As the Disney Wish gets closer to its maiden voyage, Walt Disney Imagineers continue work on the onboard experiences Guests will enjoy, including a stage show based on the animated classic The Little Mermaid. At least, it was presumed to be based on the animated classic.
On March 15, Disney Parks Blog released new concept art for the Broadway-caliber Little Mermaid stage show that will premier on the Disney Wish. It appears Disney Parks and Experiences are choosing to create an experience based on its Live-Action Remake rather than the original classic.
Check it out:
A talented team of Walt Disney Imagineers and Disney entertainment extraordinaries take you “behind the curtain” of the Walt Disney Theatre on the Disney Wish, featuring never-before-seen concept art and footage from the development process. Read more: https://t.co/OuW5Q8OiiB pic.twitter.com/d9N1lLohmC
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) March 15, 2022
In concept art for The Little Mermaid, we see Ariel portrayed as a black woman in the same style as Halle Bailey, who is playing the Disney Princess in the upcoming live-action remake.
Now, it could be that Disney is just being inclusive with this concept art as there has been no official announcement as far as we know that they are exclusively looking for a woman of color to play Ariel. But if they are looking to bring Halle Bailey’s version from the screen to the stage, it would be the first time that a live-action remake was chosen for adaptation over the original.
Since Disney began its live-action remake trend, the Park experiences have remained consistent with the original animated classics. It was almost an unspoken agreement. While Walt Disney Studios went to fix what arguably wasn’t broken, and used the stability of beloved stories to push the boundaries of elements like CGI/VFX, and character portrayal, Disney Parks and experiences were left unaffected by the change to canon. The closest Disney experiences have come to getting a live-action makeover was the inclusion of Captain Jack Sparrow in the beloved attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean. The Jungle Cruise changes–while extensive–remain separate from the movie starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt.
Disney’s The Little Mermaid is scheduled to be released to theaters in early 2023. Lin-Manuel Miranda has confirmed that new songs are coming, and stressed the team’s commitment to stay true to the 1989 classic. But, it is still unclear how much of the story has changed and if those changes will make it into this new show.
Based on a story of the same name by known as the . , was transformed into a classic for in 1989. With songs by and , show-stopping voicework of , the kicked off a series of wildly successful movies from
Disney’s has since been adapted into a television series, a Broadway show in , and is now getting Disney’s live-action treatment. The cast includes as Ariel, as , as , as Sebastian the Crab, and as the Ursula.