The Tragic Theory About ‘Little Mermaid,’ ‘Peter Pan,’ and Ariel’s Mother

in Disney, Movies

Peter Pan, Ariel's Mother Athena form Little Mermaid 2, Human Ariel from Little Mermaid 1989

Credit: Disney

Now that we’re in the height of the live-action version of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (2023), a dark and tragic fan theory has gone viral regarding Ariel’s Mother and Peter Pan (1953).

Halle Bailey playing Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' (2023)
Credit: Disney

Director Rob Marshall’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is already killing it at the box office, having earned almost $120 million in its opening weekend. The story of Princess Ariel (Halle Bailey) and her quest for independence has once again placed the young mermaid, alongside King Triton (Javier Bardem) and the sea witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy), in the hearts of Disney fans around the world.

But this doesn’t mean fans have forgotten the original 1989 animated adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, whose presence is still felt in the remake with incredible music by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. That presence is also still online, with multiple comparisons and complaints digging their hooks into the internet.

And speaking of hooks, a long-held Little Mermaid fan theory has once again regained traction and connected the whole franchise to another beloved Walt Disney filmPeter Pan.

Captain Hook Killed Ariel’s Mother in ‘The Little Mermaid 2’

Captain Hook looking through a telescope
Credit: Disney

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That’s right. Fans widely believe Captain Hook killed Ariel’s mother and King Triton’s wife, Queen Athena. In the direct-to-video prequel The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning (2008), viewers see a young Ariel interacting with her mother and father in a lagoon. Unfortunately, pirates attack and, in the aftermath, kill the Queen by crushing her with their ship.

While this doesn’t seem like a lot to go on at first, it gets more interesting when you notice that not only does the lagoon in the prequel seem similar to Mermaid’s Lagoon in Peter Pan, but one of the mermaids bares a striking similarity to Queen Athena.

Queen Athena from Little Mermaid 2, Meramids from peter Pan
Credit: Disney

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While there are some slight differences, both mermaids have an almost identical design that is worth noting. On top of that, the pirates on the ship in Ariel’s Beginning look remarkably similar to Captain Hook’s crew. Then again, that may just be the animators sticking to generic pirates.


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♬ original sound – Ivan Mars | MovieDetective

This theory has some holes, especially when it claims that Queen Athena was “captured” when the movie states that she died, but it is compelling nonetheless. It makes you wonder how other classic films from Walt Disney Animation are connected.

Do you think this fan theory has any weight to it? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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