- “Now, it's no wonder that her name means 'beauty'; her looks have got no parallel.
But behind that fair facade, I'm afraid she's rather odd—very different from the rest of us...”
- ―Lyrics from the townsfolk in "Belle"
- Far-off places, daring sword fights, a prince in disguise, Belle longs for so much more than a "normal life" in this small, provincial town - a town where girls don't aspire to more than marrying well. Still, adventure is the last thing on her mind when she rides her horse, Philippe, into the forest to find her beloved father, who is missing. Thinking only of her father, she makes a bargain with a Beast who holds her father captive in his castle. Though the Beast now holds the key to Belle's prison, he doesn't have the key to her heart, and her yearning spirit won't be kept prisoner. But after he risks his own life to save hers, she begins to see past his appearance. She realizes that deep inside him there might be something more than she - or he - has ever dreamed.
Development and original concept
When production first started on Beauty and the Beast, Belle's characterization was initially slightly closer to that of the original tale, being slightly timid yet also caring. She also had a sister named Clarice as well as a snobbish aunt named Marguerite (who would have been the movie's equivalent of Belle's wicked sisters from the original tale). However, after the 1989 storyboard reel was presented, then-Disney Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg ordered for it to be rewritten from scratch, both due to viewing it as too dark and dramatic, and because he envisioned a Broadway-like film with a "feminist twist" to the original tale. To accomplish this, he hired Linda Woolverton, who at the time had just started film screenwriting and her only other experience with Disney was writing some episodes of their various Saturday Morning cartoons. Woolverton based Belle on Katharine Hepburn's role of Jo March from the film adaptation of the book Little Women, and avoided using the Jean Cocteau film as a template for Belle and the film, even going as far as to avoid seeing the film. She also gave Belle a love of literature to show her open-mindedness. She also made sure to make Belle a feminist in order to have her stand apart from Ariel in The Little Mermaid, as she didn't want "another insipid princess," taking notes from the women's movement to create her character.
Belle has gained a significant amount of intelligence over the years due to her love of books, which have provided her with an elevated vocabulary, an active imagination, and an open mind. She is very confident and outspoken in her opinions, and seldom likes being told what to do. Despite all this, she does not have very many friends. Her smarts and being a free-thinking attitude make her stand out from her fellow townspeople who regard her as a little odd. Unlike most characters in the film, Belle isn't concerned about hers or other's appearances, and is able to look past how people appear and see into their hearts. This is how Belle manages to break the Beast's curse and restore love and laughter to the castle.
Belle is somewhat a free woman for her time and refuses to be mistreated, undermined, humiliated, demeaned, or controlled by anyone, especially and specifically Gaston (in fact, he makes it quite clear that his ideal marriage with Belle includes her having "six or seven" good-looking sons with him, massaging his feet, cooking his dinner, scrubbing the floors, doing dirty work and, above all, no reading, as he considers intelligence in women to be ridiculous; this is taken one step further in his song in the musical in which he sings that womankind "occasionally" serves a purpose in marriage, specifically "extending the family tree"). However, Belle willingly listens to, takes advice from, and admires her father Maurice since, throughout most of her life, he's the only person to believe in her unconditionally. She also considers the opinions and directions of the Beast, because, like Maurice, he is able to treat her as an equal (the Beast eventually learned how throughout the course of the film). She also seemed to have a good relationship with the bookseller, presumably because of his encouraging her to pursue her love of literature. Gaston meanwhile views Belle and all women of the village as ornamental (someone to make him look even better). She is quite resolute when it comes to stating and upholding her opinions and maintaining her ideas. Even though Belle had said in the film that she dreams of adventure, she has also stated that she also wishes for a friend who accepts her for who she is. This is because everyone in town criticizes her for doing her own thing and they don't understand why, which makes her feel like she does not fit in. However, despite this, even when people gave her a hard time she never changed, but came to a better understanding of herself. This made the biggest difference when she broke the spell and charmed the Beast just by being herself. In the Disney Comics New Adventures of Beauty and the Beast, set a few years before the events of the first film, Belle was also shown to be somewhat bigoted in her views, refusing to associate herself with the boys in her village due to unfortunate experiences with them in the past (then slightly amending it to exclude her father after the latter jokingly asked their pet pig Pierre if he heard Belle consider him no different than the pig). The same serial also implies that despite her love of fairy tales, she herself did not believe in the supernatural, as when trying to explore a certain part of the Black Forest before encountering an owl, she mentioned in her thoughts she knew there weren't any mythical creatures in there.
