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The Little Mermaid: What you need to know as remake lands on Disney+

Are you ready to part of that (live action) world?

Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid. (Disney)
Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid. (Disney)

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She’s ready to be a part of our world all over again, with the release of the live-action version of The Little Mermaid swimming onto Disney+ on 6 September.

Fans had been speculating what the latest Disney live-action remake will look like since its initial announcement back in 2016, with production officially beginning in early 2021. After being delayed due to the pandemic, the main body of filming took place at London’s famous Pinewood Studios.

Ahead of its streaming release, here’s everything you need to know The Little Mermaid.

Read more: All the live-action Disney remakes in development

The Little Mermaid release date

Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney's live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney's live-action The Little Mermaid. (Disney)

The live-action remake of The Little Mermaid was released in UK cinemas on Friday, 26 May, and will be available to stream on Disney+ from 6 September.

Disney fans were made to wait a little longer than expected to head back under the sea, with the film’s original filming schedule being delayed twice by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Little Mermaid reviews

A couple of days ahead of its official release date, full reviews for Disney's live-action remake of The Little Mermaid began washing ashore – and the verdict is good.

With write-ups praising Halle Bailey's performance of Ariel (including our own), it looks like fans of Disney's original are in for treat.

The film has earned a 73% score on reviews aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Read a selection of reviews below.

Yahoo Entertainment: Halle Bailey is a powerhouse in this captivating Disney remake (4 min read)

The Independent: A luminous Halle Bailey aside, this live-action remake stinks (3 min read)

Evening Standard: Halle Bailey makes a real splash in bringing Ariel to life (3 min read)

The Telegraph: an exciting, enveloping remake that deserves to make a splash (4 min read)

Digital Spy: The Little Mermaid is Disney's best live-action remake (4 min read)

The Little Mermaid cast

Melissa McCarthy as Ursula in The Little Mermaid. (Disney)
Melissa McCarthy as Ursula in The Little Mermaid. (Disney)

If there’s one thing the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid makes clear, it’s that the film will feature a heavily star-studded cast.

In 2019, Bailey, who is best known for being a member of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, was announced to play the leading role of Ariel.

She’s previously worked with Disney in a role on Let It Shine, with further acting credits including Grown-ish and Last Holiday.

(L-R): Halle Bailey as Ariel and Javier Bardem as King Triton in The Little Mermaid. (Disney)
Halle Bailey as Ariel and Javier Bardem as King Triton in The Little Mermaid. (Disney)

Bridesmaids favourite Melissa McCarthy will star as Ursula, while the role of Prince Eric will be played by Little Women’s Jonah Hauer-King.

Javier Bardem of No Country For Old Men and Skyfall fame will also be appearing as King Triton. Although the film is primarily live-action, there will also be a number of notable voice roles.

Read more: Melissa McCarthy has 'fallen in love' with Ursula

Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs will be taking up the role of Sebastian, while Room star Jacob Tremblay will play opposite as Ariel’s other faithful sidekick Flounder.

Ocean’s 8 actor Awkwafina is additionally voicing the role of Scuttle, changing to a female diving bird rather than the male seagull seen in the original adaptation.

Who are the production team behind The Little Mermaid?

(L-R): Halle Bailey as Ariel and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid. (Disney)
(L-R): Halle Bailey as Ariel and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid. (Disney)

Spearheading the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is director Rob Marshall.

He’s previously worked on projects including Mary Poppins Returns, Into The Woods, and Chicago, having received Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe nominations for all three films.

Read more: Original Little Mermaid defends remake casting

Marshall is joined by Hamilton and Encanto songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has confirmed that none of the original hit songs — including Part Of Your World and Kiss The Girl — will be replaced.

Famed composer Alan Menken will also be returning to the project, hinting that there will be “four new songs” in addition to fan favourites.

Marshall and Miranda are also producers for The Little Mermaid, and are joined by Marc Platt and John DeLuca.

What do we know about The Little Mermaid’s plot?

King Triton, Ariel and Flounder in 1989's The Little Mermaid. (Disney/Alamy)

Following in the footsteps of other Disney live-action remakes such as Aladdin and Mulan, fans can expect that most of the main classic elements of The Little Mermaid will remain the same. However, Halle Bailey promises Ariel is much more empowered in the live action remake.

“I’m really excited for my version of the film because we’ve definitely changed that perspective of just her wanting to leave the ocean for a boy,” Bailey told Edition magazine. “It’s way bigger than that. It’s about herself, her purpose, her freedom, her life and what she wants.

Read more: Who is Halle Bailey?

“As women we are amazing, we are independent, we are modern, we are everything and above,” she added. “And I’m glad that Disney is updating some of those themes.”

It’s likely the viewers will notice a few small changes along the way, particularly given the inclusion of multiple new songs in the film’s soundtrack. Characters have also been modified to fit the new 2023 cast.

(L-R): Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric and Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid. (Disney)
(L-R): Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric and Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid. (Disney)

The official Disney 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.”

Is there a trailer for The Little Mermaid?

Yes. The main trailer for The Little Mermaid was released by Disney on 12 March during the Oscars. Watch it above. It was a huge hit online, according to The Hollywood Reporter, generating 108 million global views over 24 hours making it the biggest trailer for a live action Disney title since 2019's The Lion King.

While some trolls have been downvoting the trailer on YouTube, it also inspired many heartwarming reaction videos from young fans around the world. Talking about the response to the trailers, Bailey said: “Seeing the world’s reaction to it was definitely a shock, but seeing all the babies’ reactions, all the brown and Black young girls, really tore me up emotionally.”

Disney also released a teaser trailer for The Little Mermaid in early September.

The teaser shows a glimpse of the watery world under the sea, hinting at the quality of CGI that fans are likely to see.

Ariel is shown to be swimming through a shipwreck up to the ocean’s surface, singing a few lines from Part Of Your World.

In February 2023, a 30-second TV spot was released revealing more of Ariel's underwater world. Watch it below.

The Little Mermaid will be released on Disney+ on 6 September.

Watch: Halle Bailey is an inspiration to young girl