angelina Jolie played Maleficent in two movies a few years ago. And Emma Stone took on the Cruella role when that movie released this year. The movie suffered from a pandemic opening, though did his Disney+ under their premiere access section. Critics were mostly positive about the film with the Rotten Tomatoes score sitting at 74%. This film rewrote the character’s original backstory, modernizing it in some ways with Cruella getting different motivations than we saw in the book or the 101 Dalmatians franchise.
There’s little doubt we see movies for a ton of these villains over the next few years. Heck, Jude Law is set to play Captain Hook in another Disney villain turn. Disney has already signaled their intention in this department and have a lot of material to work with. At this point, it’s just choosing which ones to market first. Considering The Little Mermaid’s return to the big screen soon, Ursula will definitely be at the forefront. Keep an ear out for more news here as Disney expands its universe of baddies.