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Is Ursula Triton’s sister in The Little Mermaid?

The Disney villain's motivations are left vague in the original animated movie. But is Ursula Triton's sister in The Little Mermaid live-action remake?

melissa mccarthy as ursula in the little mermaid

Is Ursula Triton’s sister in The Little Mermaid? When we meet Ursula in 1989’s The Little Mermaid, it’s implied that she has a fraught history with Triton. She was banished from the main underwater kingdom sometime prior to the events of the film, but it’s never really explained why.

In the live-action Disney remake of The Little Mermaid, Ursula’s backstory, connections to Triton, and what drives her to seek power are explored in a little bit more depth. So, is Ursula Triton’s sister in The Little Mermaid? Let’s dive in and find out.

Is Ursula Triton’s sister in The Little Mermaid?

Ursula herself confirms she is Triton’s sister several times in The Little Mermaid.

In the Disney movie, she convinces Ariel that her father lied about her being a “sea witch,” and said she formerly lived with Triton in the castle before he unfairly cast her out. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, producer John DeLuca described Ursula as the “black sheep” of the family.

Ursula’s familial relationship with Triton was originally meant to be explored in the animated movie — but explicit references to this were later scrapped. However, Ursula being Triton’s sister was a storyline that was kept in the 2008 Broadway musical.

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However, the specifics of what Ursula did to get cast out by Triton are unclear. In the Broadway musical, Ursula and Triton initially rule the sea equally. She is gifted a magic nautilus shell to rule, while Triton is gifted the trident — both by her father, Poseidon. But Ursula’s cruelty and use of black magic led to Triton banishing her and continuing to reign alone.

Either way, the film suggests that Ursula’s villainy and greed for power have something to do with her being banished — but the specifics of her backstory are left ambiguous.

See Ursula for yourself with our guide on how to watch The Little Mermaid, or brush up on The Little Mermaid live-action cast and The Little Mermaid soundtrack. Or, try something a little different with our guides to other new movies coming this year, the best movies of all time, and The Little Mermaid 2 release date.