Disney+’s Beauty and the Beast prequel series will not be moving forward at this time. The decision comes as the lead cast of the eight-episode series had been assembled ahead of the planned summer 2022 shoot in the U.K.
According to sources, the call not to proceed with the show was made for creative reasons, with the scripts and original music not coming together in the direction expected or running behind schedule. With a number of creative elements up in the air and the shoot’s start already pushed from early spring to summer, a decision was made to put the project on hold after millions of dollars had been spent on it. Pushing filming further into the fall was not an option because of talent availability and weather concerns, sources said.
Luke Evans and Josh Gad headline the prequel, reprising their roles as Gaston and LeFou. Briana Middleton, Fra Fee and Jelani Alladin also had been cast as leads.
Beauty and the Beast was developed and written by Gad and Once Upon a Time creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, with the trio serving as executive producers/co-showrunners.
This is the second incarnation of the project, which had been in the works at Disney for a couple of years. Disney intends to continue work on the series and eventually made it; it is unclear whether the current creative auspices will remain involved.
It is also the second Disney IP-based series from Gad, Kitsis and Horowitz to not make it to Disney+; the trio previously collaborated on a Muppets show, which did not go beyond the pilot stage.
“Sadly, ‘Tis true,” Gad wrote on Twitter after news of the canceled shoot broke. “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.”
Added Evans, “This is a very sad message for us to tweet. We are devastated. Goodbye, for now, from Gaston and LeFou.”
Set in the iconic kingdom of Beauty and the Beast years before the Beast and Belle’s epic romance, the series follows Gaston (Evans) and LeFou (Gad) as they set off with LeFou’s step-sister, Tilly (Middleton), 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.
Tony Award-nominated director Liesl Tommy was to direct the first episode. EGOT Award-winning composer Alan Menken, who scored both the 1991 and 2017 Beauty and the Beast movies, had been tapped to write the soundtrack of the series, with lyrics for the first episode by Oscar-nominee Glenn Slater. Tommy, Menken and Evans are also executive producing.
Beauty and the Beast is from Disney Branded Television and ABC Signature.
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