The Little Mermaid Will No Longer Leave The Ocean For Love

The new live-action Little Mermaid movie won't focus on the love aspect for Ariel as much as the original. It will be more about independence.

By Robert Scucci | Published

Live-action reboots take on many different shapes and forms as will be the case of 2023’s The Little Mermaid. According to Bounding Into Comics, the film is going to have an entirely new angle compared to the 1989 animated film of the same name. It has recently been revealed by Halle Bailey, the live-action incarnate of Ariel, that one of the bigger thematic updates for the live-action reboot will be more than a simple love story between Ariel and Prince Eric.

Halle Bailey further elaborated on this sentiment, when she stated, “It’s way bigger than that. It’s about herself, her purpose, her freedom, her life, and what she wants.”

While she is right to be enthusiastic about the updated themes that will be empowering to young women and diehard fans of the original Disney animated film alike, the sentiment expressed by Bailey calls into question the original themes of the 1989 Little Mermaid film.

For many fans, the original animated film is mostly centered around Ariel’s desire to explore life beyond the ocean floor. She seeks to become an independent woman who lives a separate life from her well-meaning, but oftentimes tyrannical father. In other words, while the love story between Ariel and Prince Eric is a crucial element to the original story, the developing romance was by happenstance, rather than a burning desire to meet a boy.

In other words, Ariel has longed to walk on her own two feet long before Prince Eric was in the picture. It’s evident in Ariel’s desire to explore sunken ships early on in the original animated Little Mermaid film. Though Ariel quickly becomes smitten with Prince Eric, it’s only because she made her way to the surface on her own terms to begin with.

Meeting the prince was completely by happenstance, and she would have aspired to make more of her life whether he was in the picture or not. Though we can’t blame the singer/songwriter turned actress for being enthusiastic about the new direction the live adaptation of The Little Mermaid is taking. Maybe there’s more to the upcoming adaptation than meets the eye in regard to other plot devices we’re not yet aware of.

One thing we know for certain, however, is that Halle Bailey is a massive fan of the original Little Mermaid animated film. She’s beyond thrilled to be donning the iconic red hairdo, and belting out some of her favorite songs that she’s held dearly since childhood.

In fact, prior to the trailer debut, Bailey sang her own rendition of the iconic song, “Part of Your World,” and has gone on record stating that it’s been one of her favorite songs since she was a little kid.

While we don’t know for certain how much screen time Prince Eric will have in the live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, we do know that she will definitely win him over if she brings her amazing singing talents to the surface.

The romantic through-line might be left on the back burner in favor of exploring other aspects of life on land as an independent woman. Or it could be still very much at the forefront. Regardless, we can all agree that Ariel’s desire to be more than just a little mermaid will surface once again in the highly anticipated live-action adaptation we’ve all been waiting for.