With so many of Disney's live-action fairy tales being successful, it's actually surprising how many of them still haven't been officially announced. However, we can now reduce that number by one. A live-action The Little Mermaid is on the way, and it's bringing along some musical heavy hitters. Alan Menken, the man who scored the original Disney animated hit will be returning, and alongside him will be Hamilton creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
This news is a one-two punch that will likely make Disney fans, and musical fans in general, incredibly excited. Alan Menken won two Academy Awards for his work on the 1989 animated feature, and Lin-Manuel Miranda is the hottest thing on Broadway, and possibly in all of music, right now. This is the third Disney project that Miranda has become part of. The writer and singer contributed to the music in Disney's newest princess feature, Moana, and he's also set to co-star alongside Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns. As Deadline points out, the actor has an abiding love for this property. He named his own son Sebastian, after the crab from the original film.
While details are scarce, the word is that Lin-Manuel Miranda will supervise the story, though he won't be writing the film. Bringing in Miranda certainly makes a statement that the live-action The Little Mermaid will be a full musical, more like the upcoming Beauty and the Beast, and less like Maleficent. It would also appear that with both Alan Menken and Miranda on board, the plan will be to combine some new music alongside the old classics. We can also guess the old favorites getting a bit of Lin-Manuel polish. We can only image what "Under the Sea" will sound like in this new film.
The official announcement that Disney is working on a Little Mermaid movie officially starts a race to the screen similar to what we have seen with The Jungle Book. Universal is working on their own Little Mermaid, currently set to star Chloe Grace-Moretz in the title role.
Since The Little Mermaid doesn't have a writer yet, we can assume it will be awhile before things get moving on the project. As it stands, Disney has announced a slew of live-action fairy tale movies, and also a number of release dates for those films, however, thus far only next year's Beauty and the Beast actually has a set release date. Beyond that, it's anybody's guess which movie Disney is planning for which date. Mermaid could grab any existing date, or get another one added to the calendar, depending on how quickly the studio plans to move.
It appears that Lin-Manuel Miranda is planning on hanging around the Disney lot for the long term. What do you think of him becoming part of the Walt Disney Company's talent pool? From here it looks like a perfect match. We'll get our first taste of the collaboration with Moana is released November 23