Beast (Disney character)
The Beast with Belle.
|First appearance||Beauty and the Beast (1991)|
|Created by||Glen Keane|
|Voiced by||Robby Benson (English)|
|Aliases||Adam (as a human)|
The Beast is a fictional character and the male protagonist of Disney's thirtieth animated film Beauty and the Beast, released in 1991. As the film is based on the traditional fairy tale of the same name, the Beast is based on the corresponding character from that fairy tale. He has also appeared in two direct-to-video midquels, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas and Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World. The character also appears in the Beauty and the Beast musical. He also appears in all three installments of the Disney/Square video game series, Kingdom Hearts, and has appeared numerous times in the ABC series House of Mouse. He is featured in Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse. The Beast also appears at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as a meetable character.
The Beast is voiced in all of his movie and video appearances, as well as in the Kingdom Hearts series, by Robby Benson. While his true name is never mentioned in the media franchise, it has been confirmed by the CD-ROM tie-in game The D Show that his real name is Prince Adam.
Director Kirk Wise mentioned that the Beast was challenging to design, saying that he and co-director Gary Trousdale "didn't care for" the early designs for the character because they were mostly "variations of a man with an animal head." They asked Chris Sanders, who was part of the Beauty and the Beast story team, to draft the designs for the Beast. Sanders came up with designs based on birds, insects, and fish before coming up with something close to the final design. The Beast's supervising animator, Glen Keane, refined the design by spending months surrounded by a zoo of animals for inspiration in developing the character. He looked at a mandrill in the London Zoo named Boris and a gorilla named Caesar in the Los Angeles Zoo. Keane said of the final result,
|“||The first challenge was to design a Beast that felt real, felt like a real animal from earth ... The animal that most inspired me was the buffalo. There seems to be an incredible power and size in a buffalo. But he has very sad cow eyes that say there's a gentleness inside of him.||”|
When Glen Keane and one of Belle's animators, Mark Henn, were drawing their respective characters in the same scene, they had to coordinate their work across the country. Henn was at the Disney-MGM Studio in Florida, and Keane was at the animation studio in Glendale, California. To keep the scenes harmonized, the animators had to exchange drawings daily by courier.
The Beast was one of the most complex characters ever attempted in animation at the time. His complexity came from the drastic change he makes: not only does his appearance transform, but his entire character. He is initially gruff and antisocial, but by the end of the film he has evolved into the romantic lead. The question as to whether The Beast should even be considered a villain in the film was up for debate in the Disney studio throughout production. Lead animator Glen Keane even questioned The Beast's motives.
|“||He probably wouldn't have minded killing Maurice [the father], in the beginning of the film. That was the extent where someone like The Beast, who had the potential to be good, could become a villain.[...] His actions do cause some pain, and he starts to get a glimmer that he's not entirely comfortable with the role of villain.||”|
In the director/producer commentary for the 2002 DVD release, Don Hahn commented on the Beast's internal struggle. The longer he was a beast, the more that part of him took over and diminished his humanity. Hahn also said that if Belle had never arrived at the castle, the Beast would've stopped wearing clothing altogether, would've stopped speaking, and eventually would be a beast inside to match the outside. There are few shots of the floor in the West Wing lair because it is littered with animal carcasses from his hunts. He had stopped acquiring food and eating like a human. This also would explain his inability to read, despite having learned before.
In the original tale, the Beast is seen to be kind-hearted for the most part, and gentleman-like, with only an occasional tendency to be hot-tempered. In Disney's variant of the tale, the Beast originally appeared to be constantly angry and depressed. As opposed to his original counterpart, the creators gave him a more primal nature to his personality, which truly exploited his character as an untamed animal. To reflect his early personality, the Beast is seen shirt-less, with ragged, dark gray breeches, and a ragged reddish-colored cape with a golden colored circular-shaped clasp. Despite the actual color of his cape being a dark reddish color, the Beast's cape is more often referenced to be purple (and in most of the Beast's subsequent appearances after the film, such as Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas or the Kingdom Hearts games, his cape is colored purple). The reason for this change in color is unknown, although the most likely reason is that the color purple is often associated with royalty. After the Beast saves Belle from a pack of wolves, his dress-style changes, reflecting a more refined personality. His dress style becomes more disciplined, and the most referenced form of dress is his ballroom outfit, which consisted of a golden vest over a white dress shirt with a white kerchief, black dress pants trimmed with gold, and a navy blue ballroom tail coat trimmed with gold, worn during the film's ballroom dance sequence. Upon his reform under his love interest Belle, his personality changes to refined, but naive about the world at the same time.
