‘Beauty and the Beast’ Disney Plus Prequel Ordered to Series, Adds Newcomer Briana Middleton in Key Role

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The “Beauty and the Beast” prequel has officially been ordered to series at Disney Plus, Variety has learned.

The live-action musical series will star Luke Evans and Josh Gad, who will reprise the roles of Gaston and LeFou (Louie) respectively from the 2017 live-action “Beauty and the Beast” film. In addition, newcomer Briana Middleton will join the show as Tilly, Louie’s stepsister. The prequel series was first announced as being in development in March 2020.

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Set in the iconic kingdom of “Beauty and the Beast” years before the Beast and Belle’s 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 trio off on an unexpected journey. 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.

“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 of Disney Branded Television.

Disney Plus has given the series an eight-episode order. It was developed, executive produced and written by Gad, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz with each serving as a co-showrunner. Evans will produce. Liesl Tommy, the first Black woman ever nominated for a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play, will executive produce and will direct the first episode. The project will also feature an original soundtrack from the legendary composer Alan Menken, who will also serve as executive producer. The lyrics for the first episode will be by Glenn Slater. Production will begin in spring 2022. ABC Signature will produce.

“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,” said Jonnie Davis, president of 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.”

The series will mark one of Middleton’s first major onscreen roles. She will next be seen in the Amazon-Sony feature “The Tender Bar” opposite Ben Affleck and Tye Sheridan. The film is based on J.R. Moehringer’s memoir with George Clooney directing and producing.

“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.”

The “Beauty and the Beast” live-action film was released in March 2017 with Emma Waton and Dan Stevens in the lead roles. Neither of them is currently attached to the new Disney Plus project. The film opened to mostly positive reviews from critics, holding a 71% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was also a box office success, grossing over $1.2 billion worldwide on a reported budget of $160 million

Evans is repped by CAA, Anonymous Content, and United Agents. Gad is repped by WME, Sugar23, and Ziffren Brittenham. Middleton is repped by Gersh and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

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