Climax Explained: What Happens to Halle Bailey’s Ariel in The Little Mermaid?

Heather McKeever

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‘The Little Mermaid’ Ending Explained: What Happens to Halle Bailey's Ariel?

A famous crab once said, “The seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake,” and so was all the money that Disney’s live-action version of The Little Mermaid made in theaters in 2023.

Many of Disney’s live-action remakes of their classic animated movies have been hit or miss, like Tim Burton’s Dumbo with Michael Keaton and Colin Farrell coming out in 2019, Robert Zemeckis’ Pinocchio with Tom Hanks, and Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin with Will Smith as the Genie (the beloved character made famous by Robin Williams), but critics have said that Rob Marshall’s The Little Mermaid is one of the better remakes from Disney.

Not only does the movie look great and stay true to the original, but a lot of the acting is also very good. Melissa McCarthy is a great choice to play Ursula, and Halle Bailey’s role as Ariel is a great way for her to get noticed.

What Happens at the End of The Little Mermaid?

Even though there are some differences between the 1989 version and the 2023 version, like Ursula being Ariel’s aunt in the 2023 version, the ending of the 2023 version is pretty much the same as the ending of the 1989 cartoon classic.

Ursula, who stole Ariel’s voice, starts the third act by dressing up as the beautiful Vanessa (Jessica Alexander) and making Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) think she is the person who saved him when his ship sank. When Scuttle (Awkwafina) finds out that Eric is getting married, she raps the news to Ariel, who still doesn’t get it.

The young lady then learns that her one true love has already been given to someone else. Ariel runs to the engagement party for Eric and Vanessa to tell them that Vanessa is really Ursula. This is what Scuttle told her. She grabs Vanessa with the help of Scuttle and gets the collar that makes her quiet.

‘The Little Mermaid’ Ending Explained: What Happens to Halle Bailey's Ariel?

When Ariel breaks it, she can start talking again. Then Eric realizes that she was the girl he’d been looking for all along. Eric and Ariel are about to kiss, but the sun is setting, which means that her deal with Ursula is over, and she turns back into a mermaid in front of everyone.

This also means that she belongs to the sea witch, who changes back into her true form and jumps into the water with Ariel. King Triton now knows what went on under the sea because Flounder told him. King Triton comes to save Ariel from Ursula, and he agrees to give Ursula his trident in return for his daughter.

Ursula takes it, hits Triton with it, and says she is Queen of the Seven Seas. Eric comes and tries to stop her. Ursula tries to kill Eric, but Ariel stops her. Because of this, Ursula kills her own eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, by accident with the trident. Ursula uses the trident to make herself bigger and scarier when she is angry.

Ursula is after them, but even though Ariel tells Eric to save himself, he won’t leave Ariel. When Ursula acts badly, she makes a tornado that pulls ships from the ocean floor. Eric and Ariel both go on one of the wrecks.

Ursula is about to kill Eric when Ariel, not Eric like in the 1990 version, takes over a broken-down ship and kills Ursula by pinning her to it with the bowsprit. Now that Ursula is dead and Triton has grown back to his normal size, everyone is safe. He can start dating Ariel again.

But Ariel still wants to live on land, so Triton turns her into a person, and she and Eric kiss. Soon after that, Ariel and Eric get married. Triton, Ariel’s sisters, other mermaids and mermen, and people from the land all come to say goodbye to Ariel before they go on a new adventure at sea.

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