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Triton’s daughter, fascinated with the human world, will hit the big screens in 2023.

Disney dropped the first teaser for the Rob Marshall The Little Mermaid live-action remake at the D23 expo. Watch the trailer here.

Many videos, reels, and TikTok clips went trending, featuring Afro-American girls reacting with glee upon watching the trailer.

Ariel will be played by Halle Bailey. The romantic fantasy musical film will also feature Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Art Malik as Grimsby, and the voices of David Diggs as Sebastian, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder. 

Alan Menken will return to compose the film, while Lin-Manuel Miranda will write new songs in addition to producing. Its set to release on May 26, 2023.

A new character, Queen Selina, will be played by Noma Dumezweni. 

The original Ariel, Jodi Benson, praised Halle Bailey’s acting and singing. Benson was the voice actress of the iconic 1989 animated film.

The teaser has over 104 million global views and keeps increasing by the day, showing mesmerizing underwater scenes and a spotlight of Bailey  performing “Part of Your World”.


Benson called her “absolutely amazing”, and stated she’s proud of her beautiful performance as Ariel. She went on to praise Rob Marshall as brilliant and expressed gratitude for their friendship of over 35 years.


Benson had expressed support for Bailey’s casting as Ariel back in 2019. The release of the teaser has reignited the controversy surrounding her participation in the live-action remake.

Similar to other projects, such as the new Percy Jackson adaptation featuring an originally white character played by a person of color, this time, critics have been against Bailey playing Ariel.

Parents of young Black girls shared the videos of their children reacting to the trailer as a response to the backlash.

They used the #representationmatters hashtags to show why diverse casting is necessary in children’s media.

“She’s brown like me!”

Indeed, Bailey is shaping Disney history as the first Black actress to play Ariel. 

Halle is one-half of the singing group Chloe X Halle, and while news of her casting were met with positive reactions, there’s always a group of critics that don’t look forward to seeing their favorite characters played by someone who might not resemble their animated versions.

Benson already gave Bailey her blessing, it’s only a matter of time until the film is released, and girls worldwide can finally see their favorite mermaid resemble their identity.


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