Disney+ has greenlit a live-action prequel to Beauty and the Beast, according to Deadline. The limited musical series will focus on the 2017 film’s villainous pair, Gaston & LeFou, played by previously announced Luke Evans (Apple’s upcoming Echo 3) and Josh Gad (Frozen). Newcomer Briana Middleton (The Tender Bar) joins them as the female lead Tilly, LeFou’s stepsister.
The eight-episode series will take place years before the film. According to Deadline, Gaston, LeFou and Tilly set off on an “unexpected journey filled with romance, comedy, and adventure” after a secret from Tilly’s past is revealed.
The series was said to be titled Little Town, but according to Deadline, Beauty and the Beast is the working title. Gad developed and wrote the series with Edward Kitsis (Once Upon a Time) and Adam Horowitz (Amazing Stories). All three are also billed as executive producers and showrunners.
Deadline reports that EGOT-winner and composer Alan Menken (1991 and 2017’s Beauty and the Beast) is on board to write music for the show, with Glenn Slater (Disney’s Tangled) writing lyrics. Tony Award-nominated Broadway veteran Liesl Tommy (Mrs. Fletcher) will direct the first episode.
“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, via Deadline.
Gad’s recent television credits include HBO’s Avenue 5 and Apple+’s animated comedy, Central Park. He was the voice of Olaf in Disney’s megahit film Frozen.
Evans is slated to appear in Hulu’s upcoming series Nine Perfect Strangers. His past credits include shows like The Alienist and Crossing Swords as well as films like The Girl on the Train and The Fate of the Furious.
Middleton will appear in the upcoming film, The Tender Bar, which stars Ben Affleck and is directed by George Clooney. She can be seen in several short films, including Lizard, Multiple Choice and The Fallout Shelter.
The project was announced as Disney celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the original 1991 animated film. Production for the new series will begin in spring 2022, according to Deadline.