The Little Mermaid Trailer Plunges Audiences Deeper Into The Live-Action Remake And Shows Ursula

Disney has been in the habit of taking its animated classics and reimagining them in live-action. Guy Ritchie teamed up with Will Smith for Aladdin, which did so well it’s supposed to get a sequel. Jon Favreau tackled The Jungle Book, which then gave him the confidence to try a live-action version of The Lion King, which did offer audiences a few major differences from its animated predecessor. As difficult as these movies seem to be to pull off, a live-action version of The Little Mermaid sounds downright impossible. How does one film the necessary scenes of Ariel “under the sea,” to make the magical musical realistic? Some of that has now been answered thanks to a full trailer for The Little Mermaid that Disney released during the Super Bowl. Press play on the above clip, and enjoy!

We are coming up on the 35th anniversary of the classic Disney animated The Little Mermaid, which followed the mermaid Ariel as she fulfilled her wish of gaining legs and being able to walk on the surface. Only, the wish cost Ariel her beautiful singing voice, which becomes a problem when she meets and starts to fall in love with Prince Eric. 

Stepping, er, swimming into the role for the live-action The Little Mermaid will be Halle Bailey, and she has been channeling her inner mermaid ever since she got the opportunity to see herself in action in the first official teaser trailer for the movie. But now that the movie is getting closer to its May 26 release date, it was time for Walt Disney Studios to start capturing the attention of a much larger audience, and a Super Bowl spot is a guaranteed way to make that happen. 

The primary human character joining Halle Bailey on the big screen in The Little Mermaid will be Jonah Hauer-King, a busy actor who hasn’t yet had a breakout role of this size just yet. It’s possible that he beat out Harry Styles, who has gone on record saying that he passed on the part. There was a time when Zach Efron’s name was in the mix, as well, though he’s likely too old for the role by now. 

Prior to last year, I might have told you that one of the things holding a live-action The Little Mermaid was the ability to make underwater action believable. But that problem was solved by two massive blockbusters that took place for huge chunks in the sea. By bringing Namor to life in the MCU, Ryan Coogler had to solve the underwater issue for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. And then James Cameron completely changed the game with Avatar: The Way of Water, a visual feast that has been astounding audiences ever since its first, beautiful trailer. If The Little Mermaid can make a fraction of Avatar’s box office, I’m sure Disney will be pleased.

Beyond this new trailer, I’m excited to see more from Melissa McCarthy playing Ursula in live-action, and the inclusion of Javier Bardem as Ariel’s dad, King Triton. The Little Mermaid will be in theaters beginning on May 26, one of countless upcoming 2023 movies that you will want on your radar.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.