Supervising animator Glen Keane describes The Beast as "a twenty-one-year-old guy who's insecure, wants to be loved, wants to love, but has this ugly exterior and has to overcome this." The Beast is not of any one species of animal, but a chimera (a mixture of several animals), who would probably be classified as a carnivore overall. He has the head structure and horns of a buffalo, the arms and body of a bear, the eyebrows of a gorilla, the jaws, teeth, and mane of a lion, the tusks of a wild boar and the legs and tail of a wolf. He also bears resemblance to mythical monsters like the Minotaur or a werewolf. In the original versions, he was described more like a cross between a lion and a mythical animal. He also has blue eyes, the one physical feature that does not change whether he is a beast or a human.
Beauty and the Beast
A handsome young prince lived in a luxurious castle in France. He had everything he wanted, and as a result, he was selfish and spoiled. One night, on Christmas Eve, his kindness is put to the test when a beggar woman comes to the castle and asks for shelter from the freezing cold, with a single rose as payment. When he shuns the beggar for her repulsive appearance, she then reveals her true form as a beautiful (and powerful) Enchantress. Seeing her beauty and realizing her power, the Prince tries to apologize. But as a punishment for his cold heart, she turns him into a terrifying beast-like creature. She also casts a curse on the entire castle, transforming it into a dark, foreboding place, its lush green grounds into dangerous immortal wolf-infested woods, and the good-natured servants into anthropomorphic household objects to reflect their different personalities. Ashamed of his new appearance, the Beast conceals himself inside his castle with a magic mirror as his only window to the outside world, and an enchanted rose that would act as the curse's timer which would bloom once he's 21. If the Beast could learn to love a woman and earn her love in return before the final petal fell off the rose, the curse would be broken, but if not he would remain a beast forever.
Years later, Beast locks Maurice, an old man, in the tower as a prisoner for trespassing (actually allowed inside by the servants for shelter). Maurice's daughter, Belle, confronts Beast and pleads with him to let her father go, offering herself as a prisoner instead. The Beast agrees, believing she is the key to break the spell, but when she enters the castle's forbidden west wing and nearly touches the rose, he frightens her into the woods (which he regrets upon realizing that he lost his temper), where he saves her from being killed by wild wolves. Beast comes to appreciate Belle when she tends to his wounds and he strikes up a friendship with her. Eventually, he falls in love with her, and placing her happiness before his own, he releases her to tend to her sick father.
A lynch mob comes to kill the Beast, led by a rival suitor named Gaston. Beast is too disheartened from Belle's departure to try to stop them. Gaston eventually finds Beast, and fights him. The Beast is still too miserable to fight back and lets Gaston continue. But when Belle shows up to stop Gaston, the Beast gets up and Fights back eventually holding Gaston and intending to drop him until the hunter begs him not to. The Beast, realizing that he'd be no better than Gaston, pulls the hunter back and angrily tells him to leave. Belle then shows up on the balcony and The Beast goes to her; unfortunately, Gaston refuses to admit defeat, and the Beast is mortally stabbed in the back. In the process Gaston falls from the castle roof to his death. Belle comes to tend to the Beast's wounds, but he succumbs to his injuries and dies. Belle was able to tell the Beast that she loves him before the final petal fell, Belle's love for the Beast broke the curse, revived him, and turned back into the prince.
