The following article contains spoilers for "The Little Mermaid."
Back in 1989, Disney animation was having a renaissance. "The Little Mermaid" brought fans back to the theaters to see a brand new Disney princess in Ariel, the teenage mermaid who longs for adventures on land. She falls in love with Prince Eric but cannot speak to him after giving her voice to the sea witch Ursula to get her fins replaced by legs. Ariel and Eric ultimately marry at the end of the film. I'd feel bad for giving you spoilers, but it's been 34 years since it came out.
There has been some modernization of Ariel's character in the new live-action version of "The Little Mermaid," so I wondered if Ariel (Halle Bailey) and Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) would actually marry this time around. Like many of you, I've read all the memes and lists about the ages of Disney Princesses and how very young they are when they marry. I recently got a chance to speak to director/producer Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca, and I asked him if there was any discussion around the topic.
'… It Wasn't Just Falling In Love With A Handsome Guy Or The Pretty Girl.'
Marshall said, "Well, we thought about it, but we thought it was really important that the union that they create is something that actually begins the healing process of between these two worlds." He is, of course, talking about the ocean people and the land people, who have a very tense relationship. A marriage between a person from each would is a time-honored way of peacemaking, whatever your feelings about it.
DeLuca explained that they decided instead to concentrate on making the relationship between Ariel and Eric one of deep friendship. He said:
" … we really wanted the relationship to be what won out and having them really experiencing each other as friends — deep, deep friendship. So it wasn't just falling in love with a handsome guy or the pretty girl. The wedding, we didn't show the wedding. We don't really have a wedding because we didn't want to make it that it was all the penultimate thing is the wedding. No, it's the relationship. They're going off together and adventuring together."
Though I'll admit that teen princesses getting married has always been a weird concept for me, I love that they're at least focusing on building a connection rather than just the ceremony. They're going adventuring as the movie ends, building the relationship further and bringing their worlds together in a new way.
"The Little Mermaid" is currently in theaters.
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