Speed Reads


Why the Little Mermaid remake tweaked the lyrics to 2 of the original's songs

Some iconic Little Mermaid songs are getting a rewrite for the live-action version. 

Composer Alan Menken told Vanity Fair (via People) the lyrics to two key songs in The Little Mermaid were tweaked in the upcoming live-action remake. The first is "Kiss the Girl," the song Sebastian sings urging Prince Eric to kiss Ariel. 

"There are some lyric changes in 'Kiss the Girl' because people have gotten very sensitive about the idea that [Prince Eric] would, in any way, force himself on [Ariel]," Menken said.

Additionally, Menken said "some revisions" were made to "Poor Unfortunate Souls," which Ursula sings to Ariel, "regarding lines that might make young girls somehow feel that they shouldn't speak out of turn, even though Ursula is clearly manipulating Ariel to give up her voice." 

This will make The Little Mermaid the latest of Disney's live-action remakes to update the original for modern audiences, as when the 2019 version of Aladdin gave Jasmine a new song, "Speechless," in which she sings about refusing to be silenced. Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey previously told Edition some of the "themes" of the new film will also be updated from the original. "We've definitely changed that perspective of just her wanting to leave the ocean for a boy," Bailey said. "It's way bigger than that. It's about herself, her purpose, her freedom, her life and what she wants."

Rachel Zegler also told People that "we did a really deep dive into fixing and making a modern woman out of Snow White" for the upcoming live-action Snow White. "Most of my character does not work for today's audience, I'll just say it," she said. 

Menken worked on both the original version of The Little Mermaid and the 2023 remake, teaming with Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda to write new songs for the live-action version. Bailey told Entertainment Weekly that "audiences can expect the new music from this film to be very upbeat, very fun, very lighthearted, as well as very emotional."