The Little Mermaid movie posters have been released, and Halle Bailey looks truly magical as Ariel

New posters for The Little Mermaid have finally (excuse the pun) surfaced – six years after Walt Disney announced the live action remake of the 1989 animated film of the same name, and with week’s to go until the film’s release on 26 May. The official Disney Instagram account shared a carousel post of the film posters with its 27.4 million followers earlier this week.

In these artful shots, we get to see Halle Bailey as titular character Ariel, with flowing auburn hair and what looks like a purple, scale-covered bustier that forms part of her mermaid costume. We’re thinking unlikely fashion trend for summer 2023, perhaps – aquatic chic? Then there’s Javier Bardem playing her character’s father, King Triton (not going to lie, we really fancy Javier Bardem in this role, the long grey hair and beard somehow work wonders for him).

Bridesmaids star Melissa McCarthy looks delightfully villainous as Ursula, with luminous pale skin, stark white hair and metallic blue eyeshadow, plus dramatically arched brows. We’d never had her down as an evil character before, but this poster proves it to be a genius casting choice.

Next up is The Flatshare‘s Jonah Hauer-King making a dashing Prince Eric – a role originally auditioned for by Harry Styles, before an acknowledgement that the casting wasn’t “the right fit”. The movie poster carousel includes CGI representations of Sebastian the crab (voiced by Daveed Diggs), Scuttle (voiced by Awkwafina) and Flounder (voiced by Jacob Tremblay).

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Filmed across Pinewood Studios in England and Sardinia, Italy, the upcoming film will follow a similar storyline to the original 1837 Hans Christian Andersen fairytale both films are based on. As for the music, it will feature the original soundtrack from the 1989 film, composed by Alan Menken – which is a smart move, because this film just wouldn’t sound quite right without catchiest tune in the world (and ocean), ‘Under the Sea’. However, some songs will include amended lyrics to be in line with 21st century conversations around consent.

These classics will be complemented by three new songs written by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda in collaboration with Menken, titled “For The First Time”, “Wild Unchartered Waters” and “Scuttlebutt” (according to Entertainment Weekly).

In anticipation of the film’s release, Halle Bailey has spoken in interviews about the team’s plans for a modern, more feminist Ariel – a shift away from the original storyline’s portrayal of the character as “her wanting to leave the ocean for a boy”

“It’s way bigger than that. It’s about herself, her purpose, her freedom, her life and what she wants,” Bailey said in a cover story interview with Edition magazine.

The Little Mermaid will be released in UK cinemas on 26 May 2023.