No One Asked for a Gaston and LeFou Disney+ TV Show but Here We Are … and It Looks Promising?
In the ongoing saga that I like to call Disney discovers they can make their own expensive fanfiction, two more minor characters will take center stage in their own television production. Disney+ has announced that they’ve greenlit an 8-episode “original musical series” starring actors from the live-action Beauty and the Beast: Luke Evans as Gaston and Josh Gad as LeFou. Joining them is Briana Middleton as a new character, Tilly. The show’s “working title”? That would be, uh, *checks notes* Beauty and the Beast.
This news perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Disney is now in the business of creating properties around animated villains and supporting characters, but … this is not exactly a buddy adventure I was expecting. Even so, the concept gains strength from the fact that both Evans and Gad are recognizable stars with solid acting chops and musical backgrounds (Evans is also a recording artist and Gad launched his career in The Book of Mormon on Broadway). If anyone is going to headline a Disney live-action series based on animated characters from 30 years ago that involves singing, you’d be smart to go with Evans and Gad. The music will be created by legendary Disney composer Alan Menkin.
The premise is that it’s a prequel to the events of the movie—a sort of origin story of how Gaston and LeFou became partners, alongside exploring other plot points like how the Beast eventually came to be cursed. To make these shenanigans more viable beyond the pair’s buffoonery, the production has added “LeFou’s step-sister, Tilly,” played by Middleton. Tilly will be a central part of LeFou and Gaston’s adventures, and is described as “a new partner in crime.” I assume that if they stick with the “working title” of Beauty and the Beast, Tilly’s the beauty to Gaston’s beast.
As a refresher to the original movies’ concept, Gaston is the smarmy, musclebound antagonist who wants to get with Belle and kill the Beast, and LeFou is, as the Disney fandom Wiki puts it, Gaston’s “snide, accident-prone sidekick.” In the series, it appears LeFou will now be known mostly as “Louie.”
A few elements might elevate this project beyond the initial “huh?” reaction the news sparked in me. You may recall that there was a whole big to-do about the depiction of LeFou as one of Disney’s innumerable “first gay characters” in the live-action movie. This turned out to be mostly a blink-and-you-miss-it scene where LeFou dances with a man and some longing subtextual stares re: Gaston. But Disney+ has the opportunity here to actually do more and better things in terms of LGBTQ+ representation and LeFou. Will they? Unlikely! But we can cross our fingers.
If Disney MUST make a standalone series, then just let it be LeFou essentially traveling from provincial town to provincial town bedding hot tradesmen like blacksmiths and stuff and realizing Gaston is a piece of shit straight dude who keeps him on the hook. Call it…P-Town
— Emmy Potter (@emmylanepotter) June 15, 2021
Additionally, as mentioned, both Evans and Gad can be charming and very watchable onscreen, and I imagine this series will lean into comedy and hijinks. The idea of it being a musical series by nature could also render the whole thing more fun, especially considering the current slate of Marvel and Star Wars standalone TV shows have been pretty heavy on drama and action. Newcomer Middleton has a role in the upcoming George Clooney-directed movie The Tender Bar and seems primed to blow up in Hollywood in a big way. I can’t wait to see her go toe-to-toe with Evans and Gad and what the prequel has in store for Tilly.
Here’s the official word thus far on the show, which will be executive produced and co-showrun by Gad, and produced by Evans:
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.
“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.
“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,” commented Jonnie Davis, president, 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.”
What do you think of this news? Are you ready for the singing Gaston, LeFou, and Tilly road trip in mid-1700s magical France?
(images: Disney, Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images, Hannah Hall, Tim Palen)
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