Announced back in April, the Beauty and the Beast prequel series that will centre on Luke Evan’s Gaston and Josh Gad’s LeFou has added Briana Middleton to the cast in a role which was codenamed “Tilly”, and was originally looking to cast a 19-year-old in a recurring part. That news was confirmed earlier this week, when Disney announced that the Beauty and the Beast prequel was officially green lit as a limited musical series. Disney revealed exactly what the show will be in a press release for Disney+ subscribers.
“As fans worldwide celebrate the 30th anniversary of the beloved animated 1991 classic, Disney+ announced today the greenlight of a limited musical series, Beauty and the Beast (working title) from Disney Branded Television and ABC Signature. An eight-episode prequel to the 2017 live-action film, Beauty and the Beast 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 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.”
Briana Middleton is relatively unknown in the industry, having mostly appeared in short films prior to appearing in The Tender Bar this year. Clinching what is a prominent role in the upcoming Disney+ series, it is a surefire way of gaining more attention in the industry and could be an excellent pivot point for the young actress’ career. While a bold move to cast a relative unknown in the role, Disney haven’t been adverse to casting lesser known actors in some of their series’, and with the star power of Luke Evans and Josh Gad already behind the project, plus a loyal fan base in tow, it is not exactly a massive risk on their part.
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.”
Beauty and The Beast is set to commence filming in around three months, so it is likely we will soon be seeing more casting and what to expect from the set. As the production takes focus away from Belle and The Beast, it is unlikely that either will feature in the show, other than perhaps in a passing mention. But that won’t stop fans of the franchise being pulled back into that world as we find out more about the Disney villain and his sidekick.
When Disney released their Beauty and The Beast live-action remake back in 2017, it instantly became every bit as popular as the 1991 animated feature it was based on. Raking in over $1.3 billion at the box office, it became one of the biggest movies of all time, and proved a big hit with fans of its leads, Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, who took on the iconic roles of Belle and Beast respectively. With such a positive response, talk of sequels and other projects relating to the story began almost straight away. Although it took a while for anything to progress, we can safely say that the prequel we are getting is a good expansion to the story without going too much down the repetitive route of following other Belle and Beast stories as the animated sequels did.
As the prequel starts to take shape, we will no doubt soon discover what to expect when the series arrives some time next year. Whether it takes the form a musical comedy, which despite Gaston’s villain status is would not be too much of a stretch considering their comical on-screen relationship, is yet to be seen, but it is unlikely that the story will not be without its comedy elements regardless of what the storyline turns out to be. It is not yet clear when Beaty and the Beast will premiere on Disney+.