It’s rumored that Disney Studios has offered the role of Ariel in their remake of The Little Mermaid to Zendaya, a source close to Disney tells That Hashtag Show. Since then, people have been backing up the speculation with their own opinions, additional casting ideas, and of course, possible movie posters.
Ever since Disney princesses have grown from waiting around to be saved or sleeping for the entirety of a movie (I’m looking at you, Aurora.), it’s become almost a requirement for each princess to be a sort of feminist icon to inspire young girls that a princess doesn’t have to be born into royalty or rescued into it.
Honestly, who better to play the iconic role of Ariel than feminist advocate Zendaya? Besides the fact that she has openly discussed feminism on multiple forms of social media as well as in interviews, she recently played the strong female starring role on Disney Channel’s K.C. Undercover, a show about a teenage girl in a family of spies who fights and catches her own bad guys.
Aside from her past role as K.C. Cooper, Zendaya also has the role of Anne Wheeler in The Greatest Showman under her belt. It’s no secret that Zendaya is a triple threat, as we’ve learned from her past on Disney Channel’s dance heavy show Shake It Up. So it came as no surprise that she would be singing her heart out to Zac Efron in “Rewrite the Stars.” But when she wasn’t, Anne was fighting for her rights to love somebody unconditionally despite their differences in skin color. In and out of character, Zendaya knows what it means to be a strong woman, and does her best to teach her practices to her fans in any way that she can. And now, she could be doing this through playing Ariel.
Though some may not realize it, mainly because she can’t speak for most of the movie, Ariel is truly one of the strong princesses who fights for herself. Though she does stare longingly at her future husband from a distance at the beginning of the movie, she does take it upon herself to drag his body from the ocean to the shore where she makes sure he’s safe and alive before ditching him so that he can’t fully see her because, well, she’s a mermaid.
She also takes it upon herself to stop Ursula from taking over the kingdom that she knows and loves, all while protecting her man and her father who has been robbed of his powers. Though the power of love does take over her in the end with her decision to have legs for the rest of her life, we know that it’s true love as Prince Eric fell in love with her for who she was at her core, since, again, she couldn’t talk.
While we’re discussing rumors and dream casts, I can’t help but think about who I’d love to see in the other roles. I can’t be the only one who wants to see a gender-swapped version of Ursula played by Tituss Burgess singing “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” As for Prince Eric? Thanks to the recent phenomena of The Greatest Showman, people are all for Efron playing the mermaid’s lover. Only time will tell on the official casting.
Though there isn’t much to say about if the remake of The Little Mermaid will stick to the original animation’s story as closely as possible, we know that there would be some new songs thrown into the production. Lin-Manuel Miranda (Moana) is currently working with Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid) on the composition for the remake as well as the new songs. Perhaps something for Eric to sing in that long period of time where Ariel can’t speak? Along with that musical duo, also attached to the project is Rob Marshall (Into the Woods, Mary Poppins Returns) directing the script by Jane Goldman (The Woman in Black).
Despite the fact that this is just a rumor swirling around, I can’t help but get a little excited for this possibility. Fans will simply have to wait out this potential casting, as a release date for the upcoming remake hasn’t been set yet.