A “Beauty and the Beast” prequel series centering on Gaston (Luke Evans) and Lefou (Josh Gad) was among the many projects under development set for a debut on Disney+. There hasn’t been that much activity surrounding it since then, but that all changes as the limited musical series finally gets the green light.
In a press release emailed out earlier today, the prequel series, under the working title “Beauty and the Beast,” contains eight- will star Luke Evans (“The Alienist”) and Josh Gad (“Frozen 2”), reprising their roles as Gaston and LeFou (Louie), and introduce Briana Middleton (“The Tender Bar”) as Louie’s stepsister, Tilly.
“Beauty and the Beast” is developed, executive-produced and written by Gad, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (“Once Upon a Time”), each serving as a co-showrunner. The series’ creative team also includes Tony Award-nominated director Liesl Tommy (“Eclipsed,” “Respect”), who has come on board as an executive producer and will direct the first episode. The project will feature an original soundtrack from the EGOT Award-winning composer Alan Menken, who will also serve as executive producer, and lyrics for the first episode will be by Oscar-nominee Glenn Slater (“Tangled”). Production will begin in spring 2022.
Here’s the official plot synopsis:
Set in the iconic kingdom of “Beauty and the Beast” years before the Beast and Belle’s epic romance, the series will follow Gaston and LeFou as they set off with LeFou’s step-sister, Tilly, after a surprising revelation from her past comes to light, sending the unlikely trio off on an unexpected journey filled with romance, comedy, and adventure. While the mysteries of the past are uncovered and the dangers of the present grow, old friends and new enemies reveal that this familiar kingdom harbors many secrets.
I can see how a show like this may be a quick cash grab, especially since “Beauty and the Beast” was one of the more lucrative animation to live-action adaptations of a Disney title. Despite my pessimism, I am interested in seeing whether or not fans of the live-action will embrace this prequel series without the titular characters. Sure, a limited musical series centering on the two antagonists would be fun, especially since both Evans and Gad got lost in their respective roles. But does one really need to see an origins story when it was already lyrically described in the original film? Anyways.
“For anyone who’s ever wondered how a brute like Gaston and a goof like LeFou could have ever become friends and partners, or how a mystical enchantress came to cast that fateful spell on the prince-turned-beast, this series will finally provide those answers…and provoke a whole new set of questions,” said Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Branded Television.
“There are few more precious gems in the Disney library than this iconic franchise, and this prequel is both a love letter to what’s come before and its own spectacular adventure,” commented Jonnie Davis, president, ABC Signature. “Josh, Eddy and Adam’s vision gives us a window into the origin of Luke’s Gaston and Josh’s LeFou with the twist of a new partner in crime—Tilly, played by the luminous Briana Middleton. This dream team would not be complete without the genius Alan Menken returning to write even more glorious music for the franchise he helped create. We’re so grateful to Gary, Ayo, Michael and everyone at Disney Branded Television and Disney+ for their unwavering support. We cannot wait to start shooting.”
“For three decades, this tale as old as time has inspired generations of fans around the world,” stated Michael Paull, president, Disney+ and ESPN+. “We can’t wait to welcome our guests back to the magical and musical world of “Beauty and the Beast” for an all-new chapter with LeFou, Gaston, and a fantastic new cast of characters.”