The following contains spoilers for the new live-action Beauty and the Beast. Even if you've seen the original, animated, Disney movie, there are spoilers here.
The original animated Disney classic Beauty and the Beast is, in many ways, a perfect film. However, the story isn't without a handful of plot holes. In its compact 90-minute run time, the film simply doesn't have the time to go into details on many of the characters and their history. The new version, directed by Bill Condon, seemed to know this going in and it did its part to answer some of our more burning questions.
Many of the additions to the live-action Beauty and the Beast are specifically dedicated to answering questions that many of us had about the Beast, Belle, and all the other characters we love. Here are all the answers we have to our questions from the tale as old as time.
Why Didn't Anybody Remember A Prince Lived Nearby?
The title "prince" is not some random noble title. A prince is a son of a king, and a king is a ruler. The people who lived in that castle were clearly rulers over the little town that Belle and her father lived in, the castle wasn't even that far away, so why didn't anybody know it was there? In the new movie, we learned that part of the curse actually affected the villagers as well, as their memories were wiped of any memory of the prince or his castle. Which, among other things, left poor Mr. Potts at loose ends, apparently for years.
Exactly How Old Was The Prince When He Was Cursed?
In the animated original, we know that the curse will become permanent once the prince turns 21. During the "Be Our Guest" song, Lumiere sings that all the servants have been dealing with the curse for 10 years. This would seem to imply that the prince was 10-years-old when he was cursed, which would seem to be a pretty rough punishment for a kid. While the exact timing of the curse, and the lifting thereof, is never specifically mentioned in the new movie, we do clearly see that the prince is a young man when he is cursed, explaining why he should have known to be a nicer person.
Why Was The Prince Such A Dick?
We're told at the beginning of the movie all the terrible things that the prince did to the townspeople and we see him throw an old woman out during a storm, but previously to this film, there was never an explanation as to why the guy was like this to begin with. In this case, we get a partial answer. Apparently, the prince's father was a cruel and cold man, and so once the boy's mother died, it was the only influence he had growing up. It's not a perfect answer, as we are then led to ask: why was daddy a douchebag; and what did the boy's apparently loving mother ever see in him? But it's something.
Why Were The Servants Cursed, Too?
In both versions of Beauty and the Beast, all of the servants who have been turned from people into animate objects never once consider anything other than full-throated support of their boss, whose curse turned them into things. These are some seriously loyal servants. While it's never clearly stated in the new film, the implication is that the servants are at least partially to blame for the prince being in the state that he is in, as they never tried to counteract the negative influences of dad. The servants at least accept their own curse because they believe they earned it themselves for this reason.
What Happened To Belle's Mother?
A dead parent is such a Disney trope that it almost never gets noticed anymore, certainly in the animated movie nobody seemed to notice, as the fact that mom is not around is never brought up. In the new movie, however, Belle asks her father to talk about her mother almost as soon as we meet him. Later on, we learn what happened to her. She died of plague, an event which is what led Maurice to bring his daughter to the "poor provincial town" believing the village was the best place to keep his daughter safe.
How Long Does Belle Spend At The Castle?
In the animated version of Beauty and the Beast you get the impression that the two title characters fall in love over the course of a couple of days, like the characters in a certain Shakespeare play that Belle enjoys reading. However, when Maurice returns to town after being left for dead by Gaston, the villain claims to have been out looking for Maurice for five days, meaning this is how long Maurice spent in the woods with Agatha. This shows that we are seeing some jumps in time that aren't obvious. Belle has been there for longer than we think. When we add to this the fact that we don't know how long it takes Maurice to get back to town the first time, and that time is funny due to the curse, its possibly been much longer than that.