Belle is quite witty, and is able to use this trait to her advantage and outsmart people. When in an argument with the Beast, Belle was able to hold her ground and challenge each of the Beast's points with a cunning comeback, such as "If you hadn't frightened me I wouldn't have run away", or "You should learn to control your temper." Each of these facts left the Beast stunned and at a loss for words. Belle managed to think of these comebacks without much thought or hesitation. When Lumière and Cogsworth were attempting to lead Belle's curiosity away from the West Wing, she challenged them by saying the West Wing wouldn't be forbidden if the Beast wasn't hiding something in it, also briefly stunning them. Belle's logic may also have helped her save Maurice by realizing that something was going on in the castle that she wanted to find out. Soon, in the West Wing, she is almost able to discover the true identity of the Beast, though she briefly forgets it in the end.
Belle has a strong sense of character, and is able to use this trait in a variety of ways, even to her own advantage. On Belle's first night in the castle, following the "Be Our Guest" sequence, she develops an urge to explore the castle, and asks for a guide. Observing Cogsworth's "authoritative" personality, she immediately knows that Cogsworth would be the best candidate. At first, Cogsworth is quite reluctant of the idea, but when Belle says she's sure he knows everything about the castle, he agrees. Similarly, she also has a strong sense of deductive reasoning, as she deduced from the animate objects' interactions that the castle she was imprisoned at was enchanted, and without anyone telling her beforehand, as well as her being implied to have deduced Gaston's true role in locking Maurice up. This, however, was contradicted in the final moments of the film, where she exposed the Beast's existence to a congregated mob despite the high likelihood that they would turn and kill the Beast due to their current emotional state, as well as Gaston being very likely to try to kill the Beast under even the slightest hint that she might love the Beast more than him or like him in any way possible, as well as being shocked when Gaston and the villagers doing exactly that.
Belle's personality transforms throughout the film. At first, she frequently dreams about a life of adventure and romance, not realizing that sometimes adventures might take a turn for the worst. As Belle begins to spend more time with the Beast, and their relationship blossoms into a strong friendship, she begins to fall in love with him without realizing it. As she matures during the course of her imprisonment, her love for the Beast breaks the enchantment. With that, Belle realizes that having dreams is great, but sometimes you need to look beyond them and find what you're truly looking for.
- “Now, it's no wonder that her name means 'beauty'. Her looks have got no parallel...”
- ―The Aristocratic Lady
Belle is known throughout the village for her beauty, with one villager commenting that it has no parallel, but although she knows it, she isn't vain or concerned about her looks. She is greatly aware that her fellow citizens think of her as "odd" and "peculiar." Belle pays very little attention to her appearance, unlike the very much conceited Gaston, who only wishes to wed her because she is attractive. He cares very little for her personality, her intelligence (he hates the very idea of a woman being smart) or the way she wants to live her life. In spite of his flaws, he singles Belle out as "the most beautiful girl in town," almost as if it were a compliment.
Belle has long brown hair, most often tied back in a low ponytail, and possesses captivating hazel eyes, full lips, rosy cheeks, a heart-shaped face and a sculpted figure. One of her more distinct features are the strands of hair that are constantly slipping loose from her ponytail and falling in front of her face, she is often seen brushing them back into place when nervous or trying to be polite.
Throughout the film, Belle wears various outfits depending on the occasion.
Her primary appearance is a medium blue sleeveless dress with a white long sleeve button shirt underneath, a white apron on her waist and black flats. Her hair is tied in a low ponytail adorned in a medium blue ribbon. When she goes to the Beast's castle, she was wearing a dark blue cloak.
