In a stunning development, Disney+ has pulled the plug on its planned Beauty and the Beast prequel series. Production on the eight-episode musical was poised to get underway this summer.
According to our sister pub Deadline, the decision not to move forward with the series was made for creative reasons, as well as due to delays with the scripts and original music. (Disney+ has confirmed Deadline’s report to TVLine.)
The news comes just days after the streamer announced that British singer/songwriter Rita Ora was joining the cast as a fugitive possessing “surprising abilities,” and who carries with her a secret that could potentially affect an entire kingdom.
Set “well before” the events of the 2017 live-action film, the series would’ve followed Gaston and LeFou (Luke Evans and Josh Gad, reprising their roles) as a surprising revelation sends them and LeFou’s stepsister, Tilly (The Tender Bar‘s Briana Middleton), on an unexpected journey filled with romance, comedy and adventure.
Once Upon a Time creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis — who were previously writing a Muppets revival with Gad that was scrapped at Disney+ last September — were on board to write, executive-produce and serve as showrunners alongside Gad, while Evans will also be an EP.
Evans and Gad both confirmed the news on Twitter: “Sadly, ’tis true. We tried to make it all work, but under the gun, it wasn’t meant to be… for now. These characters and this story will live on, but sometimes the best intentions & reality collide & nothing can be done.” Gad added that “we truly hope we get to make it when our schedules allow.”
Arguably the most interesting part about the prequel series was found in a statement from Disney Branded Television CCO Gary Marsh, who said last June, “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.” That implied that Gaston, whose previous connection to the Beast related only to their shared admiration for Belle, might know more about the Enchantress’ curse than fans had ever suspected.