The Beast with Belle.
|First appearance||Beauty and the Beast (1991)|
|Created by||Linda Woolverton|
|Voiced by||Robby Benson|
|Children||Prince Ben (son; in Descendants only)|
The Beast is a fictional character who appears in Walt Disney Animation Studios' 30th animated feature film Beauty and the Beast (1991). He also appears in the film's two direct-to-video followupss Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas and Belle's Magical World. Based on the hero of the French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, the Beast was created by screenwriter Linda Woolverton and animated by Glen Keane.
A pampered prince transformed into a hideous beast as punishment for his cold-hearted and selfish ways, the Beast must, in order to return to his former self, earn the love of a beautiful young woman named Belle who he imprisons in his castle. All this must be done before the last petal falls from the enchanted rose on his twenty-first birthday. In all film and animated appearances, the Beast is voiced by American actor Robby Benson. In 1994, the film was adapted into a Broadway musical, with the role being originated by American actor Terrance Mann. Dan Stevens will play a live-action version of the character in an upcoming film.
- 1 Development
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Appearances
- 4 In other media
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Determining a suitable appearance for the Beast proved challenging. Although entirely fictional, supervising animator Glen Keane felt it essential for the Beast to resemble a creature that could possibly be found on Earth as opposed to an alien. Inspired by a buffalo head that he purchased from a taxidermy, Keane decided to base the Beast's appearance on a variety of wild animals, drawing inspiration from the mane of a lion, head of a buffalo, brow of a gorilla, tusks of a wild boar, legs and tail of a wolf and body of a bear. However, he felt it important that the Beast's eyes remain human. In fear that Glen Keane would design the Beast to resemble voice actor Robby Benson, Disney CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg did not allow Keane to see Benson during production of the film.
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 spoiled and selfish. 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 she transforms him into a terrifying beast-like creature for his arrogance. 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 until he turns 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 detains 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 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; however, Gaston refuses to lose, 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 becomes unconscious. Belle is able to tell the Beast that she loves him before the final petal falls. Then, Belle's love for the Beast breaks the curse, regains the Beast's consciousness, and transforms him back into the prince.
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
In this film, 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
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, the show's 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.
Beauty and the Beast (Live Action)
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- Thomas, Bob: "Academy Recognition: Beauty and the Beast", pages 127-131. Disney's Art of Animation: From Mickey Mouse to Hercules, 1997
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- Haun, Harry (2007-07-31). "Playbill on Closing Night: Beauty and the Beast — A Roaring Success". www.playbill.com. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-26.
- The D Show , Disney Interactive , 1998 ASIN B000031VV3
- Borys Kit (4 March 2015). "Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' Casting Dan Stevens as the Beast (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.