The New ‘Little Mermaid’ ‘Daughters of Triton’ Toy Set Raises Questions About Ariel’s Mother and Triton’s Shenanigans


Screengrab via Disney

There’s no shame in his game — The Little Mermaids King Triton has been a busy man, and a new set of toys inspired by the upcoming live-action film is proof of just that. Triton, who is the son of Poseidon and will be played by Oscar winner Javier Bardem in the film, has long been known to have several lovers and many children before marrying his one and only, Aphrodite ⏤ and it looks like Disney’s live-action adaptation will be no exception.

The crux of Triton’s character is that the death of his wife, Queen Athena, changed everything for him. After that happened, he became fearful, angry, and distressed by land-walking humans and music, both of which he felt took his wife away from him. As Ariel gradually became more interested in both, he became stuck between a rock and a hard place ⏤ wanting to be there for his daughter, but more than that, fighting like hell to keep her safe.

Triton loved Athena with every fiber of his being, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t partners before her. In fact, a Reddit theory from eight years ago touched on the fact that it makes sense for Triton’s daughters to have different mothers, not to mention an innovative idea for why that may have happened (and yes, it involves a deep dive into merfolk reproduction). Will the theory pan out, possibly with Triton himself explaining Ariel’s history to her? We’re curious to find out, especially if it means getting to the bottom of Triton’s sea-nanigans.

For an illustration of said sea-nanigans, look no further than the new toy set featuring Ariel and her sisters. Not only do we see different skin tones and hairstyles reflected in the toys, but the mermaids appear to each have a different vibrant fin as well, accentuating each sister’s unique personality.

While we love a splash of diversity, it does make us wonder how such a lineup came to be, and there’s actually quite a simple explanation. Triton’s seven daughters represent the seven seas, so it makes sense that the women who mothered them would be as different as the oceans. If the new toys are anything to go by, Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella, Alana, and of course, Ariel all have their own unique personality traits. While we only learn so much about them in the animated classic, it would be a real treat to know more about where they come from in the live-action adaptation.

With the live-action reimagining of The Little Mermaid on the horizon, we’ll soon have the chance to experience Ariel’s updated storyline as well as her desire to become part of that human world. We already know that Athena’s death happened after her run-in with a pirate ship, but perhaps the new film will shine more light on what happened to her. This possibility raises other important questions: Will this rendition of Ariel’s story see a deeper connection between her and Triton? Will we see more of Athena’s personality emerge as Ariel chases a life among the humans? Could we even meet the other women from Triton’s life? (Can you say drama?)

One thing is certain: if Ariel’s mother becomes a brand new, fully fleshed-out character in the film ⏤ possibly even one who helps Ariel in some significant way, like during the fight against Ursula ⏤ it would be a welcome addition to a story most Disney fans already know the back of their hand. Even if this doesn’t happen, we’re going to need an explanation for Ariel’s diverse sisterhood, especially if it helps certain viewers finally understand why Ariel is Black and better than ever.

There are so many glorious storytelling avenues Disney could pursue in the new Little Mermaid, and after a few lackluster live-action adaptations, the company has a chance to begin an extraordinary new chapter. Until we know more about Triton’s M.O. as a father of seven, one thing is certain: the man has been busy, and since one of his daughters is hell-bent on following in her late mother’s footsteps instead of remaining safe in the confines of her undersea village, he’s likely to be as stressed-out and angry as we’ve always known him to be.

We hope that some of that stress is alleviated when The Little Mermaid finally swims into theaters May 26.



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