Errr... Sebastian From The Little Mermaid Almost Sounded Very Different

Under Mersey...
Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of Disney, so it feel like a good time to reflect on the company.

There are the good calls (I feel like more of us need to get into Treasure Planet), the less-than-great decisions (sorry, Hunchback Of Notre Dame II), and the frankly mind-bending shouts (I refuse to shut up about the real skeletons that were once on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride).

Then, there are the Disney worlds that could have been; the Beatles almost played the vultures in The Jungle Book, for instance. And, it turns out, Sebastian in The Little Mermaid almost had a British accent.


I know!

The now-iconic crab was originally meant to sound English ― we couldn’t find out which TYPE of English accent he was meant to have, so I guess you can let your imagination run wild there.

If it was going to be English, I could have gone along with a port-side accent like Liverpudlian ― but overall, I’m glad lyricist Howard Ashman insisted that the crab have a Caribbean accent.

That led to the creation of the Oscar-winning song “Under The Sea” which was influenced by Trinidadian and Tobagan Calypso music, so it was clearly a good shout.


Right? And while I have you, there are lots of other fun facts about the original The Little Mermaid too.

For instance, you might not have known that Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy all appeared under the sea in the animated film. Even Kermit the frog makes an appearance (woah).

On top of that, the movie’s ending was actually inspired by Die Hard (I know, right?).

Plus, it turns out that Howard Ashman pulled more than one trick out of his hat for this film ― the iconic song Part Of This World was almost cut from the movie, but Ashman and composer Alan Menken threatened to quit if it stayed out.

In a 2019 Polygon interview, Ariel vocalist Jodi Benson shared that Ashman said “You can’t cut the song [...] And if you cut it, they’re not going to fall in love with Ariel and root for her for the rest of the film. There’s not going to be any heart in it whatsoever.“

Let’s all take a minute to appreciate Howard, shall we?


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