Princess Ariel is the protagonist of The Little Mermaid. She later appears in the film's prequel television series, direct-to-video sequel The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea and direct-to-video prequel The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning. Ariel is voiced by Jodi Benson in all the above animated material and merchandise.
The character is based on the protagonist of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" story, but was developed into a different personality for the 1989 animated film adaptation. Her distinct appearance consists of long, flowing red hair, blue eyes, a green tail and a purple seashell bikini top with various hairstyles. She is the only Disney Princess who is a mother in any existing media- in the sequel, she has a daughter, Melody.
Ariel's original design was developed by animator Glen Keane, who reportedly said in an animation lecture that she was based on his own wife. The choice of red as Ariel's hair color was the subject of dispute between the filmmakers and studio executives who wanted the character to have blonde hair. Ariel's appearance was also based on actress Alyssa Milano, who was 16 at the time, and female model Sherri Stoner, who provided live-action references for the animators during the development of the film.
A challenge in animating Ariel for the 1989 film was the color required to show Ariel in the changing environments, both under the sea and on land, for which the animators required thirty-two color models, not including costume changes. The blue-green color of Ariel's fin was a hue specially mixed by the Disney paint lab; the color was named "Ariel" after the character.
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Official Site: Disney
Links: Ariel Wikipedia page The Little Mermaid Wikipedia The Little Mermaid imdb page