When she was attacked by a pack of wolves and reunite with the Beast during his fight with Gaston in the climax of the film, Belle's long brown hair was loose as her ribbons on her ponytail was removed by one of the wolves before being saved by the Beast or she removes it herself just to find the Beast during his fight with Gaston in a rain.
Her most elaborate, recognized, iconic, and renowned is a golden ball gown with a simple designed bodice, wrapped off-the-shoulder sleeves, a wide-hemmed floor-length skirt made of 8 triangular panels and a multiple-layered white petticoat with a scalloped edging on the hemline. This dress is which she wore while sharing her first dance with the Beast in the "Beauty and the Beast" sequence. With this outfit, she wears some of her hair in a neat bun, but the majority of it trails down her neck in a beautiful, flowing motion, resembling a ponytail.
The story writers and producers of Beauty and the Beast wanted to give Belle's movements an air of elegance, so they studied the movements of ballerinas during the course of Belle's development. Like ballerinas, Belle walks diligently and swiftly on her toes no matter what types of shoes she is wearing, or where she is located. The designers and artists wanted Belle to be more noticeable in a crowd, so they payed extra close attention to her wardrobe, making sure that Belle would be the only member of the town to wear blue, whilst the other townsfolk sported more rustic and earthy colors, such as red, green, orange and brown.
Most of Belle's abilities are based on knowledge and intelligence, instead of physical strength.
One of Belle's more obvious abilities is her use of vocabulary. Possibly due to her love of books and constant reading, Belle is able to call out many words off the top of her head and use them in the correct context in order to prove a point or state a fact, such as "primeval" and "provincial". She also was apparently a speed-reader, having managed to complete a book in a short amount of time, which apparently shocked the bookkeeper when she came to return the book.
Although Belle is quite ignorant of her own beauty, she does somewhat manage to use her feminine charm to her advantage. When Gaston proposed to Belle, she pretended to be clueless and at a loss for words, however, she was secretly leading Gaston toward the door, and when cornered against it, opened it and sent him flying into a mud pond, taking some amusement upon doing so before throwing his boots out after him.
Although Belle displays few athletic abilities, she is able to ride a horse at quite stunning speeds with ease and skill, and subconsciously navigate her way through a crowded street while reading, without colliding with any other people or objects (although having several near-misses), at one point even deflecting water that was about to pour on top of her while she was reading without once looking up. She also may have had enough strength to lift the Beast, as evidenced by the Beast being placed onto Philippe (although how she was able to put him on Philippe's back was never shown on-screen). Later on, she was able to pull the Beast up on to a balcony. In addition, she also was revealed to have rescued her dad from the elements and presumably place him onto Maurice while the latter was still out cold despite his being far larger than her in terms of weight.
It is made quite obvious in the early chapters of the film that Belle has a beautiful singing voice, courtesy of Broadway actress and singer Paige O'Hara.
Belle is a young woman living in a small unnamed village in France. She first appears at the beginning of the film (after the prologue) as she emerges out of the cottage she lives in and heads to a bookstore in the village, aware that the villagers are noting her peculiarity and how she doesn't fit in with the rest of them due to her love of books and withdrawn nature. At the bookstore, Belle returns a book she has borrowed and takes the one she perceives as her favorite. While heading back home to the cottage, she is pursued by a conceited, arrogant, muscle-headed hunter named Gaston, who eventually stands in her way. Gaston takes the book from Belle, drops it into a mud puddle, and tells Belle to get herself out of reading and pay more attention to "more important things" like him. Just then, an explosion comes out from the basement of her cottage, prompting Belle to run back home.
Descending into the basement and coughing her way in, Belle finds her father, Maurice, who is about to give up on his latest contraption that he has built. Belle faithfully tells her father how she has believed he will get the machine working, win first prize at the fair, and become a world-famous inventor. Inspired by his daughter's beliefs, Maurice reworks on the machine, and once he thinks he has done fixing it, he gives it a test run. To both Belle and her father's surprise, the test run goes successfully. Belle waves goodbye to her father and wishes him luck as Maurice, riding on their horse Philippe, goes off to the fair with the invention.
