ANNECY — In what looks like one of the biggest announcements at this year’s Annecy Animation Festival, Disney Branded Television has greenlit a new animated series for preschoolers, “Disney Junior’s Ariel,” inspired by the hugely popular story of “The Little Mermaid.”
The announcement is set to be made today by Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television, during the Annecy Animation Festival, at a new project and sneak peak picked presentation across the upcoming slate of Disney Branded Television and Disney EMEA titles.
The new series follows a young Ariel and features fan-favorite characters, including King Triton, Ursula, Sebastian and Flounder, as well as exciting new additions. “Disney Junior’s Ariel” is set to debut on Disney platforms worldwide in 2024.
Set in the fantastical Caribbean-inspired underwater kingdom of Atlantica, the series turns on Ariel and her fun-filled, action-packed mermaid adventures with her friends.
Driven by a deep and unending curiosity about the world around her, Ariel discovers land treasures, like a big floppy hat, squeaky rubber ducky and whisk, that she collects and keeps safe in her crystal cavern, the synopsis runs.
The treasures may also help Ariel solve problems. In a play that looks set to charm pre-schoolers, when she makes a discovery, Ariel is filled with joy, and her mermaid tail, “which changes colors depending on her emotions, lights up and shimmers.”
“Full of charm, big ideas and a powerful voice, ‘Disney Junior’s Ariel’ is coming into her own, learning how to discover and appreciate the world around her and use her voice to inspire others,” the synopsis adds.
“For more than 30 years, the story of ‘The Little Mermaid’ has been beloved by audiences all over the world. It brings me so much joy to be able to introduce our new Disney Junior version of Ariel to preschoolers everywhere,” said Davis.
“As we were developing ‘Disney Junior’s Ariel,’ we knew that we wanted to create an atmosphere that was vibrant and magical and showcased our young Ariel’s imagination, which, like our preschool audience watching at home, is as big as the sea,” added Alyssa Sapire, senior vice president of development, series and strategy for Disney Junior.
“Disney Junior’s Ariel” is executive produced by Lynne Southerland (“Mulan II,” “Happily Ever After”). Norma P. Sepulveda (“Elena of Avalor”) and Keith Wagner (“TrollsTopia”) serve as story editors. Ezra Edmond (“Disney+ Draw Me a Story”) is producer, Kuni Tomita Bowen (“Dora the Explorer”) its supervising director, and Chrystin Garland (“Solar Opposites”) its art director.
The series is produced by Wild Canary (“Miles from Tomorrowland”) in association with Disney Junior.
The Caribbean hosts a stunning range of peoples, countries, cultures and landscapes. Picking up on this, the multicultural diversity of the Caribbean is highlighted in the animated series through music, food, festivals, fashion, language and folklore.
Serving as cultural consultant on the series, Dr. Patricia Saunders, professor of English and hemispheric Caribbean studies and director of graduate studies at the University of Miami and author of two books. Sean Skeete, chair of Berklee College of Music’s ensemble department, is the Caribbean music consultant.