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
In the midquel, which takes place not long after the Beast rescued Belle from the wolves, much to Beast's frustration, Belle wants to celebrate Christmas and throw a real Christmas party. Beast hates the idea of Christmas, for it was the very day almost ten years ago when the Enchantress cast the spell on him and the entire castle. While Beast sits most of the preparations out, a treacherous servant plots to have Belle thrown out of the castle: Forte the Pipe Organ, since he is far more appreciated by the Beast while under the spell.
Unknown to Beast, Belle writes him a special book which he doesn't see until later on. She also meets Forte later on in a chance meeting. Forte tells her that Beast's favorite Christmas tradition was the Christmas tree. Belle becomes frustrated, for no tree she has seen on the grounds has been tall enough to hang ornaments. Forte lies to Belle, saying that a perfect tree can be found in the woods beyond the castle. Reluctant to go against Beast's orders that she never leave the castle, Belle leaves nonetheless in order to find the perfect tree. When Belle does not arrive to see Beast's Christmas present to her, he begins to suspect that she isn't there at all. When Cogsworth, having been ordered to retrieve Belle, explains that the household cannot find her, Beast becomes enraged. He goes to Forte to ask for advice, and Forte lies that Belle has abandoned him. Beast confronts Belle in the woods and saves her in time from drowning, since she fell through thin ice.
Still believing that Belle disobeyed him by leaving the grounds, Beast throws her into the dungeons. But when Forte goads him into destroying the rose to end his suffering, Beast finds Belle's book in the West Wing and reads it, coming to his senses and realizing that all Belle wants is for him to be happy. Releasing Belle from the dungeon, Beast prepares to join in the Christmas festivities. But Forte doesn't give up and even goes as far as to attempt to destroy the entire castle with Beethoven's 5th. Fortunately, Beast finds him in time and destroys his keyboard with Franz Schubert's Symphony No 8. Losing his balance (and his pipes), Forte falls from the wall he is leaned up against and is silenced forever. When the whole castle is turned back into humans, the Prince and Belle give Chip, Mrs. Potts' son, a book to read, which he loves. As the Prince and Belle come out to the balcony, he gives her something: a rose.
Belle's Magical World
In the final entry of the franchise, made up of four segments from a presumably failed television series, Belle teaches the Beast a thing or two about life itself, consideration and manners. He appears only in the first and fourth segments, and in a cameo in the third. In the first part, The Perfect Word, Beast and Belle have a bitter falling out at dinner when the Beast demands that Cogsworth open the windows to cool him down, despite the fact that he is the only one hot and there is a cold wind, and angrily strikes his servant, Webster, a long-tongued dictionary. Despite Lumiere and Cogsworth's pleas, Beast refuses to apologise for his behaviour, until Webster, Crane and LePlume forge a letter of apology from the Beast to Belle. All is settled, until the Beast realises that it was a forgery. He furiously banishes Webster, Crane and LePlume from the castle, but Belle brings them back from the woods, and the Beast soon learns to forgive them, as their intentions were good.
In the fourth part, The Broken Wing, the Beast loses his temper with Belle again when she brings an injured bird into the castle, as he dislikes birds. As he tries to chase the bird out, however, he falls over on the stairs and hits his head hard, stripping him of his hatred for birds. However, his selfishness still remains, and he locks the bird in a cage in his room, demanding that it sing for him whenever he demands it. The bird, terrified, refuses, until Belle teaches the Beast that the bird will only sing when happy. The Beast lets the bird out, and learns to consider others before himself.
Earlier on, in the third segment, Mrs. Potts' Party, the Beast makes several cameos sleeping in his bed in the West Wing. Dialogue between Lumiere and Cogsworth shows that he had spent the entire previous night mending leaks in the castle roof, and is still resting. An argument between Lumiere and Cogsworth about Mrs. Potts' favourite flowers lead to them having to hide several bunches of flowers around the Beast's bed. At one point, the Beast begins to smell one of the flowers and almost wakes up, but it is removed just in time, and he falls asleep again.
In other media
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Beast appears as a major Disney character in the bestselling video game series Kingdom Hearts.
