|Appearances|| The Little Mermaid (film) |
The Little Mermaid (TV series)
Kingdom Hearts II
|Voice Actor||Pat Carroll|
Ursula is a villain who first appeared in the 1989 Disney film, The Little Mermaid as the main antagonist. She's voiced by Pat Carroll. Ursula is based on "herself" in the Hans Christian Anderson's story "The Little Mermaid". In the original story, she's a neutral enabler, but for Disney's adaptation, the character was modified into a full-fledged antagonist and lays a larger role in the overall story. Ursula is a sea witch who "helps" unfortunate merfolk by granting their wishes, but end up withering them into polyps for her gardens. Her appearance's an obese purple-skinned, white-haired female Cecaelian. Her character has been compared to "Madame Medusa" from The Rescuers" in terms of style, dramatics, and choice of minions.
During planning for the film, Ursula was not originally designed as a Cecaelia. It was thought that she would be another sea creature, such as a rockfish. The production team then saw a documentary about octopuses, and decided that their multiple arms and overall imposing appearance would be perfect for the character they were creating. Ursula is only drawn with six tentacles, due to the studio's budget and difficulty in coordinating eight tentacles. Her basic look was based on the drag performer Divine.
Pat Carroll, who was cast to voice Ursula, envisioned the character as "part Shakespearean actress, with all the flair, flamboyance and theatricality, and part used-car salesman with a touch of con artist". Carroll, who is a contralto, deliberately deepened her voice for the role.
Ursula is a very dark and sinister villain. Despite this, she has a large sense of humor. Ursula is very manipulative and has a talent of making great sense and making great points when trying to strike a deal. Unlike many Disney Villains, Ursula puts her henchman Flotsam and Jetsam before anything and everyone else. Ursula treats the eels like children and refer to them as the babies or poopsies. When the eels are killed accidentally by Ursula because of Ariel, she mourns and takes all of her anger and sadness on Ariel and attempts to kill her once and for all.
The Little MermaidEdit
When Ursula first appears in the film, she states through monologue that she once lived in the royal palace of King Triton, the king of the underwater city of Atlantica. She was banished from Atlantica and made her home in the remains of a leviathan where she waits the chance to get her revenge on Triton and become Queen of Atlantica.
The entrance to Ursula's leviathan home is lined with a garden of writhing polyps which were merfolk who had been previously gone to Ursula for help, but found themselves unable to fulfill their side of the bargain, leading Ursula to claim them as her own and added them to her collection. The garden of polyps are part of the original fairytale, but are simply guards of the way to the sea witch's home, and not condemned merfolk.
Ursula commands her minions, moray eels Flotsam and Jetsam, to watch Triton's youngest daughter Ariel. Opportunity arises when Ursula learns that Ariel has fallen in love with a human against Triton's explicit rules. Flotsam and Jetsam lure Ariel to Ursula's lair, claiming that only Ursula can help her.
Ursula proposes, via the song Poor Unfortunate Souls, an agreement where Ursula will transform Ariel into a human for three days, in which time she must receive a "kiss of true love" from Eric. If Ariel fails, she will be turned back into a mermaid and bound to Ursula for eternity. The price for the transformation is Ariel's voice. Ariel agrees and signs a magical contract, so her voice is magically pulled into Ursula's Nautilus shell necklace; causing Ursula to laugh gleefully as her plans begin to unfold as Ariel's tail is split into legs. In comparison, the original fairytale involves the sea witch taking the little mermaid's voice by cutting off her tongue, and her tail was transformed into legs by a magic potion which the mermaid was to drink on the beach surface.
When Ariel comes "too close" to succeeding in her task, Ursula takes the form of a beautiful human female with Ariel's voice in order to sabotage her relationship with Eric. Ursula adopts the name of "Vanessa", and when in this form, her voice is provided by Jodi Benson, who also voices Ariel. The concept of the beautiful dark-haired rival for the prince's affections is another plot point adapted and modified from the original fairytale.
As Vanessa, Ursula bewitches Eric to marry her, but the wedding is disrupted at the last minute and the Nautilus shell containing Ariel's voice is broken, breaking the enchantment and returning Ariel's voice back to her. However, the sun sets before Ariel and Eric can kiss and Ariel is restored to her normal form. Ursula, however, is confronted by King Triton, where she reveals her true goal, and forces Triton to choose between his freedom or his daughter's. Triton agrees to take Ariel's place, and Ursula takes the crown and magical trident, making her the Queen of the Seven Seas. But is defeated by Prince Eric when he rams The bow of a ship into her stomach, killing her, and releasing all the condemned merfolk.
