When I saw Wonder Woman, I couldn't help but notice something very familiar about one scene in particular. It reminded me of something I'd seen before, but I wasn't able to put my finger on at the time. Maybe you noticed it, too? Luckily, Buzzfeed figured out it was a not-so-subtle nod to Disney's The Little Mermaid.
The scene in question — and for anyone who hasn't seen the film, spoiler alert — is when Diana, a.k.a Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), rescues Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) on the shores of Themyscira. Everything from the framing to the light around her face to the way she gingerly touches Steve's cheek with her hand is reminiscent of The Little Mermaid scene where Ariel rescues Prince Eric.
Buzzfeed lined up images from both movies and revealed that they fit perfectly together. Turns out, it's not a coincidence. This reference was planned all along by screenwriter Allan Heinberg, who specifically took influence from The Little Mermaid for Wonder Woman.
Heinberg told Entertainment Weekly that “this is a woman who has been raised in a very protective, sheltered life, she’s curious about what life is like outside and she wants to have her own experience. She wants to be where the people are.”
Ariel wasn't the only mermaid that played a role in this film. Heinberg also looked to Splash, starring Daryl Hannah as Madison the mermaid who finds herself in the middle of New York City.
When Diana arrives to fight the World War, she is almost childlike in how she sees things. “There is a drop of Splash in it when it comes to the observations she has about our world," he said. "Some are light and fun. Some are poignant. But she’s pointing out things that are absolutely true."
Ultimately Diana arguably has a lot more power and agency than Madison and Ariel, but it's fun to see the homage given to these two movies in one that is sure to become just as beloved as its influencers.
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