In the first Kingdom Hearts, during a time in which the spell had not yet broken, Beast's home is attacked by the Heartless, led by Maleficent, who take Belle captive. Determined to rescue Belle, Beast goes as far as to exploit the power of darkness and risk his own life to transport himself to Hollow Bastion, where Belle is being held captive with the other six Princesses of Heart. Upon arriving in Hollow Bastion, Beast is confronted by Riku, who challenges him to a duel and easily defeats him. Beast is saved at the last minute by Sora, Donald and Goofy, who are looking for Kairi. Allying himself with Sora, since Donald and Goofy have temporarily joined Riku, Beast fights the Heartless and protects Sora while they work their way into the Hollow Baston castle. Entering the castle, Beast, Sora, Donald and Goofy fight their way through until they encounter and defeat Maleficent, who transforms into her dragon form and challenges them once again, only to be defeated once more. The four heroes find Kairi, but the circumstances cause Sora, Donald, Goofy and Kairi to leave Hollow Bastion, and Beast states that he will not leave without Belle. Later on, Beast encounters Sora once again when he returns to Hollow Bastion to lock the Keyhole. During their second search, Beast and Sora find Belle, who embraces Beast and presents Sora with the Divine Rose Keychain. In the Final Mix version of the game, Beast allies himself with Sora once again to fight and defeat Xemnas (then known as "Unknown").
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Beast is merely a figment of Sora's memories. He is once again separated from Belle, courtesy of Maleficent, but once more, Beast defeats Maleficent with Sora's help and rescues Belle.
Kingdom Hearts II
After Sora defeats Ansem, all the previously attacked worlds are restored, including Beast's Castle. Afterwards, Beast and Belle return to their home to carry on with their lives. However, the peace is shattered once again when Beast is approached by Xaldin of Organization XIII to do his bidding. Xaldin is determined to manipulate Beast into becoming a Heartless. If that happens, Beast will not only become a strong Heartless which Sora would have to destroy and feed to Kingdom Hearts, but also leave behind a powerful Nobody for Xaldin to use as he wishes (just like what happened to Xehanort). Manipulated and controlled, Beast is forced to allow the Heartless into the castle and lock the entire servant staff in the dungeons, with Belle too scared to intervene. Beast starts mistreating Belle. When Sora, Donald and Goofy arrive, they are encountered by Beast, who attacks them without hesitation. Sora wins the battle, and Beast comes back to his senses thanks to his servants who were released by Sora. Xaldin appears to flee. Later on, during a ball, Xaldin returns and steals the rose, throwing Beast into a depression and causing him to ask Belle and Sora to leave his castle. However a pep talk from Sora spurs him back into action. Xaldin confronts them and sends his Nobodies at them. They fight the Nobodies off, but Xaldin escapes to the castle drawbridge with Belle and the rose. Belle manages to escape from Xaldin's clutches with the rose, and Xaldin is then killed by Beast, Sora, Donald and Goofy. Belle gives Beast the rose but he is more relieved that she wasn't hurt. Beast then bids a grateful farewell to Sora, and returns to a normal life with Belle, until the spell is finally broken and Beast turns back into a human at the end of the game. Beast's Limit attack for Kingdom Hearts II is Twin Howl, where he and Sora violently shake the ground together.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Beast appears along with his homeworld again. The missions in Beast's Castle chronicle some of the events that occurred between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, such as Belle and Beast attempting to resume their normal lives and Beast's first encounter with Xaldin.
The Beast appears in the Broadway musical adaptation of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, originally portrayed by Terrence Mann. Other actors who have taken on the role include Chuck Wagner (1997), James Barbour (1998), Jeff McCarthy (2004), and Steve Blanchard.
The D Show
Once Upon a Time
In the 2011 ABC series Once Upon a Time, their version of "the beast" is actually another fairy tale character, Rumplestiltskin (played by Robert Carlyle), who gains possession of Belle as part of a deal to save Belle's kingdom from losing a war.
- The D Show , Disney Interactive , 1998 ASIN B000031VV3
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