Is Disney's The Little Mermaid Live-Action Remake Still Happening?

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Halle Bailey as Ariel with Flounder in The Little Mermaid
Credit: Disney
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After doing a remake of the classic Pinocchio tale, Disney revealed that it is working on a live-action of a Disney princess, The Little Mermaid. The story, of course, isn't something new. But it is the first time the tale is being brought to life with a real human character portraying Ariel. In 1989, Disney released an animated adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's 1837 fairy tale.

Even though the project was announced back in 2016, a release date for Rob Marshall's live-action film has not yet been revealed. So when will The Little Mermaid live-action adaptation be released? Here's what we know so far.


When Is The Little Mermaid Live-Action Remake Coming Out?

Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid
Credit: Disney

The first time we learned of Disney's project was in May 2016, when it was in its early development stage. Unfortunately, the project was delayed because of the COVID pandemic. This left the producers having trouble shooting the scenes due to the lockdowns and restrictions. Not to mention, since the film heavily relies on CGI, post-production took a bulk of time to complete the film.

But the good news is that a release date for the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid has already been set for May 26, 2023. The film will be released exclusively in theaters on that date. Following this schedule, it will be available on Disney+ around 45 to 90 days after it gets released.

What Is The Little Mermaid Live-Action Remake Story About?

Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid
Credit: Disney

The Little Mermaid will follow the original story of Hans Christian Andersen's 1837 fairy tale of the same title.

The official synopsis reads:

“The Little Mermaid” is the beloved story of Ariel, a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure. The youngest of King Triton’s daughters and the most defiant, Ariel longs to find out more about the world beyond the sea, and while visiting the surface, falls for the dashing Prince Eric. While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, Ariel must follow her heart. She makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, which gives her a chance to experience life on land, but ultimately places her life – and her father’s crown – in jeopardy."

Halle Bailey as Ariel with Flounder in The Little Mermaid
Credit: Disney

The live-action remake will be a musical fantasy movie, with songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and composed by Alan Menken. As revealed by Halle Bailey, the original song from the animation, Part of Your World, will be included in the remake.

Menken also revealed that four new songs will be added in the movie, with some tracks getting "some rapping."


Who Stars in Disney’s Live-Action Remake of The Little Mermaid?

Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid
Credit: Disney

When the project was first announced, fans immediately wanted Ariana Grande or Zendaya to play the role. But in 2019, singer Halle Bailey was cast to play the lead role of Ariel. Director Rob Marshall first noticed the singer in a 2019 Grammy telecast when she performed Where Is The Love? together with her sister, Chloe, as R&B duo Chloe x Halle. At that time, Marshall didn't know Halle could act. But in her audition, he asked her to sing Ariel's signature song, Part of Your World. This left Marshall in tears.

"When she finished, I was in tears because she's so soulful. You could tell right away that she was able to harness Ariel's passion, her fire, her soul, her joy and her heart."

The official casting, however, upset several fans as they claimed the decision "strayed too far" from its original source material, which was a Danish fairy tale. Since Bailey is African American, many couldn't help but believe the critics were being racist. After all, mermaids aren't real (shocker!).

Despite of the critics, however, Disney pushed through with its decision. This is actually a big win for the community and for little kids everywhere, who are getting a representation for their skin color. NBC News even reported on a number of kids getting excited with the casting on TikTok, with one saying: "She's brown like me!"

Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid
Credit: Disney

Shortly after Bailey's casting announcement, the other cast members were revealed. The full list of actors involved in the live-action remake include:

  • Halle Bailey (as Ariel)
  • Jonah Hauer-King (as Prince Eric)
  • Melissa McCarthy (as Ursula)
  • Javier Bardem (as King Triton)
  • Art Malik (as Grimsby)
  • Daveed Diggs (voice of Sebastian the Crab)
  • Awkwafina (voice of Scuttle)
  • Jacob Tremblay (voice of Flounder)
  • Noma Dumezweni (as Queen Selina)
  • Lorena Andrea (as Perla)
  • Kajsa Mohammar (as Karina)
  • Jessica Alexander
  • Russell Balogh
  • Adrian Christopher
  • Simone Ashley

Is There a Trailer for the Live-Action Remake of The Little Mermaid?

Melissa McCarthy as Ursula in The Little Mermaid
Credit: Disney

Yes, during Disney's D23 Expo in September 2022, Walt Disney Studios released the official teaser trailer of The Little Mermaid. This trailer confirmed Bailey's casting as Ariel as she sings a line from the iconic Part of Your World song.


With just a few months before the film's release, Disney published a thirty-second spot for the film. The trailer gives us another glimpse of Ariel, her mermaid sisters, Flounder, Prince Eric, and Ursula. You can watch the trailer here:

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