Disney's Beauty And The Beast Prequel Series Snags Marvel Actor Fra Fee

As Disney inches closer and closer to running out of animated films to remake in live-action, the studio has begun to explore new ways of cashing in on the franchises it's already revived. It's similar to what the studio did with its direct-to-VHS animated sequel, prequel, midquel, and spinoff films in the 1990s and early 2000s, which is how we ended up with titles like "The Fox and the Hound 2." (For my money, though, "Aladdin and the King of Thieves" is pretty decent.) To be fair, some of these projects read as natural continuations of the movies before them purely from a business perspective, like "Cruella 2." Others, however, are a bit perplexing, like the live-action "Aladdin" spinoff series about Billy Magnussen's Prince Anders, a character I had honestly forgotten was even in that movie.

This brings us to the upcoming "Beauty and the Beast" prequel series about Gaston and LeFou (Louie), which is rumored to be titled "Little Town." Luke Evans and Josh Gad are reprising their respective roles as the brawny antagonist and his sycophantic pal from Disney's live-action retelling of the tale as old as time, with Briana Middleton ("The Tender Bar") co-starring as Louie's stepsister Tilly and Liesl Tommy ("Respect") directing the first episode. With production gearing up to start in the spring, the show has now added another key cast member in the form of "Hawkeye" alum Fra Fee.

No One Makes Content Like Gaston

According to Variety, Fee will star in the "Beauty and the Beast" prequel series as Prince Benoit Berlioz, "a childhood friend of Tilly's who has grown into a handsome, charismatic, confident prince." The Irish actor and singer is fresh off his turn in the MCU show "Hawkeye" as Kazi Kazimierczak, Maya Lopez's longtime friend and personal sign interpreter in the Tracksuit Mafia. He also played roles in the "Les Misérables" movie musical and last year's "Cinderella" starring Camila Cabello, and has co-starred in a number of major plays and stage musicals since he graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2009. This is all relevant, mind you, as the "Beauty and the Beast" prequel series is a full-blown musical affair, complete with a soundtrack by Disney legend Alan Menken and song lyrics by Glenn Slater ("Tangled").

The show's official(-ish) synopsis reads as follows:

"Set in the iconic kingdom of "Beauty and the Beast" years before the Beast and Belle's romance, the series will follow Gaston and LeFou as they set off with Tilly after a surprising revelation from her past comes to light, sending the trio off on an unexpected journey."

Gad co-created the "Beauty and the Beast" prequel series with Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz ("Once Upon a Time") and will serve as a co-showrunner for all eight episodes. The show was born out the real-life friendship that Gad and Evans formed while playing Louie and Gaston the first time around, which both actors have talked about for years (via Contact Music). It's too bad they couldn't get Disney to sign off on them collaborating on an original fairy tale musical series and instead have to make one that's obliged to answer questions about "Beauty and the Beast" that, frankly, nobody was seriously asking ... but such is the state of things right now.

The "Beauty and the Beast" prequel series will debut on Disney+ at an as-yet-unannounced date (likely in 2023).