The following day, Belle hears a knock on a door. She uses the periscope, only to find that Gaston is at the porch, much to her dismay, but nevertheless lets him in. Gaston reveals to Belle that he wants to make her his little wife and the mother of six or seven handsome little boys; Belle is disgusted by this idea and slips away from Gaston, who continues to approach her. As Gaston has Belle cornered at the door and is about to plant a kiss on her, Belle opens the door, causing Gaston to fall into a large mud pond outside. After a furious and humiliated Gaston leaves the cottage, Belle goes outside to feed the chickens, shocked in disbelief at how Gaston has asked her to marry him. Not wanting to be the wife of that boorish, brainless man, she runs off into an open field, where Philippe finds her. Seeing the horse without her father, Belle pleads the horse to take her to where her father is.
Belle rides to a mysterious castle on Philippe in possibility of finding her father. She finds her father locked away in a dungeon, and begs the dungeon master to free him, offering her own freedom in exchange for her father's. On the condition that she stay with him forever, the dungeon master, a hideous Beast, frees Maurice from the dungeon; however, he is deeply moved by her beauty and affection towards her father, and can't help but feel touched by her boldness and bravery. The Beast then shows Belle to her room; along the way, he warns her not to go into his lair, the West Wing, which he cryptically labels as forbidden. He also orders Belle to join him for dinner before storming off. Belle throws herself onto her bed and breaks down in tears over being separated from her father forever and trapped in the scary castle by the Beast.
Later, Belle is visited by Mrs. Potts and Chip; she is shocked and surprised that a teapot and a teacup are alive (the Enchantress who turned the prince into a beast also transformed his servants into household objects) that she backs into a Wardrobe, who is also alive. She accepts a tea from Mrs. Potts, and after the teapot and the teacup leave, the Wardrobe decides upon a dress for Belle to wear for her upcoming dinner with the Beast, but Belle declines just as Cogsworth—the head butler who turned into a mantle clock—arrives to inform her that dinner is ready.
The Beast, enraged upon learning from Cogsworth that Belle is not joining him for dinner, storms over to Belle's room and bangs on the door, ordering her to come out to dinner. The two then have a heated shouting match which results in the Beast ordering Belle to starve before storming back to his lair. A little later, Belle, feeling hungry, emerges out of her room and makes her way to the castle's kitchen, where she meets Cogsworth, his assistant Lumiere, and Mrs. Potts, who all agree to feed Belle (despite their master's protests) and entertain her with a marvelous musical number.
After the dinner show, Belle applauds the entertainers and servers for putting on a spectacular performance. Having figured out that the castle is enchanted and wanting to see more of the castle, Belle asks Cogsworth to show her around. During the tour, Belle comes across a staircase leading to the West Wing, but Cogsworth and Lumiere stop her and try to talk her out of going into the room she is forbidden to step into by showing their library; however, Belle's curiosity of the West Wing gets the better of her. Taking advantage of a brief distraction from the two servants, Belle enters the room, and discovers it is beaten down and sickly. There she sees a torn picture of a young man and a glowing rose. She takes the glass off the rose and tries to touch it. Just then, however, the Beast arrives and ruthlessly scolds Belle out of fury for disobeying him. Terrified as well as having had enough of the Beast's ferocious temper and the castle itself, Belle escapes the castle (rushing past Cogsworth and Lumiere) and runs away.
