Skip to Content

What’s Different About Ariel and Eric’s Relationship in The Little Mermaid?

The live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is in theaters May 26, 2023. The main storyline stays similar to Disney’s animated version, but there are also some fresh changes. One of them being the relationship between Ariel and Prince Eric. They have a love story that transcends cultures and worlds. 

Jonah Hauer-King plays Prince Eric and he revealed his favorite thing added to his and Ariel’s relationship in The Little Mermaid. Friendship. 

Ariel and Prince Eric The Little Mermaid

Hauer-King said that when audiences watch Disney romances they want this instinctive attraction. He continued that what’s fun about this film is “looking at Ariel and Eric as two people who were kindred spirits who felt a little bit restless, who felt like they were behind the four walls of their respective castles, and were very much looking outwards and not in.”

I agree that this film allows time to focus on Eric and Ariel getting to know each other better even though Ariel can’t speak. They were able to communicate with looks, smiles, yearning to learn, and yes, Ursula, even body language. 

Hauer-King said because of this friendship, their relationship felt earnt and they taught each other about their own worlds. They were excited and fascinated to learn about each other. 

This is where I think Ursula underestimates their connection. She thinks it’s all about the looks and the voice.

Hauer-King concludes with, “I think it’s a really good message for what it means to be in love and what it means to be in a relationship is ultimately tied to friendship. That’s the fundamental thing of it. And that’s why it lasts, and that’s what makes it special.” 

And their relationship truly feels special. You can watch how Eric and Ariel’s relationship is different and how it progresses in The Little Mermaid in theaters May 26th. 

The film is a little longer and mature than the Disney animated film, so be sure to check out The Little Mermaid Parents Guide and age rating.