Disney’s Little Mermaid franchise is making a splash once again, this time on the small screen. After the mixed reception of the live-action remake, Disney is not slowing down its efforts to bring Ariel and her underwater world to audiences. The entertainment giant has given the green light to a new show called “Ariel,” set to debut worldwide on Disney Junior in 2024.
The Animation Studio Behind The New Little Mermaid Show
Unlike previous animated adaptations, this Disney-branded television show is being produced by a different studio. Wild Canary Animation, known for their work on “Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures,” has been entrusted with bringing Ariel’s adventures to life. The decision to license out the intellectual property to a different animation studio demonstrates Disney’s confidence in Wild Canary’s ability to deliver quality work.
The show’s initial synopsis reveals an interesting approach to the storyline. Instead of focusing on an older Ariel venturing to the surface, this series will revolve around a younger version of the iconic character. She will be depicted as solving problems beneath the waves with the assistance of her collection of human treasures. This blending of elements from the live-action remake and the original animated film aims to create a unique narrative for fans of all generations.
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Ariel New Series Setting and Creative New Iterations
While the setting remains the enchanting undersea Caribbean Kingdom of Atlantica, and Ariel retains her iconic dark skin, there are some notable changes to her appearance. The redhead look from the beloved 90s version has been reintroduced, and her design reflects the classic animated portrayal. Although the art of King Triton, Ursula, and Sebastian has yet to be unveiled, it remains to be seen whether their designs will align more closely with the 1989 original or the recent live-action remake.
One intriguing twist to this new iteration is Ariel’s tail, which functions as a mood ring. It changes colors based on her emotions, illuminating and shimmering when she is happy. This addition seems tailor-made for merchandise sales, an objective commonly pursued in modern branded media. Successful animated shows like “Paw Patrol” have generated billions in merchandise revenue targeted specifically at preschool children. It is no surprise that Disney wants a piece of this lucrative market with its Little Mermaid franchise.
This is not the first time Disney has explored animated spin-offs of its theatrical films. Back in the 90s, during the Disney Renaissance era, an animated series based on the original “Little Mermaid” film ran for three seasons. This success paved the way for multiple animated series derived from other Disney movies such as “Aladdin,” “Timon and Pumbaa,” “101 Dalmatians,” and “Hercules.” If the new “Ariel” show proves to be a hit, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to imagine Disney replicating this strategy with animated shows based on their live-action remakes.
Wild Canary Animation Focused On Respecting Ariel’s Roots
Despite targeting a young audience, Wild Canary Animation is approaching this project with seriousness and cultural authenticity. They have enlisted the expertise of two cultural consultants to ensure a respectful and accurate portrayal of Ariel’s Caribbean roots. Dr. Patricia Saunders, an associate professor at the University of Miami, serves as a consultant on Caribbean studies, while Sean K. Skeet, the chair of Berkeley’s College of Music’s Ensemble department, provides guidance as the show’s Caribbean music consultant. Their involvement demonstrates a commitment to authenticity, even for a preschool-focused show about a mermaid and her squeaky rubber duck.
In the vast landscape of animated reboots and adaptations, the upcoming Little Mermaid series stands out. It seems to hold promise, not just for young viewers but also for fans who have grown up with the beloved Disney franchise. While the details of other upcoming projects, like the mysterious Angry Birds reboot, remain uncertain even to the creators themselves, the Little Mermaid’s return to the small screen brings excitement and anticipation. With its combination of nostalgia and fresh storytelling, “Ariel” has the potential to capture the hearts of both new and longtime fans.
The decision to delve deeper into Ariel’s world and explore her adventures below the waves is a clever move. By focusing on her younger years, the show can introduce new characters and storylines while staying true to the essence of the original film. Young viewers will get to witness Ariel’s growth and development, providing them with relatable experiences and valuable life lessons.
Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures
The involvement of Wild Canary Animation, known for their work on “Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures,” brings a level of expertise and creativity to the project. Their experience in crafting engaging and visually stunning animated series ensures that “Ariel” will be a feast for the eyes, immersing audiences in the vibrant and magical world of Atlantica.
Furthermore, the addition of cultural consultants demonstrates Disney’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Dr. Patricia Saunders and Sean K. Skeet bring invaluable knowledge and expertise, ensuring that the Caribbean elements of Ariel’s story are portrayed with respect and authenticity. By incorporating Caribbean music and cultural nuances, the show aims to celebrate and embrace the rich diversity of the region, resonating with viewers from various backgrounds.
The introduction of Ariel’s mood-changing tail adds a delightful and interactive element to the show. Children will be captivated by the colorful transformations, fostering imaginative play and furthering their emotional connection to the character. Disney has always been adept at creating iconic and marketable characters, and Ariel’s new tail feature is a testament to their understanding of what captivates young audiences.
As the success of “Paw Patrol” and other merchandise-driven shows has demonstrated, the Little Mermaid franchise presents a tremendous opportunity for Disney in the world of merchandise and consumer products. From toys and clothing to accessories and collectibles, Ariel’s popularity transcends generations, making her an enduring and beloved character. The show’s carefully crafted elements, including the vibrant visuals, relatable storytelling, and engaging characters, are all aimed at maximizing the potential for merchandise tie-ins.
In conclusion, Disney’s decision to greenlight a new Little Mermaid series, titled “Ariel,” for Disney Junior demonstrates their commitment to expanding and reimagining their beloved franchises. By partnering with Wild Canary Animation and enlisting the expertise of cultural consultants, the show promises to deliver a visually stunning and culturally authentic experience for young viewers. With a focus on a younger Ariel and her underwater adventures, the series aims to capture the hearts of both new and longtime fans. The introduction of Ariel’s mood-changing tail adds an interactive element that will surely ignite the imagination of children worldwide. As the Little Mermaid returns to the small screen, anticipation builds, and the possibility of future animated spin-offs based on live-action remakes looms on the horizon. Disney’s “Ariel” show is poised to make a significant splash in the world of children’s entertainment, continuing the legacy of this beloved and timeless tale.