Hey! Hallie here!
Recently we got the very interesting news that a new live action series is coming to Disney+. Live action remake haters beware. This series is a prequel to the live action remake of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that came out a few years ago, and it will star Josh Gad and Luke Evans as LeFou and Gaston. Joining them is Briana Middleton who will play Tillie, LeFou’s step-sister. According to the description we’ve gotten so far, the trio will be going off on an adventure caused by a revelation about Tillie’s past. I, personally, don’t love live action remakes. But I don’t hate them either. With movies like ‘Cinderella’ it felt like the live action remake added a bit to the story. The original film is quite old and, while it still holds up, there are plenty of details it skips out on that the live action film was able to fill in and make better. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was one of the live action remakes I didn’t like as much. With Renaissance Disney films, the details were all filled in. Because of this, any remake covering these films is doomed to be unnecessary. On top of that, casting non-singing actors proved to be a major mistake. The autotune in the movie was obvious and bad. I didn’t hate this movie, but I definitely didn’t want a prequel series based off of it. I’m not completely convinced it’ll fall on it’s face, though. Let’s go through what might work and what I’m concerned about.
The Cast: Let’s be honest, Josh Gad and Luke Evans as LeFou and Gaston was the best part of the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ remake. For one, both of them could actually sing. There was little to no autotune present in the songs that heavily featured these two. They also had great on-screen chemistry. If anyone from this film was going to get a musical series, I’m glad it’s these two. On top of that, I’m excited about Briana Middleton’s inclusion. She hasn’t done too much on screen before her casting in this, but I look forward to seeing what she’ll do with her role. I’m also incredibly glad this series decided not to go with only two white men as its main characters. And Josh Gad will not only star in the series, but he will also be one of the writers. I feel Josh Gad will do an excellent job at taking up some of the writing responsibilities. The series will definitely have some nice humor with him working behind the scenes.
The Music: Alan Menken is back! Alan Menken composed the music for both the original ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and the remake, as well as a ton of other Disney movies. He’s a Disney legend. The composing is clearly safe in his hands. The lyric writing will be done by Glenn Slater, who did the lyrics for ‘Tangled’. I think the thing that makes me the most excited about this pairing is both of their involvement in the show ‘Galavant’. ‘Galavant’ was a fantasy, musical, comedy series that aired a few years ago. I loved the first season, and even when the second season dipped in quality, the music was hilarious. The feel of this series so far reminds me a lot of ‘Galavant’. The fact that Menken and Slater were responsible for the music there proves that they’re beyond qualified for this project.
The Writers: I already addressed my excitement around Josh Gad contributing to the writing. When it comes to the other writers behind the scenes, though, I’m hesitant. Edward Kistis and Adam Horowitz are the other main writers. These two ventured into the fantasy genre most famously with their work on ‘Once Upon a Time’. ‘Once Upon a Time’ wasn’t a bad series, but it never had the best writing. And it only got worse over time. I also don’t love that we’re seeing such a non-diverse group of writers. It’s long past time that we see more women and BIPOC behind the scenes. And for this series specifically, I would have hoped that they would at least bring in a LGBTQ+ writer into the writers room. Which leads into my next point.
LGBTQ+ Representation: LeFou in the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ remake marked Disney’s official first LGBTQ+ representation on the big screen. He starts out the film with an obvious crush on Gaston, complimenting and doting on him in every scene. Then, later in the film, LeFou begins to question Gaston’s actions. Continuing on with this change to the original story, LeFou notices that Gaston left him for dead during the final battle and decides to help the household objects fight off the villagers. After saving Mrs. Potts she tells him that he’s too good for Gaston, convincing him to move on. With LeFou’s change of heart solidified, he gets to join in during the major dance at the end of the film. Except he ends up accidentally partnering up with a male villager who was also queer-coded during the final battle. He doesn’t seem too disappointed with this outcome. Nothing here is explicit, but Disney publicly confirmed LeFou’s sexuality so they could pat themselves on the back. I know this series is a prequel, but if they don’t go into LeFou’s sexuality it’ll be an even bigger slap in the face. LeFou’s sexuality was already way too subtle in the live action remake for it to count as any sort of major progress. It’s questionable to cast someone like Josh Gad as a LGBTQ+ character (See James Corden’s current career). But it would be deplorable for them to ignore LeFou’s identity again. I’m nervous to see what they’ll do for this series. With Disney’s record, I can only see them disappointing the LGBTQ+ community again.
Louie?: Apparently they decided LeFou’s name shouldn’t be LeFou so they changed it to Louie. I don’t have any major problems with this but…why Louie?
I obviously have some concerns. No one really asked for a prequel. We didn’t need to know how Gaston and LeFou’s friendship came to be. Especially because Gaston is so notoriously sexist that most wouldn’t want to see him as a main character, anyways. And with its ties to the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ remake, which wasn’t fabulous, it’s even more eyebrow raising. But I see some promise in it. Between the cast and the music it could be incredible. But that’s only if they manage to avoid the major issues that are already getting Disney negative attention.
Don’t do anything fun until I get back!