The Ending of The Little Mermaid Explained

WARNING: This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Disney’s The Little Mermaid Live-Action Movie. So read at your own risk!

Disney’s The Little Mermaid is swimming to the surface this coming May 26, 2023, but seeing as the live-action remake is already out in other countries, here’s how the new version ended!

There wasn’t much change in the ending of 2023’s The Little Mermaid, except for a few twists and turns here and there.

One of those major turn of events is the father-daughter relationship between the King Triton (Javier Bardem) and his youngest daughter, Ariel (Halle Bailey).

The Ending of The Little Mermaid (2023) Live-Action Explained
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Credit: Disney

King Triton found out that Ariel struck an unbreakable deal with Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) using one of her scales from her tail.

The King of the Sea took his daughter’s place, but instead of getting transformed into a different life form, King Triton died.

In the end of the original animated film, it was Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) who drove the wrecked ship that killed Ursula the Sea Witch in her gigantic form.

In the live-action, however, it was Ariel who saved Eric using the same broken ship that stabbed the Sea Witch to death.

Instead of Ariel taking Eric to shore, she had to choose over saving the trident to bring her father back to life versus her first love.

In the 2023 film, Ariel chose to chase after the sinking trident and brought her father back to life.

The father-daughter duo shared a strong moment together, redefining their relationship of having saved each other in the end.

And of course, this led to King Triton sympathizing his daughter, thus allowing her to revert back to her human form and be with the human prince.

As many live-action adaptations go under Disney production, 2023’s The Little Mermaid isn’t far off from its original film, but the film did add a couple of things that made their version better.

ALSO READ: When Is the Streaming Release Date of The Little Mermaid?

How Is The Little Mermaid Live-Action Different From Disney’s Original Animated Film?

The Ending of The Little Mermaid (2023) Live-Action Explained
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Credit: Disney

Character Changes

There have been many character changes made to fit the live-action.

Scuttle the seagull is not played by a man, but by a woman (voiced by Awkwafina) and when Ariel and Flounder (Jacob Tremblay) come to meet with the bird, they don’t meet up on the surface, but rather underwater.

The live-action also introduced Eric having parents of his own, though the king and queen (Noma Dumezweni) of the island simply adopted him 21 years ago.

The Divide Between the Humans and Merpeople

The division between the humans and merpeople is raised more in the live version.

King Triton is not the only one restricting his family from the surface, but with Eric’s mother forbidding him to sail the seas.

Eric’s mother, the queen of the island, stated: “The seagods have always been against us.”

When Ariel first came on land as a human, she was not in immediate hurry to meet with prince Eric, but rather the film showed how she was more enamored of spending more time on land without needing to suffocate.

The live-action also highlighted how Ariel is well aware that humans merely viewed the sea creatures as their daily food.

Not to mention, gravity on her part as to how she could fit in this world despite being in human form. (Ariel also acknowledged how gravity has been hindering her from walking steady on land).

ALSO READ: When is Little Mermaid Coming Out?

Ursula’s Spell Has A Twist In This Version

The Ending of The Little Mermaid (2023) Live-Action Explained
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Credit: Disney

Ursula’s spell included a little twist in The Little Mermaid.

Instead of simply locking in their deal with sealing True Love’s Kiss with Eric, the Sea Witch ensured her triumph by making sure Ariel forgot her mission to kiss Eric in the first place.

She did so by putting this in the potion she had Ariel drink that turned her into a human.

Because of that, Sebastian’s role was only made bigger, leading him to be more necessary for the story in constantly reminding Ariel that she needs to kiss Eric so she could become permanently human.

The Little Mermaid Has New Songs

Another prominent example is that Ariel and Eric got to sing their own songs that were NOT part of the original animated film.

(Scuttle and Sebastian even had their own rap song together!)

You can check out what other new songs that were added in live-action here.

Ariel and Eric’s Love Story

The chemistry between our two on-screen lovers is definitely stronger in this one.

Eric had his own ‘trove’ filled with his collected ‘trinkets’ and souvenirs over the places he’s been to, just like Ariel had under the sea.

Eric shared what he knew of his travels through maps and globes, while Ariel showed there is more to the rocks they found on the shore than what they appear (there’s gems inside).

Of course, this led to Ariel and Eric coming to common terms on how similar their stories are: wanting to go out and explore the world independently from their parents who want to keep them in their palaces.

So what are you waiting for? Go get your tickets now and watch Disney’s The Little Mermaid live-action in theaters worldwide this coming May 26!

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