In the woods, she and her horse encounter a pack of frightening and savage wolves, who chase after her and the horse. The wolves quickly catch up and knock Belle off her horse. Belle takes a tree branch to use as a weapon, but the wolves bite it in half when she attempts to hit them, rendering her helpless and defenseless in no time. Just as she is about to meet her apparent demise, the Beast arrives and attacks the wolves, rescuing Belle and forcing the animals into retreat. However, a wolf manages to injure him in the process. Coming to realize that the Beast has saved her life, Belle chooses helping the Beast—who has collapsed from exhaustion and his wounds—back to the castle over running away and leaving him in the woods. While she tends to the Beast's wounds, the two then got into another heated argument about who was at fault, with Belle winning the argument by ordering him to control his temper, overcoming her fears and conquering his ferocious temper. She then thanks the Beast for saving her life, to which the Beast, realizing the good deed he has done while noticing her kindness, starts feeling good inside himself.
As a token of his appreciation, the Beast, at Lumiere's suggestion shows Belle the castle's enormous library, which strikes her interest so much that he gives the entire library to her. In return, Belle helps him act more like a gentleman, and the two eventually form a healthy friendship, bonding over suppers, reading, and playful outings in the snow. Over time, the Beast falls deeply in love with her, but fears that she will never love him in return. On a special night, however, an evening date is conceived, and the two eventually fall in love, though neither feelings were verbally expressed. After a waltz in the grand ballroom, Belle expressed longing for her father, and wishes for a way to see him once more. The Beast allows Belle to use his magic mirror, which is capable of showcasing anything its user requests. Belle asks the mirror to show her father, and it reveals him to be lost and sick in the woods, apparently dying, the sight that shocks and worries her. With no choice, the Beast grants Belle freedom for the safety of her father. As a way to remember him, he hands her the mirror, which she accepts before departing in haste.
After returning to the village with her rescued father, Monsieur D'Arque, the head of a mental asylum, arrives to apprehend Maurice. It is soon revealed that Gaston was behind the asylum's arrival, in hopes of forcing Belle to marry him in exchange for her father's freedom. Belle refuses, and Gaston goes ahead with taking Maurice to the asylum. Thinking fast, Belle fetches mirror and begs for it to show her the Beast, then turns the mirror to the villagers to reveal his existence, proving Maurice's sanity. Unfortunately, as she assures the intimidated crowd that the Beast is not dangerous, Gaston senses Belle's romantic feelings for the creature and mocks her of being in love with a monster, to which Belle retorts by labelling Gaston as the real monster, making him snap. Out of spite and jealousy, Gaston snatches the mirror from Belle, convinces the villagers that the Beast is a threat, and rallies a mob to attack the Beast. Belle tries to stop Gaston from going with his plans, but Gaston perceives that Belle is against him and has her and Maurice locked in a cellar to prevent them from warning the Beast. After the mob's departure, Chip (who stowed away in Belle's satchel) uses Maurice's wood-cutting invention to free them, allowing them to rush to the castle on Philippe.
Belle arrives at the castle while Gaston is taking on the Beast and attempts to stop the former from hurting the latter. The Beast, seeing Belle return, summons up the strength to fight back while Belle rushes into the castle and up the stairs. Arriving at the balcony, she calls to the Beast and reaches out for him to take her hand. Just as the Beast takes hold of Belle's hand, Gaston stabs the Beast in the back, causing the Beast to jerk backwards in pain, which then causes Gaston to lose his balance and fall to his death. Belle manages to grab hold of the Beast and pull him up onto the balcony. The Beast smiles at seeing Belle, who ensures all will be well with their reunion at hand. Unfortunately, the weak Beast can only express gratitude over seeing Belle one last time before he dies in her arms. Belle begs him not to leave her and, sobbing over the Beast's dead body, admits her love for him, mere seconds before the last petal falls from the enchanted rose.
As Belle continues sobbing over the loss her love, shimmering beams of light falls onto the Beast. The Beast's body then begins to float in the air and is enshrouded in a fog. Belle watches mysteriously as the Beast's fore-paws, hind-paws, and furry head respectively transform back into hands, feet, and head of a Prince. The Prince then turns to Belle, who initially looks at him skeptically, but then she recognizes him by his blue eyes. The Prince and Belle share their first kiss, a kiss of true love, which subsequently breaks the additional spell placed on the castle and its inhabitants: the dark, scary castle is restored into its original, shining state, and all the Prince's servants, including Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts, are transformed back into humans. The film ends with Belle and the Prince dancing in the ballroom with her father and his servants watching happily.
