Since its launch in November 2019, Disney+ has held a remarkable reputation for bringing back nostalgic characters and storylines through TV series such as “The Mandalorian” and “Loki.” Keeping up with its renown, Disney+ has announced the inception of a new musical series that is based on a tale old as time, “Beauty and the Beast.”
According to a June 15 Deadline article, writer Nellie Andreeva made it as certain as the sun that a “Beauty and the Beast” prequel series to the 2017 live-action film would be arriving to Disney+. The eight-episode limited series will surround the iconic, yet unlikely, duo of Gaston (Luke Evans) and LeFou (Josh Gad) along with a new character, Lefou’s stepsister Tilly (Briana Middleton).
Lead actor Gad confirmed the article on Instagram. “Cannot wait to share this incredible, hilarious, and unexpected journey with you all,” he wrote. “Get ready for the ride of a lifetime.”
Set before the extraordinary curse of talking teacups and dancing candelabra, the new series will follow Gaston, LeFou and Tilly as they embark on a treacherous adventure after the female lead learns something surprising about her past. While brimming with the traditional Disney romance and comedy, throughout their journey, the trio will uncover new secrets about the past and encounter new dangers along the way.
What’s even more appealing about this prequel is its well-renowned production crew. According to Andreeva, EGOT winner and composer Alan Menken will write the soundtrack for the series, with first-episode lyrics by Oscar-nominee Glen Slater. Tony Award-nominee Liesl Tommy will direct the first episode, and television writer Edward Kitsis and screenwriter Adam Horowitz — known for their creative work in “Once Upon a Time” — will be the showrunners for the prequel alongside Gad.
Jonnie Davis, president of ABC Signature at Disney, commented on the show’s decorated team and overall purpose: “This prequel is both a love letter to what’s come before and its own spectacular adventure. 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 Brianna 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.”
Though the prequel doesn’t have an official release date, production is set to begin in spring 2022.
Considering that other series based on Disney properties have prospered, it’s fair to say that the “Beauty and the Beast” prequel is bound for success. Despite the show being set to release five years after the 2017 film, audiences will warmly accept the prequel’s invitation to be its guest.
Perhaps fans anticipated the iconic yellow gown and the dying red rose in the live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast.” Something they might not have expected, however, is a deeper look into the paradoxical relationship between Gaston and LeFou — one that is, ironically, full of humorous adversity.
In the 2017 film, for example, when Maurice (Kevin Kline) leads Gaston and LeFou into the woods to find Belle, Gaston quickly begins to lose his patience. In a failed attempt to calm him down, LeFou brings up Gaston’s “happy thoughts,” which consist of blood, explosions and weeping widows. LeFou’s act of placating Gaston by reminding him of something as catastrophic as war was a darker joke than many fans expected from the movie, but a style of humor that many are looking forward to in the upcoming prequel.
Evans and Gad both bring the two essential components for a successful musical series — in addition to their engaging humor, the duo also has their gifted musicality to offer. The live-action number “Gaston” uncovers Evan’s strong and passionate vibrato, which is well suited to Gaston’s persona as a manly brute filled with vigor. The number also highlights Gad’s theatrics and captivating stage presence.
In the prequel, the audience can only expect more catchy tunes with these talented singers to perform them. Perhaps a second well-known song that lives up to “Gaston” (or perhaps even surpasses it), is in the works for the show.
The relationship between Gaston and LeFou was a big factor in making the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” prosper. However, audiences still have questions about the origins of Gaston and LeFou’s friendship. How is it possible that a man as arrogant and self-serving as Gaston spends so much time with a man who, most of the time, just gets on his nerves?
Disney Branded Television president Gary Marsh says the new series will provide context regarding the beginning of the duo’s relationship. “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.”
Despite being an unlikely pair, Gaston and LeFou make a comical and entertaining duo that balance each other out well. It’s about time that the audience receives answers as to how they formed a relationship and why they stuck together for so long.
In general, Disney prequels have always done a good job at providing answers to much-needed questions from an original storyline. The “Star Wars” prequels, for example, revealed the backstory of one of the most villainous characters of all time, Darth Vader, and how he walked the path from Anakin Skywalker to the dark side. Based on Disney’s history with prequels, fans can expect many answers in the “Beauty and the Beast” prequel.
Unfortunately, releasing this prequel so late after the 2017 live-action film’s release could mean that some fans will be uninterested in the series. Considering the recent talk about the upcoming live-action rendition of “The Little Mermaid” and the announcement of Rachel Zegler performing as the fairest of them all in the live-action remake of “Snow White,” fans may have moved on from the tale as old as time to exploring under the sea and whistling while they work. Nonetheless, the Disney magic never dies, and this prequel will undoubtedly still be worth a watch.
As Disney+ continues to please its fans with unexpected and inviting prequels, Disney lovers everywhere are keeping an eye out for more updates on the “Beauty and the Beast” prequel. The show is likely to be a pleasure to watch, because there’s truly no one like Gaston — or LeFou, for that matter.