Disney+ has given the green light to a musical, limited-series prequel to its live-action movie "Beauty and the Beast." It's slated to begin production next year.
The show, starring the 2017 film's Gaston (Luke Evans) and LeFou (Josh Gad), will follow the duo "as they set off with LeFou's stepsister, Tilly (Briana Middleton of George Clooney's upcoming "The Tender Bar"), 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," according to a Tuesday press release.
Apart from Gad and Evans, the show will also boast new tunes from EGOT-winning songwriter Alan Menken ("Be Our Guest," "Beauty and the Beast"). Tony-nominated director Liesl Tommy ("Eclipsed") helms the pilot.
The limited series' announced working title, "Beauty and the Beast," will likely have to change: As the show takes place "years before the Beast and Belle's epic romance," it apparently features neither that Beauty nor that Beast (neither Emma Watson nor Dan Stevens from the 2017 film is in the initial casting announcement). The series, however, promises to reveal how the Prince became the Beast, as well as answering other burning questions.
Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television, said in the release, "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."
Gad co-developed the show and is credited as an executive producer and writer along with Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (both of ABC's "Once Upon a Time"). Gad also co-created, executive produced and starred in the animated musical series "Central Park" on Apple TV+.
LeFou made headlines at the time of the 2017 film's release for being part of what director Bill Condon called a "nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie" as the character sorted through his feelings for the preening, abusive Gaston.
Though the announcement comes during the year fans mark as the 30th anniversary of the 1991 animated film's release, not everyone was enchanted by the promise of Disney mining one of its previous hits for new material yet again. Los Angeles Times film critic Justin Chang tweeted lyrics to the tune of the Oscar-winning song, "Beauty and the Beast": "Tale as old as time / True as it can be / Stories never end / Studios depend / On the same IP."
———©2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.