Disney is expanding the world of the live-action “The Little Mermaid” film with a brand-new animated series coming to its Disney Junior network.
Even as the live-action movie — featuring Halle Bailey as Ariel — continues to swim along in theaters, Disney executives announced the newest project for everyone’s favorite mermaid.
“For more than 30 years, the story of ‘The Little Mermaid’ has been beloved by audiences all over the world,” said Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television during the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France. “It brings me so much joy to be able to introduce our new Disney Junior version of Ariel to preschoolers everywhere.”
“Disney Junior’s Ariel,” a series designed for preschoolers, will expand Ariel’s world under the sea. The Ariel character will stay true to Bailey’s live-action character in the recent movie and tie in Caribbean culture, including music, food, festivals, folklore and even fashion.
“As we were developing ‘Disney Junior’s Ariel,’ we knew that we wanted to create an atmosphere that was vibrant and magical and showcased our young Ariel’s imagination, which, like our preschool audience watching at home, is as big as the sea,” said Alyssa Sapire, senior vice president of Development, Series and Strategy for Disney Junior in a press release.
According to Billboard, the story will take audiences back to Ariel’s childhood. Familiar characters, such as Flounder, Sebastian, Ursula and King Triton, will appear in the series. Two new characters, merchildren Lucia and Fernie, will debut as Ariel’s best friends.
The new animated series is the latest addition to products inspired by the live-action movie. Lego recently released three new building sets modeled after the live-action characters and Disney recently debuted a new “Little Mermaid” doll inspired by Bailey.
The actor reacted emotionally to the new doll in a Twitter post earlier this year.
omg the little girl in me is pinching herself right now ..i have my own Little Mermaid Ariel doll !!! I can’t believe how much she captures my version of this iconic character brb gonna go cry now … pic.twitter.com/NKn0H0mssT
— Halle (@HalleBailey) March 6, 2023
“I am literally choking up because this means so much to me,” she said in the video. “And to have one that looks like me, that’s my favorite Disney character, is very surreal.”
“Disney Junior’s Ariel” will debut on Disney platforms in 2024.