A midquel taking place during the winter segment of Beauty and the Beast, this is the story of Belle's attempt to bring back to the castle the one ceremony the Beast hates most: Christmas. At the point the movie is supposed to take place, Belle still considered herself a prisoner in the castle, and was not truly friends with the Beast at that point, though she had begun to accept him. This takes not too long after she was saved from the wolves, she had started to warm up to the Beast a little.
A pipe organ called Forte is determined to do anything necessary to keep the spell from breaking, because he thinks that if the curse is broken, then the Beast won't need his depressing music anymore. Thus, he proves to be a real obstacle for Belle's plan.
After several attempts to get the Beast to agree, the Beast finally approves of the idea and allows Belle to prepare for Christmas, though he still bears a grudge, for Christmas is the day the Enchantress cast the spell on him and the castle residents.
With advice from Forte, Belle goes out into the woods to get a suitable tree for Christmas, but she falls into thin ice and almost drowns. Fortunately, she is rescued by Beast, who is enraged at her because Forte told him that she was trying to desert him again.
Belle is then thrown into the dungeon to rot, but the Beast then finds a book that Belle had written for him earlier in the West Wing, and decides to set Belle free and they both continue to prepare for Christmas. But Forte doesn't give up there, even going as far as to attempt to bring the whole castle down with Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in order to prevent the spell from ending, as it can't if everyone is dead. Fortunately, the Beast stops him in time by crashing his keyboard to pieces. Sadly, the Beast mourns the loss of his servant and Belle comforts him.
The viewers are soon taken back the actual Christmas taking place, and Belle is presented with a gift from her husband: a rose.
In this movie, Belle is the only human character. She meets her new three enchanted object friends Webster, Crane and Le Plume and is about to solve problems in all four segments. Because the segments of the movie were originally intended to be used for a TV series, Belle had a slightly darker complexion than usual.
In the first episode, "The Perfect Word", a falling out between Belle and Beast leads to the banishment of the aforementioned servants, Webster, Crane and LePlume, forcing Belle to rush out and rescue them.
In "Fifi's Folly", it is Lumière's anniversary with Fifi yet he does not know the proper way to confess how he truly feels. Belle assists him by taking the role as Fifi and practicing what he's going to do for their date. Fifi sees the two and believes Lumière is leaving her for Belle. Eventually all is straightened out.
In "Mrs. Potts' Party", Belle strives to cheer up a depressed Mrs. Potts, whom she has notably come to look as a motherly figure, though the rivalry between Lumière and Cogsworth causes trouble. This segment was also included in Belle's Tales of Friendship.
In the fourth and final segment, "A Broken Wing", Belle finds a wounded bird and takes it in. She spends most of her time hiding it from Beast originally until he grows to like. After a while, another problem brews as the bird is healthy once more, but Beast wants to keep it for it's singing. Belle convinces him to let it free. In the end, they become closer and their intense romance buds anew.
Belle made cameo appearances in many episodes of the House of Mouse television series. In "Mickey and the Culture Clash", Belle attempted to read a book that Mickey was balancing on his head, but her hand was slapped away by Mortimer Mouse. She then asked what the commotion was about, and was informed by Clarabelle that Minnie was looking for someone more sophisticated than Mickey. In "Ask Von Drake", Belle was seen sitting with Beast during Disney character head count. In "The Stolen Cartoons", Donald Duck accidentally served Lumière as Belle's evening meal, much to the latter's confusion. In "Jiminy Cricket", when Jiminy mentions the possibility some characters may not have children, the camera pans to Belle and Beast. Belle can also be seen in recycled crowd shots, cheering alongside Mrs. Potts and Chip.
Belle also appeared aside Beast in Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, and in some crowd shots in Mickey's House of Villains.
In the series, Ariel's voice actress, Jodi Benson took over as the voice of Belle, although Paige O'Hara did reprise her role as Belle in Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse.