In the 2006 Platinum DVD, deleted scenes revealed early concept ideas where Ursula is Triton's sister, making her Ariel's aunt. This concept was not used in the final film, but it was for the Broadway version.
The Little Mermaid (TV series)Edit
Ursula appears as a recurring villain on the The Little Mermaid prequel television series. The episodes she appears in are "Against the Tide", "Tail of Two Crabs", "Heroes" and "Ariel's Treasures". In all of these episodes, she executes various plans to antagonize King Triton and take over Atlantica.
The Little Mermaid II: Return to the SeaEdit
Ursula doesn't appear in this film however, a picture of her is shown on a wall of her sister Morgana's lair.
ExtensionEditOther materials were released as part of Disney's The Little Mermaid franchise, including books and comics, though these materials are arguably part of the animated canon.
In the first two issues of the official "The Little Mermaid" comic, Ursula appears briefly to negotiate with a race of eel-men for the carcass of a Leviathan which she would convert into the home seen in the 1989 film. In one of the Little Mermaid books (Reflections of Arsulu), she takes the form of a beautiful mermaid with blond hair and a red tail, naming herself Arsulu (an anagram of her original name) in order to gain entry to Atlantica, where she causes a great deal of discord. Ursula frequently appears in Ariel's comics in the Disney Princess magazines, often in a villainous role. In the Disney Press book "The Villain Files", it is implied that Ursula is Ariel's aunt, a concept that is based on the abandoned story concept of the 1989 film.
Hercules and the BacchanalEdit
Ursula (or at least a character based on her) appears in the Hercules: Animated series as she tries to sell perfume to Hercules and Hermes.
Ursula as she appears in Kingdom Hearts Ursula was one of Maleficent's followers, and assisted by lending the powers of the ocean. With Ursula's help, the Heartless entered Atlantica. Ursula tricked Princess Ariel into helping her steal the Trident from King Triton so that she could see other worlds. Ursula didn't keep her end of the deal - she did threaten Ariel to enter into the dark world of the Heartless, giving herself into darkness in the progress, but failed when Sora and company came to King Triton's palace. She disappeared in ink with the Trident in her possession. Ariel joined Sora, Donald, and Goofy to confront her in her lair to get the Trident back. Once they arrived, she, Flotsam and Jetsam battled them. In the end, Flotsam and Jetsam were defeated, and Ursula swore revenge. She disappeared once again, and Sora and friends found Ursula in a large, scary, empty trench. She used the power of the trident and darkness to become a giant, Sora and friends battled her once again. She wielded powerful Thunder magic. However, Ariel, Sora and friends defeated her and she vanished into darkness.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of MemoriesEdit
Ursula makes an appearance in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as a figment of Sora's memories.
Kingdom Hearts IIEdit
Revived by the powers of darkness, Ursula returned in Kingdom Hearts II without the Heartless and Maleficent on her side. She told Ariel that she could help her be with Prince Eric, by turning Ariel herself into a human (a spell that only lasted for three days). Ariel agreed, and signed a contract with Ursula which stated that: if Ariel was able to kiss Eric before the sunset of the third day, then she could stay human forever, but, if she didn't obtain a kiss, she would turn back into a mermaid and belong to Ursula. After Ariel signed the contract, Ursula took Ariel's voice (the price for Ursula's spell) and turned the princess into a human girl.
After a battle, Sora knocked the Trident out of Ursula's hand and it landed on the boat which Prince Eric was on. He then threw it at Ursula and the Trident went through her chest in a beam of light, defeating her once more. The battle against Ursula in Kingdom Hearts II is a staged performance in song.
When The Little Mermaid was on Broadway, Sherie Rene Scott originated the role of Ursula. After her contract expired, Heidi Blickenstaff took over. Then, topping it off, Faith Prince ended.
Ursula got three new songs. "I Want The Good Times Back", "I Want The Good Times Back Reprise", and "Poor Unfortunate Souls Reprise". "I Want The Good Times Back" was actually thought of by Sherie. The song was supposed to be "Wasting Away".
Here, Ursula is Triton's sister and Ariel's aunt.