The Wonderful World of Disney booked some big names for its musical television The Little Mermaid Live!, but a couple of notable characters from the 1989 animated movie were noticeably absent. So where were Flounder and King Triton?
They are two rather important characters. In the film, Flounder (voiced by Jason Marin) is Ariel’s best friend and King Triton (voiced by Kenneth Mars) is Ariel’s formidable father who forbids her to contact humans. However, their absence from the live musical can probably be explained by way of the fact that it wasn’t solely a live musical.
The Little Mermaid Live! is actually a hybrid. As ABC’s senior vice president of communications Jori Arancio told the Television Critics Association audience back in August, this hybrid is designed to “take viewers on a magical adventure under the sea as live musical performances by a star-studded cast will be interwoven into the broadcast of the original feature film.”
Since neither Flounder nor King Triton anchor any of the musical numbers, it was probably easier to simply let the cartoon versions from the film stand in for the characters.
Interestingly, the live-action feature film version of The Little Mermaid that is in the works will have both of those characters, which makes sense because that version won’t have the animated film playing alongside it.
It was revealed in July that Jacob Tremblay has been cast as Flounder and Awkwafina has been cast as Scuttle the seagull. Variety also reported at the time that Javier Bardem is in talks to play King Triton but nothing has been formally announced yet. Tremblay and Awkwafina will star alongside Halle Bailey as Ariel and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, and Daveed Diggs is in talks to play Sebastian.
But ABC’s Little Mermaid Live! does not feature a Flounder, King Triton or Scuttle.
Still, it does boast some heavy hitters in the musical roles: Auli’i Cravalho as Ariel, Queen Latifah as Ursula, Shaggy as Sebastian and John Stamos as Chef Louis, plus Glee star Amber Riley as an emcee with a special appearance by Jodi Benson, the voice of the original Ariel.