The Little Mermaid’s Live-Action Sebastian Design Revealed in Merchandise The Talks Today

Disney’s live-action remakes have all raised the same complaint when it comes to the realistic interpretations of their animal characters. Now The Little Mermaid looks set to repeat the same issue as those faces by the likes of The Lion King as the first good look at Sebastian the crab has received a very mixed response from fans of the classic 1989 animated movie.

Although Disney is yet to reveal a first full trailer for The Little Mermaid, images of upcoming merchandise from the movie has given fans a look at one of the film’s most iconic underwater characters, Sebastian the crab. A new jigsaw depicts artistic versions of Flouder the fish, Scuttle the Seagull and of course Sebastian the crab, as well as the titular mermaid herself. However, the image also gives a look at how Sebastian is going to look in his live action iteration, and it once again proves that turning and animated animal characture into a more accurate interpretation has its drawbacks.


Sebastian’s new appearance does follow the trend seen in most of Disney’s live-action re-imaginings of their classic animations, such as Aladdin, The Lion King and the Disney+ release of Lady and the Tramp, taking away the cartoon elements of the character and instead giving him a more realistic appearance. However, like in those previous movies, the natural world doesn’t exactly allow the animal characters to be quite as expressive as their animated counterparts and that is something that comes across as the main issue again with Sebastian.

Related: Halle Bailey Talks About The Little Mermaid’s Racist Backlash: ‘As a Black Person, You Just Expect It’

The Little Mermaid Could Be Disney’s Biggest Hit of 2023

The Little Mermaid Pufferfish
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Although Disney are yet to unveil the first good look at The Little Mermaid, there has been plenty of attention focused on the movie in the last few months for a number of reasons, mainly the backlash the casting of Halle Bailey in the title role received. Similar to the online flood of complaints that follow the race or gender switching of previously established characters, Bailey was subjected to a lot of criticism over her casting as Ariel. However, in a previous interview, the young actress brushed aside the online troll comments. She said:

“I felt like God was lining up themes in my life with the character. Ariel has this longing for something more. She doesn’t quite know what it is yet, but she has to be brave in order to find it on her own. Being away from everybody for the first time in my life, I really loved those themes of knowing that it’s OK to be fearful and pushing through it. As a Black person, you just expect it and it’s not really a shock anymore. I know people are like, ‘It’s not about race.’ But now that I’m her … People don’t understand that when you’re Black there’s this whole other community. It’s so important for us to see ourselves.”

The likelihood of these online comments going away is very slim, and they will be stirred up again by the arrival of the first trailer. However, the chance of such criticisms actually impacting The Little Mermaid’s box office are slim at best, and the film could well become Disney’s guaranteed blockbuster of the summer when it arrives on May 26.

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