Disney confirms Beauty and the Beast prequel starring Gaston and controversial gay character LeFou

Beauty and the Beast Gaston LeFou

A Beauty and the Beast prequel series following iconic villain Gaston and his bumbling sidekick LeFou has been officially ordered by Disney.

Disney Plus has greenlit an eight-episode limited musical series known by the working title Beauty and the Beast. The series will be a prequel to the 2017 live-action film starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans and Josh Gad.

Evans and Gad will reprise their roles as Gaston and LeFou in the new series. No other stars from the film – like Watson and Stevens – are currently attached to the new Disney Plus project.

According to Variety, the show will follow Gaston and LeFou as they set off on an adventure with the sidekick’s step-sister Tilly (Brianna Middleton). As the trio set off on their journey, they encounter “old friends and new enemies”.

LeFou was heralded as a gay character, and director Bill Condon told Attitude that Gaston’s manservant would have an “exclusively gay moment” in the 2017 film. Condon described LeFou as a man who “on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston”.

But the “gay moment” that Condon was referring to is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot where LeFou dances with a man in the ball sequence just before the credits roll. The film itself doesn’t explicitly confirm that LeFou was gay, though it’s heavily implied that he might have an unrequited crush on Gaston.

Michael Paull, president of Disney Plus and ESPN Plus, told Variety that Beauty and the Beast has “inspired generations of fans around the world”, and the new series will welcome fans new and old to a new chapter in the “tale as old as time”.

“We can’t wait to welcome our guests back to the magical and musical world of Beauty and the Beast for an all-new chapter with LeFou, Gaston and a fantastic new cast of characters,” Paull said.

Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Branded Television, hinted that the show will “finally provide” answers for “anyone who’s ever wondered how a brute like Gaston and a goof like LeFou could have ever become friends and partners”.

It’s not clear if the new series will explore LeFou’s sexuality or his supposed attraction towards Gaston.

Gad revealed in 2019 that the “gay moment” was actually his idea. He said the scene was his “pitch”, and he felt like the dance was how he “wanted the movie to end” for his character.

“We decided LeFou’s happy ending would be to dance with another man, and that became such a controversial thing, apparently, even though it was only three seconds of screen time,” Gad said.

“We never meant to put a spotlight on it.”

Production on the new Beauty and the Beast prequel series will begin in 2022, according to Deadline. It’s not currently known when the series will premiere on Disney Plus.