Disney fans are losing their minds over the latest discovery about The Little Mermaid and Moana.
It all started when a Tumblr user name Asher took to the microblogging platform to share a theory: that much of the plot of 2016’s Moana is just the opposite of 1989’s The Little Mermaid.
He went on to explain the theory in detail, listing all of the comparisons he could find between the two films — and soon, other fans chimed in with additions of their own.
Fans are drawing comparisons between 2016’s Moana and 1989’s The Little Mermaid
How far she’ll go: Moana is about a girl who tries to reunite a cursed goddess with a magical stone
Part of their world: The Little Mermaid is about a mermaid who wants legs so she can find her prince on land
The Tumblr post was actually first shared eight months ago, but has recently picked up more steam, appearing all over the internet and other forms of social media.
Asher began by stating, ‘Moana is the reverse of the Little Mermaid.’
Moana tells the story of the daughter of a chief of a Polynesian island. Drawn to the ocean, Moana learns that her people were once be voyagers, but stopped when Maui, a demigod, stole the mystical pounamu stone from the goddess Te Fiti and thus cursed the land.
Moana is ‘chosen’ by the ocean to return the stone to Te Fiti, and she goes on a journey across the water in which she meets Maui, thwarts villains, and saves the day.
The Little Mermaid, meanwhile, follows the princess Ariel, who falls in love with a human Prince, trades her voice to the sea witch Ursula so she can get legs, and chases after her land-living love.
Both films were directed by Ron Clements and John Musker.
One side: Fans have pointed out that in Mermaid, the villain — Ursula — is big and scary and pretends to be the hero’s friend
Flipped: In Moana, the villain is also big and scary — but turns out to be a friend, Te Fiti
Actually nice: Te Fiti was cursed and appeared as the denom Te Kā
Bling bling: Both movies have magical necklaces, though The Little Mermaid’s is worn by the villain and Moana’s by the hero
Besides their shared directors, the two films may not seem to have much in common at first glance, but Asher makes the case — and has attracted over a hundred thousand supporters who appear to be utterly convinced.
First: The Little Mermaid is about an ocean princess who wants to be on land. Moana is a about a land ‘princess’ — really, the daughter of the chief — who wants to be out on the ocean.
The Little Mermaid has a ‘big scary ocean lady,’ the sea witch Ursula, who first acts like a friend but is really the enemy. Moana, meanwhile, has a ‘big scary land lady — the goddess Te Fiti — who first appears to be the enemy (when she presents herself as the cursed denom Te Kā) but is really a friend.
In The Little Mermaid, the villain wears the magical necklace (a shell holding Ariel’s voice) — but in Moana, the magical necklace (the pounamu stone) is worn by the hero.
Under da sea: In the Little Mermaid, the crab (Sebastian) is a friend
Seafood: He also has to suffer through a song by a chef about eating crabs
Reverse: In Moana, though, the crab Tamatoa is not a good guy
Not an accident! This time, he sings about eating humans — a fact writer Lin-Manuel Miranda said was a purposeful nod to The Little Mermaid
A ‘small good crab,’ Sebastian, plays a role in The Little Mermaid, but a ‘large bad crab’, Tamatoa, is in Moana.
One fan went a step farther, pointing out that in The Little Mermaid there is a man (the royal cook) who sings about eating a crab, while in Moana it’s the crab Tamatoa singing about eating people.
That point, at least, is no coincidence: Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the music for Moana, tweeted last December: ‘I call this Sebastian’s Revenge: a Disney crab singing about eating humans?*whispers to 9 year old Lin* (We did it).’
And even in the end credits for the film, Tamatoa gives Sebastian a shout-out: Stuck on his back from earlier in the film, he says: ‘If my name was Sebastian and I had a cool Jamaican accent, you’d totally help me!’
Wish I could be… One fan pointed out that Ariel famously sings on a rock
Too funny: Moana, meanwhile, has a song sung to her by The Rock — Dwayne Johnson, who plays Maui
Gaining traction: The theory was listed out on a popular Tumblr post
Viral: Other fans have been inspired to add to the list
According to fans, the main characters’ goals in the two animated films are different, too. Ariel sings about getting out of the sea and wanting to join people different form her own — but Moana sings about going to the sea so she can live happily with her own people.
Fans might be pleased to know that Lin-Manuel was thinking of another Disney film here, too.
Speaking of writing How Far I’ll Go, he referenced Beauty and the Beast, saying: ‘It’s a challenging song. It’s not “I hate it here, I want to be out there.” It’s not, “There must be more than this provincial life.” She loves her island, she loves her parents, she loves her people.’
Finally, an Australian user who goes by ‘asterlunanova’ concluded with a hilarious point: The Little Mermaid sings on a rock, while Moana is sing to by The Rock (who voices the character Maui).