Disney Easter Eggs part 4
Calasandra Spray (TheLorian)
While many origins took place in Motunui, a lot is happening during the same time frame as Moana as well. One such overlapping time frame is another ocean tale, that of Ariel.
The first cameo in Moana is Flounder from The Little Mermaid, who appears swimming in the mural with the other fish during Maui’s dramatic performance of “You’re Welcome.” As previously established, Maui may have powers of prophecy though, so this by itself is not conclusive evidence that The Little Mermaid took place during that time frame.
Disney doesn’t leave us hanging, though, and for those patient enough, Tamatoa confirms the theory that Ariel’s story actually happened during the same time as Moana’s. Although to be technical, The Little Mermaid would have had to take place a little before Moana’s adventure in order for the story to spread around before Moana took her journey. If you wait until after the credits, Tamatoa, the musically inclined shiny crab who has a beef with Maui and got knocked on his back earlier in the film, is once again displayed. He is still struggling to get up and of course singing. However, if you listen to the lyrics of his new song, he references The Little Mermaid, “If my name was Sebastian and I had a cool Jamaican accent you would totally help me!” Now for the theory of how Tamatoa knew about Sebastian. At the end of The Little Mermaid, Ursula is impaled by Eric with his ship and then sinks beneath the waves in an implied death. Perhaps due to the involvement of a powerful witch turning into a monster, this story caught the attention of other creatures in the ocean and made its way to Lalotai, the realm of monsters, where Tamatoa would have heard it and of course latched onto the idea of a crab being one of the main characters in a tale known ocean wide.
While this connection establishes The Little Mermaid and Moana to be in the same universe and time frame, The Little Mermaid allows viewers to connect several other stories. A little over halfway through the film, when Eric is waiting for Ariel to attend dinner, viewers are given a nice wide shot of the dining room. On the left-hand side of the screen, three paintings hang on the wall. The middle painting is of Prince Phillip and Princess Aurora. Nothing else about the two is made clear, so it’s not possible to know whether the Prince and Princess are deceased family members, making Eric a descendent, or family that is simply located elsewhere.
Another relationship that is unclear in The Little Mermaid is that between Prince Eric and Prince Charming. Whether they’re brothers, cousins, or just know each other because of past royal functions, Prince Charming was unable to make it to Prince Eric’s wedding but some other characters did. Among the wedding guests on the boat are the King and Grand Duke from Cinderella.
The Little Mermaid connects to one other film as well, Aladdin. Back on the subject of crabs, Sebastian gets pulled from a cookbook by Genie when he’s turning Aladdin into Prince Ali. Although, as crabs only live an average of three to four years, he must have been pulled from the past by Genie’s magic in order to appear in Agrabah so many years later. Hopefully Genie put him back in his own timeline and story before whisking Aladdin off to woo his princess.