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What Happened to Ariel’s Mom?

Feb 2, 2023


The Little Mermaid is undoubtedly one of Disney’s most popular princess movies, and the one that turned millions of children around the world into mermaid fans. This production was written and directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, the creative duo who also helmed such hits as Aladdin, The Princess and the Frog, and Moana. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, The Little Mermaid follows Ariel, a young mermaid who is obsessed with the human world and life out of the sea. Eventually, she opts to disobey her father and makes a pact with Ursula, the sea witch, to become human for three days in order to see Eric, a man she fell in love with, once again. However, this deal is far more dangerous than Ariel anticipated, and the consequences for her life and the kingdom of Atlantica can be devastating.
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This 1989 film became a box-office hit, and was widely acclaimed by critics. It earned, among many other accolades, two Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song and a nomination for Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globe Awards. This production’s overwhelming popularity launched a franchise and led to the release of two sequels, The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea and The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning. In recent years, this popular Disney character has made headlines again, as the company announced that a live-action adaptation of the film, starring Halle Bailey, is scheduled for release this May.

One unexplored theme in the original film is the story of Queen Athena, Ariel’s mother. While she is mentioned a few times in the production, it is not entirely clear what happened to her. Truth is, this queen’s tragic story was a turning point in Atlantica and influenced the way King Triton raised their daughters. Here’s what happened to Queen Athena.

Who Was Ariel’s Mom?

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

At the beginning of The Little Mermaid, the audience is introduced to Ariel, the main character of the story, and a brief overview of her life and family. This young mermaid is the seventh and youngest daughter of King Triton and Queen Athena. Her older sisters are Andrina, Arista, Aquata, Adella, Alana, and Attina. And while most of these characters are featured in the film, one is distinctly absent: Athena. Audiences only get to see her in The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning, a production that explores a bit more of Ariel’s life and her parents’ story. Queen Athena is depicted as a loving mermaid who is cherished by her family and everyone around her. She is fond of music and owns a beautiful voice. She looks very similar to Ariel: both of them are gorgeous, with bright red hair, a purple seashell bra and their mermaid tails in greenish tones, although Athena has green eyes and wears gold jewelry. From the few scenes she is featured, you can see that Athena and her husband King Triton have a beautiful relationship.

Related: The Little Mermaid Backlash: The Origin Story, Gabriella, and Disney’s Casting

A Murder That Turned the Kingdom Upside Down

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Queen Athena’s absence in Atlantica is addressed through flashbacks in the 2008 film The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning. The production takes us back to Ariel’s childhood, featuring a much younger King Triton along with Queen Athena as they enjoy their life together while running a kingdom that is full of music and laughter. On their wedding anniversary, the couple and all of their daughters head off to a cove to celebrate. While there, Triton gifts his wife a music box containing gold figures of them, which, when opened, plays their favorite song.

All of a sudden, a pirate ship approaches them, causing the family to retreat. Attina gets stuck between two rocks, which prompts her mother to help her. Eventually, she manages to escape, buying Queen Athena enough time to join her. However, the queen spots her music box in the distance, and since she refuses to leave it behind, she attempts to get closer to the rock and retrieve it. Unfortunately, Athena gets crushed by the pirate ship as it hits the rocks, leaving her family utterly devastated.

As a result of this terrible loss, Kind Triton bans music in the kingdom and all contact with the human world, leaving the fun and laughter-filled kingdom it once was in oblivion. At the same time, driven by the fear of losing another member of his family, he becomes a very strict father-figure in raising his daughters, especially Ariel. Likely, his youngest daughter’s rebellious, curious, and adventurous attitude reminds him very much of Athena, and that is why Triton is particularly hard on her, desperately trying to keep her away from the surface and thwarting her every attempt to learn about humans.

Will Queen Athena be featured in the live-action movie?

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid has fans very excited and paying attention to every piece of news that comes out of it. This upcoming film by Rob Marshall will feature Bailey as Ariel alongside Jonah Hauer-King, Javier Bardem, Melissa McCarthy, Daveed Diggs, Jacob Tremblay, and Awkwafina, among other actors. While it has not been officially announced, it is rumored that this 2023 film will showcase Queen Athena, allowing audiences to peek a bit more into her relationship with Ariel. Initially, fans believed that she would be portrayed by Noma Dumezweni, who was cast in an undisclosed role. However, it was eventually announced that the actress is set to play the role of Queen Selina, a new character in the story. While rumors of Queen Athena’s appearance are still circulating, as of today it has not been confirmed whether or not she will be featured in the film.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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