How Old Is Prince Eric?

In the original animated film “The Little Mermaid,” Prince Eric is 18 years old, which makes him two years older than Ariel, who is 16 at the time of the film. However, in the 2023 live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid,” Eric's age is at least 21 years old, creating a larger age gap between him and Ariel.

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According to the film's official novelization, Eric had just turned 18 in the film, which would make him two years older than Ariel.

Answered from Razor Edge Resume Service

How Old Is Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid?

As a fan of Disney's The Little Mermaid, I've always been curious about Prince Eric's age. He seems like a young adult, but his exact age is never mentioned in the film. Let's take a closer look at what we know about Eric's age and see if we can figure out approximately how old he is supposed to be.

What evidence about Eric's age is given in the original movie?

While Eric's age is never directly stated in the film, there are a few contextual clues that give us hints:

  • Physical appearance – Eric looks to be in his late teens or early 20s. He has a youthful energy and appearance.
  • Social status – Eric appears to live independently and is referred to as a “prince” rather than a “prince” implying he has reached adulthood.
  • Courtship – Eric's guardian Grimsby is eager for Eric to find a bride, suggesting he has recently come of age for marriage.
  • Lack of parents – There is no mention of Eric's parents, implying he is old enough to rule the kingdom himself.

So although it's never specifically stated, the film's portrayal of Eric strongly indicates that he is meant to be in his late teen years or early twenties.

What have Disney tie-in materials revealed about Eric's age?

While not officially canon, some Disney books and media related to The Little Mermaid have given more context about Eric's possible age:

  • Disney's The Little Mermaid book series suggested Eric was 18 in the film.
  • In Disney comics and youth novels, Eric's age ranged from 18-22 across different stories.
  • The Broadway musical said Eric had just reached an age where he could start courting. This implies he was around 20.
  • In the upcoming 2023 live-action remake, the actor playing Eric is 31. But it's likely the character will still be a young unmarried prince.

So supplemental materials have generally portrayed Eric as being around 18-22 years old in the original film's timeline.

How old is Eric compared to Ariel?

Ariel's age is stated as 16 in the film. There is a line where Eric says he's “not much older” than Ariel while she is in human form. This suggests Eric is likely not more than a few years older than 16.

If Ariel is 16, it seems unlikely from their interactions and apparent maturity levels that Eric would be any older than around 20. So most interpretations have him as two to four years older than Ariel.

When does the original film supposedly take place?

The Little Mermaid doesn't give a definitive time period. The architecture, sailing ships, clothing and other design elements suggest a general “once upon a time” European maritime setting.

If we look at historical marital customs for royals and nobles, potential brides and grooms were usually at least 18+ by the time courtship began. This again points to Eric being of courting age, which meshes with the evidence we get in the film.

How might Eric's age fit into a historical royal context?

Some fans have placed The Little Mermaid's story in a more specific time period based on clues like Eric's Mediterranean-style kingdom.

If we envision Eric as a crown prince in 17th-18th century Europe, he would likely have to reach an age of at least 16-21 before being considered ready for marriage. Royal couples of the time were often betrothed or wed by their late teens or early 20s.

So choosing to make Eric around 18-21 fits well with typical practices for royal young adults of marriageable age during those eras.

Could Eric be younger or older than his late teens/early 20s?

While possible, it seems unlikely. Making Eric much younger than 16 would make the romantic undertones between him and Ariel questionable by modern standards. Having him be more than a few years older than Ariel could also feel unnatural given the way they interact.

Perhaps Eric could be as young as 16 or old as 25 and still work. But anything below or above those extremes wouldn't align as well with the evidence in the film or historical context. The sweet spot of late teens or early 20s lets Eric be youthful yet mature enough for his role in the story.

Does Eric's age differ across other Little Mermaid adaptations?

Yes, Eric's age has been adapted across various remakes and spin-offs:

  • In the Broadway musical version of The Little Mermaid, Eric was said to be 21 years old.
  • The Japanese anime series made Eric a 13-year-old.
  • In the Disney novel Ariel's Beginning, Eric is portrayed as closer to 11 or 12 years old.
  • The upcoming live-action film casts a 31-year-old actor as Eric, though he may still play a younger character.

So there's definitely artistic license taken with Eric's age and maturity across different versions of the story. But in most cases, he remains within the general range of a teenager or young adult.

What age do fans generally see Eric as?

From polls and discussions online, most Little Mermaid fans imagine Eric as being around 18-22 in the original animated film:

  • In fan communities, the most common ages suggested for Eric are 18, 20 or 21 years old.
  • Many fans view him as 2-4 years older than Ariel, who is consistently portrayed as 16 years old.
  • Some younger viewers see Eric as an independent adult in his mid-20s. Older generations often interpret him as an older teen.
  • Overall, the consensus among fans seems to be that Eric is meant to be a young prince of courting age in his late teens or early 20s in the 1989 film.

So while his exact age may remain a mystery, fans can agree that Eric is intended to be a youthful yet mature royal bachelor ready to find love when he meets Ariel. The precise year he was born is left up to our imagination!

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