Disney's Beauty and the Beast is the number one highest-grossing film of the year, both foreign and domestic, although I imagine it will have to settle for number two before long. The live-action remake of Disney's animated classic was a hit with audiences and critics alike, and continued the hot streak that really kicked off with Cinderella. So it would come as a surprise to no one if Disney was planning a sequel to the tale as old as time, and it turns out, that was originally the plan. We now know that the end of Beauty and the Beast was originally different and was intended to lay the groundwork for a follow-up, which would have focused on that villainous consumer of eggs, Gaston. As Beauty and the Beast screenwriter, Evan Spiliotopoulos explained.
The idea was not that he died in the end, but the enchantress would come and he would be cursed as the new beast.
It turns out that this idea went pretty far, with the intention of having Luke Evans' new beast running off into the world for his own chance at redemption. The same enchantress who cursed Dan Stevens' Beast would have again taught a harsh lesson to someone in need of it. However, according to The Wrap, Disney changed course at the eleventh hour and decided to stick with the more traditional telling in line with the 1991 animated classic. This certainly would have been a stark difference from the ending we got, and as it stands now, the enchantress would have to perform some resurrection before using the transfiguration spell on Gaston.
While this is a neat idea, I don't know that it would have worked. While Luke Evans' portrayal of Gaston is a highlight of the film, I don't know that audiences would have found him redeemable. His backward views, sexism and maliciousness are far more ingrained character traits than the Prince's shallowness and vanity. Plus how do you tell the story of Gaston trying to break the spell in a way that doesn't follow the same beats. This is where it is tricky to find the balance between a cash grab and taking creative chances. One of the criticisms of Disney's live-action remakes, especially Beauty and the Beast, is that they play it too safe. They hew too close to the warm and fuzzy sameness that audiences grew up with without taking chances. While this Gaston twist may have been an interesting departure from the animated film, it sounds like it would have been an unnecessary attempt to cash in on a sequel while basically telling the same story.
It appears that for now, there are no plans for a sequel to Beauty and the Beast, but there are other ways Disney could go should it choose to pursue one. Besides, Disney already has a lot on its plate with Christopher Robin hitting next year and a whole slew of remakes coming in 2019. You can check out all of Disney's upcoming live action remakes of its animated classics in our guide. For all the latest in your favorite childhood animated films now being animated by computers, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.