The Little Mermaid Remake Confirms Popular Fan Theory About Original

It’s now part of that world.
by Anton Reyes
May 27, 2023
disney / the little mermaid

( Since the dawn of the Internet, generations of movie fans and popular media have been able to get together online and discuss not just the text and subtext of a particular film they were engrossed in but the meta text as well. In less geeky terms, discussing what is officially real to a particular world, and what isn't. When stories leave certain elements vague or unanswered, the imaginative child in everyone works overtime to fill in those gaps with theories and secret backstories—and the Internet has proven no one is alone on this post-movie experience process.

Some films drop obvious questions, like “What was the true monster in Netflix’s Bird Box?” or “Was the ending of Inception really a dream?” Other times, fans simply love to speculate on the logic behind movie scenes, such as whether or not Jack could have survived the Titanic. However, when it comes to films targeted at young audiences, there has been a growing trend of uncovering the deeper meaning behind certain plot elements—possibly due to the millennials and older Gen-Z’s growing up on the Internet and discovering all their old “kids’ movies” had references targeted at adults.


Disney themselves are no stranger to these widely speculated—or should we say, “wildly speculated”—fan theories. In particular, their 1989 animated feature The Little Mermaid, which kicked off the era known as the “Disney Renaissance,” has had its fair share of interesting and darkly twisted fan theories. Now, nearly 35 years later, it's confirmed at least one of the popular theories is a swing in the right direction, through the release of its lengthier live-action adaptation.

Also read: We Need to Talk About Prince Eric in the Live-Action Adaptation of The Little Mermaid

Here’s a breakdown of how the live-action The Little Mermaid confirms the Ariel siblings fan theory:

For those not in the know, one popular fan theory from the original Little Mermaid (and somewhat also it’s two direct-to-video sequels) revolves around Ariel and her six sisters. The theory surmises that the seven daughters of King Triton represent the Seven Seas known to the human world, with Ariel herself representing the Red Sea…for obvious reasons. 

Recommended Videos

The live-action film finally confirms this to an extent, with King Triton (played in the live-action film by Javier Bardem), in one scene, asking his daughters how their seas are. You can also see it in their new names. Originally, all their names started with the letter "A" but the new movie supports the seven-seas representation, along with a varied cast to play them: Lorena Andrea as Perla, Simone Ashley as Indira, Kajsa Mohammer as Karina, Nathalie Sorrell as Caspia, Karolina Conchet as Mala, and Sienna King as Tamika. 

While you can pretty much decipher which sea is for which sister, official promotions for the film have detailed this further. Note, too, that it looks like the seas within the world of The Little Mermaid are not exactly the ones that exist in our real world.

PHOTO BY facebook / sm cinema

In the live-action film, Ariel’s sisters rule over the Saithe, Brinedive, Apneic, Chaine, Piton, and Fracus seas, while Ariel herself rules over Carinae Sea. Like the animated film, however, all the names of Ariel’s sisters end with the letter “a,” leaving Ariel to be the obvious outcast (black fish?). 

It seems the original version of the map, minus the pictures of the sisters from the live-action, comes from the live-action film's official Disney guidebook The Little Mermaid: Guide to Merfolk by Eric Geron. This book is marketed as being from Prince Eric's royal library and dives into the lore surrounding the mermaid world, particularly the Seven Seas and their ruling mermaid princesses. 

The film does mention of Ariel’s mother in brief moments, which fans have jokingly speculated to represent the “Dead Sea” in keeping with the “each sea represents a family member” train of thought. Dark humor aside, Ariel’s mother wasn’t featured in the original animated film, but it was revealed in the 2008 threequel The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning that it was the death of her mother, Queen Athena, at the hands of human pirates that turned King Triton sour towards all land-dwellers and even music in general. It’s definitely not off the table to see this story brought to life on the big screen, since we are getting a “live-action” The Lion King II after all.


However, what would truly be mind-breaking to see is if Disney went ahead and confirmed the other popular fan theory connecting The Little Mermaid to the other animated films in the Disney canon. The other fan theory goes that the ship carrying Anna and Elsa’s parents from Frozen was the sunken ship we see Ariel exploring in The Little Mermaid, given that we do see it devoured by a storm in the 2013 animated film.

Not only that, but the theory also likes to run the wild theory that Anna and Elsa’s parents are the same couple we see attempting to save little baby Tarzan from the sinking ship at the beginning of Tarzan. This part’s a bit of a stretch, but hey, we could definitely see Disney introducing the retcon in order to tie their films together. It could build to an Avengers: Endgame scenario where Ariel teams up with Aladdin, Belle, and Mowgli from The Jungle Book in order to defeat Cruella de Vil, or something. Why else remake all the animated movies, if not to give us this?


Also read: Add The Little Mermaid and Pandora Collection to Your Whosits and Whatsits Galore

The Little Mermaid is now showing in cinemas.