The Classic Little Mermaid Songs Lin-Manuel Miranda Thought Were Too Sacred To Touch For Halle Bailey’s Movie

If there’s anything that could make the live-action adaptation of Disney’s classic The Little Mermaid more exciting, it would have to be the addition of original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The musical man behind Hamilton and Encanto teamed up with The Little Mermaid’s original composer Alan Menken for a surprising amount of new music in the upcoming version, which will star grown-ish actor Halle Bailey as Ariel. But when coming up with the new songs, Miranda found himself unwilling to alter one aspect of the Disney classic.

Sebastian - the crab who serves King Triton often by looking after Triton’s free-spirited daughter Ariel — is a favorite among fans of the Disney animated movie, and Lin-Manuel Miranda is no exception. Miranda explained to Collider why Sebastian’s songs were too sacred for him to touch.

Oh, man. So much of my work on The Little Mermaid was that wish fulfillment. I actually didn’t write any new songs for Sebastian the Crab because I love his songs so much. I was like, ‘I can’t. Nope, not me. I can’t do it.’ I did get to write for some of the other characters in that movie. Every song you love in The Little Mermaid is still in The Little Mermaid, we just found some new moments to musicalize. That’s really tricky.

As excited as fans are to hear the new music Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken will bring the live-action movie, I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief that they’re not going to mess with our favorites from the original — particularly “Under the Sea,” which won both an Academy Award and a Grammy. 

Need more proof of the In the Heights creator’s love for The Little Mermaid’s crustacean? Lin-Manuel Miranda’s older son is named Sebastian, and Miranda revealed on a recent appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show that his favorite Disney song of all time is either “Under the Sea” or “Kiss the Girl” — both Sebastian songs from The Little Mermaid. I guess part of Miranda’s genius is knowing not to mess with perfection. 

Daveed Diggs, who played dual roles alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton, will play Sebastian in the live-action adaptation. He joins an impressive cast of Halle Bailey as Ariel, Jonah Hater-King as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder and Awkwafina as Scuttle.

Filming of The Little Mermaid remake wrapped this summer, but the film won’t hit theaters until May 26, 2023. Not to fear, Disney fans, because there’s plenty to look forward to in 2022. Peter Pan & Wendy, which stars Halle Bailey’s grown-ish costar Yara Shahidi, Jude Law and Jim Gaffigan, will be released exclusively on Disney+ next year. Other upcoming movies include a Lion King prequel, Cruella 2Snow White and the Seven DwarvesPinocchio and Hercules.

In the meantime, the original Disney animated The Little Mermaid (opens in new tab) can be streamed on Disney+, and a number of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s works are available for streaming, including Tick, Tick … Boom! (opens in new tab), Vivo (opens in new tab), Hamilton (opens in new tab), and In the Heights (opens in new tab). Encanto is now showing exclusively in theaters. Check out what movies are yet to be released this year, as well as our 2022 movie release schedule.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.