The Little Mermaid Trailer: Look At This Trailer, Isn't It Neat [D23]

Wherever you stand on the great Disney debate of the current moment, there's no denying one simple fact: when Disney transforms one of its animated classics into a live-action remake, it's guaranteed to make lots of money. No matter how baffling it feels to look at side-by-side images of animated and live-action Simba, that doesn't change the fact that "The Lion King" pounced to the top of the box office upon its release. So sooner or later, the Disney classic you hold nearest and dearest will be dragged out of the Disney vault and brought into the uncanny valley world of live-action. But on the bright side, that's not always a bad thing!

Capitalism-fueled pessimism aside, this can actually present a fun experiment: can these classics be updated? Changed for the better? Or maybe they're just here to introduce a new generation to stories that were bound to be retold anyway — they're based on fairy tales, after all! Today, we get to do that thought experiment with our good ole friend, Ariel, because Disney's "The Little Mermaid" is next up on the live-action docket.

Coming to theaters in 2023, this reimagining of "The Little Mermaid" stars Halle Bailey stars as the titular Ariel, a mermaid princess fascinated by the human world. The actress and singer is known as one half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, in addition to roles in Freeform's "Grown-ish" and Blitz Bazawule's upcoming take on "The Color Purple." The cast also includes Jonah Hauer-King ("Little Women" miniseries) as Prince Eric, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder. Up until now, Disney has remained as secretive as ever but now that we're just a few months out from the film's release, the D23 Expo has gifted us with our first look at "The Little Mermaid."

Check out The Little Mermaid sneak peek

Like many Disney projects before it, "The Little Mermaid" comes with the backing of an acclaimed group of creatives. Rob Marshall, director of "Chicago," "Into the Woods" and "Mary Poppins Returns" is continuing his musical streak at the helm of this film, which is also produced by Lin Manuel Miranda, John DeLucas, and Marc Platt. The screenplay comes from Jane Goldman ("Rebecca," "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children") and David Magee ("Mary Poppins Returns"). And as for music? Alan Menken, who scored and co-wrote songs for the original Disney film is returning as composer of the remake, which includes both the originals and new songs penned by Miranda.

1989's "The Little Mermaid" marked a turning point in Disney's history and quickly became one of the most beloved titles in the studio's collection. Kids and adults alike fell in love with the strong-willed Ariel as she fought to find a place for herself in the human world. Did said kids later return to the story as adults only to realize the flaws in her ill-thought-out deal with the sea witch, Ursula? Perhaps. But still, Ariel's adventure marked the beginning of the Disney renaissance for very good reason — it breathed new life into the original Disney formula and was followed by many more films that did the same, Is there any chance that history will repeat itself? At long last, we're on the verge of finding out.

"The Little Mermaid" is set to debut on May 26, 2023.