Belle made a guest appearance in the episode "The Amulet and the Anthem".
She teaches Sofia that actions speak louder than words when apologizing about her bragging didn't break her croaking curse by singing "Make It Right".
Curiously, like Princess Jasmine before her, Belle's hairstyle is different than what her redesign shows. Rather than being waist length with a large sock bun and two free locks framing her face, the hairstyle that she sports in the episode is only just past her shoulders with the bun being the previous fancy knot that she had prior to her redesign. This is either because this version of the hairstyle was easier and less time-consuming to animate or the animators chose to combine aspects of her original hairstyle with her new one as a sort of homage to her first appearance.
Cameos and other appearances
In a special trailer for Lilo & Stitch, Belle and Beast were seen engaging in the famous ballroom dance when Stitch is seen on the chandelier, causing it to crash down, thus tarnishing Belle and Beast's dance. Belle then storms off to her room in a huff telling Stitch to get his own movie.
Belle made a cameo appearance as a silhouette at the end of The Lion King 1½.
Originally, when the first installment of Disney Princess Enchanted Tales was to be released, it was to feature a new Belle story and a brand new Fa Mulan story. The First chapter was entitled "A Kingdom Of Kindness". The plot of Belle's story featured Chip getting in trouble with the Beast after breaking some of his things. Terrified, Chip runs away. Belle finds him and convinces him to come back to the castle, and teaches Beast what it means to be kind. She also teaches Chip that even when people are mad with him, it still means they love him. Only one known song has been written for Belle, this song is called "You'll Never Lose This Love", and is available to watch on the Enchanted Tales Website.
Belle was also one of the many Disney heroines set to appear in the cancelled animated short, Princess Academy. In concept art for the production, Belle could be seen in the form of a silhouette, bedside Princess Aurora and Hyacinth Hippo.
In a 2015 holiday advertisement for Target, a doll version of Belle, alongside Rapunzel, makes a brief cameo appearance as part of the cheering crowd when the kids successfully put the star on top of the Christmas tree.
From 1995 through 1999 on both Disney Channel and in syndication, a series titled Sing Me a Story with Belle aired from the Disney-MGM Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Actress Lynsey McLeod portrayed Belle, who was the owner of a book and music shop in France in her commoner costume.
Belle (Emilie de Ravin) is the only child and daughter of Sir Maurice, whose town will be destroyed in the Ogre Wars. Rumplestiltskin offers to protect them if Belle becomes his servant forever. Her father and her fiancée Gaston (Sage Brocklebank) refuse to agree to his terms, but Belle accepts the deal. Over time, the pair fall in love, and Rumplestiltskin asks her to go out and buy straw, expecting that she will not return. On the road, she meets the Evil Queen Regina and learns that true love's kiss will break any curse, including the one on Rumplestiltskin. Belle returns to the castle and kisses him, and he starts changing back into a human. However, he learns that she met the Queen and becomes convinced that she is a spy; this stops the transformation. In his rage, he rejects her love and locks Belle in his dungeon. He then breaks all of his dish ware, except the cup that she accidentally chipped. He throws her out of his castle, stating that his power is more important to him than she is. She admonishes him for not believing that she loves him and promises that he will regret it when he is left with an empty heart and the chipped cup. She then leaves and he does not see her again. She is later seen giving advice on love to Grumpy.
Her storyline in the Enchanted Forest involved Mulan in one episode. The two of them hear of a fiery monster causing trouble in the Enchanted Forest. Belle hunts it down and douses it with water. The monster then writes "save me" on the ground. Belle uses fairy dust to help the creature and it turns back into its true form, Prince Phillip. He thanks Belle for saving him and reveals to her that Maleficent cast a spell over him to keep him away from his true love, Aurora. Belle then introduces Phillip to Mulan and leaves them to help her true love, Rumplestiltskin. However, soon after she is taken prisoner by Regina. In another episode, Hook goes to Belle's jail cell after hearing that she could be Rumplestiltskin's weakness. He asks her to help destroy him, but she refuses to do so. Hook then knocks her out and leaves.
