Disney will now allow Guests to pre-order merchandise based on its upcoming film, The Little Mermaid (2023), which premieres on May 26.
The Rob Marshall-directed live-action movie reimagines the iconic Disney Renaissance fairytale, originally inspired by the work of Hans Christian Anderson. Moreover, the cast, including names like Melissa McCarthy, Jonah Hauer-King, Jacob Tremblay, Daveed Diggs, and Javier Bardem alongside lead actress Halle Bailey, will perform songs from the 1989 original animated version by composer Alan Menken, as well as new takes added through collaboration with Lin-Manuel Miranda.
In fact, we know certain changes have already been made, such as the inclusion of Bailey’s locs for Ariel’s signature red hair, a more realistic imagining of Ariel’s animal friends Sebastian, Flounder, and Scuttle, and possibly, the shift of her blue village dress to PANTS! In addition, Disney filmmakers promise to explore Prince Eric more, giving him a detailed backstory and personality beyond “Prince Charming” (now with flute), similar to Prince Kit in Cinderella (2015).
The Little Mermaid is groundbreaking for Disney, in part due to its new music, high production, and special effects, but most of all, the impact of its casting a Black actress as the iconic princess. While presenting at the Oscars, Bailey herself told red carpet interviewer for E! News Laverne Cox that she cried watching herself on screen for the first time and was so excited to be able to perform the songs she grew up loving.
Of course, young fans today love Ariel just as much as the children of the late 20th and early 21st century, and representation matters. Furthermore, as part of its commitment to inclusivity, the Disney brand is working to make its Parks and media offerings more diverse and allow all children to see themselves in Disney characters.
Part of that is actually letting kids embody Bailey’s new version of Ariel through Disney’s The Wonder of Play initiative, which inspires “families to play together – creating new experiences and memories that include Disney’s beloved stories, characters and products.” As a result, her character has inspired two new products from Disney, Mattel, and Jakks.
For example, this week, Mattel debuted a new Mermaid Ariel doll with a detailed fin, lovely red hair, and a “deluxe aqua and purple color palette.” Plus, kids can become the sweet siren for adventures under the sea in a costume modeled after Bailey’s in the film.
Interested fans can place early orders for the Mermaid Ariel doll through the Mattel website and for the “Little Mermaid” costume via Amazon. As of now, it’s not clear if Disney intends to also sell these products through shopDisney.com or offer its own versions in the Parks. Mattel’s Mermaid Ariel doll becomes available nationwide at your local retailer on April 23!