Tale as old as
time 30 years. Per Deadline, ABC is giving Disney’s Beauty and the Beast an anniversary special that’s part animation, part live-action. H.E.R. is set to play Belle in the two-hour special. Joining her in the live-action antics will be Martin Short as Lumière, David Alan Grier as Cogsworth, and Shania Twain as Mrs. Potts. Much like the hybrid production of The Little Mermaid Live (you know, the one that gave us a truly terrifying version of Flounder back in 2019), the special will include scenes from the original 1991 movie along with new performances. Hopefully, there will be fewer cursed puppets involved this time. However, given that this film has an all-singing, all-dancing all-usually-inanimate object musical number, that hope seems foolhardy at best. On the other hand, there was a Beauty and the Beast Broadway musical from which the producers of this special can draw inspo. The Little Mermaid just had a (now-canceled) show in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration will be executive-produced by Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, In the Heights) and directed by Super Bowl halftime-show director Hamish Hamilton. “I can’t believe I get to be a part of the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ legacy,” H.E.R. said in Variety. “The world will see a Black and Filipino Belle! I have always wanted to be a Disney princess, and I get to work with two wonderful directors Hamish Hamilton and my favorite, Jon M. Chu. It is very surreal and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Josh Groban has signed on to play the Beast, as well as the Beast’s historically less attractive counterpart. Joshua Henry will play demonic muscle daddy Gaston. The special is scheduled to air on ABC on Thursday, December 15 at 8 p.m. ET. It will stream on Disney+ the following day … allegedly. Hey, we haven’t forgotten how quickly Disney+ canceled that Beauty and the Beast prequel series.
This story has been updated throughout.