In 2022, The Little Mermaid made a lot of noise when Halle Bailey was announced as the casting choice for Ariel in the Disney live-action remake. The online backlash and steam that the studio received, however, was not new as far as the movie has been concerned. The diversely unexpected roster of actors that were revealed in roles such as the gender-swapped Scuttle (to be voiced by Awkwafina), contributed to quite a lot of heated debates when announced.
Now, it seems that Sebastian – in all his non-threatening and adorable glory – has become a point of contention among the public as well.
Also read: “Thank you for creating such a stunning film”: Original Ariel Voice Actor Jodi Benson Praises The Little Mermaid, Defends Halle Bailey Against Racist Trolls
First Look at Sebastian in The Little Mermaid Revealed
The Little Mermaid has been one of Disney’s most prized possessions, one that has been high up on the citadel of the elites like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. But like all the rest, this fairy tale too represents a very specific and very white demography: something that has, in recent years, become a subject up for discussion and debate at the studios and the productions. Disney, and Hollywood in general, has become much more open to representation and inclusivity and Bailey’s casting was one of the more surprising and wholesome decisions to have come out of the House of Mouse.
Also read: Why Disney’s The Little Mermaid Is One Of The Most Regressive Movies Ever
But the backlash that was rooted in racism and bigotry has died down ever since (especially considering how many of the hate campaigns directed at The Little Mermaid casting were caused and started by AI bots). Now, the new hoarder of attention is the little red crab, Sebastian, whose sole reason to anger the crowd is the borderline effective and realistic CGI that makes the sea creature look more functional and flatteringly like an actual crab in its design than expected.
Fans React to Sebastian From The Little Mermaid Remake
Also read: This Is How The Little Mermaid Will Set Things Right Amid Disney Live-Action Criticisms
As far as the fairy tale is concerned, Sebastian has a big head, an entire set of perfect, pearly-white teeth, an enormous pair of crusher claws that he can enunciate his emotions with, and looks like a grumpy 45-year-old, tasked with the job of babysitting a wide-eyed 12-year-old. Essentially, the crab’s elemental design is meant to represent a comical and cartoonish crab – be it in the pages of a children’s storybook or a Disney-produced animation feature.
However, after the incredible stop-motion production of Pinocchio directed by Guillermo Del Toro managed to blow everyone away, a bit of realism incorporated within the narrative doesn’t seem like it could do any harm. Apparently, the fans have other opinions regarding the matter since Sebastian’s realistic form is sending the collective fandom over the edge.
First look at Sebastian in #TheLittleMermaid pic.twitter.com/6oTTer3FI3
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) March 13, 2023
This movie gonna flop so hard
— berna'🏺 (@bernakingsley) March 13, 2023
— Luc Bernard (@LucBernard) March 13, 2023
Shouldn’t have smoked that shit now I’m a real crab
— Austin James Mink (@AustinJamesMink) March 13, 2023
Thats not sebastian thats Santiago
— Jon-Jan 🤟 🇵🇷 (@JonJan__) March 13, 2023
Why’s he look like Mr Krabs in the episode where they follow sandy out of the ocean 😭
— Aiden (@fantastic580) March 13, 2023
The Little Mermaid live-action remake is being directed by Rob Marshall with Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) and Disney veteran and Academy Award-winning composer, Alan Menken contributing to the film’s music, score, and soundtrack.
The Little Mermaid premieres on May 26, 2023.