ARIEL Trailer For Disney Junior’s THE LITTLE MERMAID Series Makes A Big Change To The Villainous Ursula

The decision to cast a non-white actor as The Little Mermaid‘s Ariel resulted in the expected racist backlash online, though singer and actress Halle Bailey arguably proved the haters wrong with her standout performance. 

The movie itself, which made $569.6 million at the worldwide box office, wasn’t as good as some of Disney’s other live-action adaptations, but it did renew interest in the franchise. 

Disney Branded Television has since greenlit a new animated series titled Disney Junior’s Ariel. While not a direct prequel to the live-action movie, it’s clearly heavily inspired by that and the original 1989 classic.

The first teaser has now surfaced (via Toonado.com), and while Ariel’s appearance has upset the usual suspects, it’s the fact classic Disney villain Ursula is being portrayed in a heroic light which has generated controversy for many Disney fans. This may be a show for young children, but this feels like a strange creative decision on the show’s part. 

Still, given the target audience, we’d advise against overthinking this one and we’re sure a lot of little boys and girls will have a great time with this series. 

Set in the fantastical Caribbean-inspired underwater kingdom of Atlantica, the series follows Ariel as she embarks on fun-filled, action-packed mermaid adventures with her friends. Driven by a deep and unending curiosity about the world around her, Ariel discovers land treasures, like a big floppy hat, squeaky rubber ducky, and whisk, that she collects and keeps safe in her crystal cavern. Sometimes, Ariel uses the treasures to help solve problems.

With each discovery, Ariel is filled with joy, and her mermaid tail, which changes colors depending on her emotions, lights up and shimmers. Full of charm, big ideas and a powerful voice, Disney Junior’s Ariel is coming into her own, learning how to discover and appreciate the world around her and use her voice to inspire others.

Mykal-Michelle Harris takes on the title role, along with Taye Diggs and Amber Riley as King Triton and Ursula. 

Disney Junior’s Ariel is executive produced by Lynne Southerland (Mulan II). Norma P. Sepulveda (Elena of Avalor) and Keith Wagner (TrollsTopia) serve as story editors, while Ezra Edmond (Draw Me a Story) produces, Kuni Tomita Bowen (Dora the Explorer) is supervising director, and Chrystin Garland (Solar Opposites) is art director. 

Dr. Patricia Saunders, a professor of English and hemispheric Caribbean studies, has been tapped as a cultural consultant, the show should live up to its promise to explore the multicultural diversity of the Caribbean through music, food, festivals, fashion, language and folklore.

Disney Junior’s Ariel is set to be released this summer.