Belle's sisters were two characters who were deleted from the 1988 screenplay of Beauty and the Beast, and would have acted as co-antagonist with Belle's suitors. They were cut, alongside the overall screenplay, due to then-Disney Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg feeling it wasn't what the Walt Disney Company had in mind.
The sisters altogether wore extremely lavish dresses and accessories, and also possessed dimples and powdered wigs, in contrast to Belle, who in this version wore an elegant though otherwise plain outfit and exposed her natural hair. However, the two sisters had some distinctions between each other: Namely, one of them was extremely portly, while the other was extremely lean.
Role in the film
Belle's sisters were, as the name states, the older sisters to Belle. Having been ignored constantly by three suitors to Belle's hand in marriage, they held a huge amount of jealousy towards Belle. They also leave their father to the fate of execution by the Beast, clearly not wishing to go to him. They also later scheme to get Beast's wealth to attract Belle's suitors, and proceeded to do so by manipulating Belle into staying with them via the use of onions to fake crying (a reference to the original tale.) They then manage to discover the wealth, however, they are caught and are forced to flee from the Beast, although not before one of Belle's suitors proceeds to mortally wound him. Belle's sisters, alongside the suitors, are later turned into animals by the Enchantress as punishment for their misdeeds shortly after the Beast's curse was lifted, with each animal representing their particular vices (i.e. a pig for greed, a peacock for vanity, etc.)
- When the film was rewritten by Richard Purdum in 1989, the sisters were condensed into a single character, Marguerite, Belle's aunt, who shared several similar characteristics to the sisters, most notably being vain and being obsessed with wealth. However, the sisters didn't want Belle to be married out of their jealousy, while Marguerite tries to force Belle into marriage to gain wealth via the suitor in question, Marquis Gaston. Marguerite, alongside the screenplay, ended up cut at Jeffrey Katzenberg's order due to it being "too dark and dramatic." Any chance of the sisters returning was removed when Linda Woolverton was selected to write the final version of the film, as she decided to have them cut out of the adaptation in order to give significant focus on Belle's distaste for Gaston, and also because she felt they would have otherwise been mistaken for the evil stepsisters Drizella and Anastasia Tremaine from Cinderella. The closest in the final film to their characterization were the Bimbettes, three blonde triplet sisters who fawned over Gaston, although unlike Belle's sisters, they weren't demonstrated to be anywhere near the level of wickedness of Belle's sisters in that version (they do, however, come closer to the level of wickedness of Belle's sisters in the 2017 remake).
- A variation of their role as Belle's siblings would have been kept in Belle's other sister Clarice from Purdum's version who, unlike the sisters, was kind to Belle. However, she was also written out of the film after the screenplay was rejected.
- Had they been kept, they would have been the first Disney Villains to act as blood-related siblings to the main protagonist (as Drizella and Anastasia were only stepsiblings to Cinderella).
- Although their roles were overall the same as in the original tale, there were four differences in their characters:
- Their jealousy and cruelty to Belle was not due to her having suitors in the original tale.
- In the original tale, their actual attempt at murder was directed towards Belle, not Beast, as they deliberately had Belle stay beyond the deadline in order to have her devoured by Beast in revenge.
- In addition, their fate was slightly different in the original tale, where they were instead transformed into statues by the Enchantress until they learned their faults and eliminated them which was a throw back to some of the original stories in books.
- Their character designs had them looking unattractive, while in the original tale, it is implied that they had physical beauty (although not to the extent that Belle had).