According to the Queen, Belle was allegedly shunned by her town for her association with Rumplestiltskin and was imprisoned and tortured until she threw herself off a tower and died. However, this is later proven false by her existence in Storybrooke, where Regina keeps her locked in a secret room underneath the Storybrooke Hospital.
She is eventually released by Jefferson. He tells her to find Mr. Gold, who is actually Rumplestiltskin, and to tell Gold that Regina held her captive. She finds Gold, but does not remember who he is. When the curse on Storybrooke is broken, she regains her memories and professes her love for Rumplestiltskin. He then takes her to his shop, where she makes him promise he won't kill Regina. After Gold releases the Wraith to seek out vengeance on Regina, Belle storms out of the pawn shop, frustrated by his play on words. Later, she comes back to him, where he shows her the chipped cup and she says she will stay with him as "he's a monster."
At the beginning of "The Crocodile", Belle has a dream that Mr. Gold turns into Rumplestiltskin/The Dark One and throws a pickaxe into Leroy's chest. When she wakes up, she sees Mr. Gold in the basement of his house doing magic. The next morning, Belle asks him what he has been doing. Mr. Gold just says "Magic is Power."
Later, her father, Moe/Maurice sends Smee to "kidnap" her so she could see her father but Moe finds out she still loves Mr. Gold. To fix this "little" problem, her father handcuffs her to a mining trolley and rolls it down hill, so she can have her memories erased (because when a person crosses the town border, they lose all memory of their true selves). She is rescued by Mr. Gold, Prince Charming/David Nolan and Red Riding Hood/Ruby. However, once she is rescued, she says she doesn't want to see Mr. Gold and Moe ever again.
Mr. Gold gives Belle the key to the Storybrooke Library and then explains everything from being a coward to Baelfire. He starts to go but Belle stops him, wanting to go with him for a hamburger at Grannies, to which he happily agrees.
Some time later, Archie is supposedly killed by Regina. Belle, along with the other townspeople, attend Archie's funeral where Mary Margaret gives a eulogy in remembrance of him. Afterwards, Belle meets up with Mr. Gold in which he happily tells her the potion for crossing the border works. She expresses wishes to go with him, but he regretfully says the potion is only enough for one person. She heads to the library later on to sort through books and notices a stranger standing in the corner and recognizes him as the man who broke into her cell in the Evil Queen's palace, Captain Hook. In a state of panic, she runs from him, but is unable to escape the building. Belle pushes a bookshelf, which topples and pins him to the floor as she scurries into the elevator. Pulling out her cellphone to call Mr. Gold, she is able to tell him about the man trying to kill her, but when she attempts to give more details, Mr. Gold is unable to hear her through the bad reception. Belle does not return to the library until Mr. Gold operates the switch to open the elevator shaft.
Reunited, they hurry back to the pawnshop together. On the way there, Belle demands to know Mr. Gold's history with Hook. Hesitantly, he finally tells her Hook stole his wife, Milah from him years ago. When she asks what happened to his wife, Mr. Gold can only say that she died. When Mr. Gold's cloak is stolen by William Smee, Mr. Gold wants to get back. He gives her a loaded gun to keep in case she needs to ever use it to protect herself. While Mr. Gold is away, Belle goes back into the library. There she finds a knot left behind from Hook, and searches through her books about it. Reading the books, she realizes the knot comes specifically from a ship.
Heading to the harbor, she looks up at the seagulls, and is surprised to see one of them land and stand on something invisible. Suspecting something is there but she can't see it, Belle takes a pinch of dust and throws it over, revealing stairs leading up to an invisible ship. She goes up the steps until she passes a barrier that leads her onto the ship's visible deck. Belle opens a door below deck, and discovers Archie tied up. She uses a sword to cut him free, and urges him to get back to town. Then, she proceeds to rummage around the shelves hoping to find Baelfire's cloak. In her distraction, she had put down the gun, and just then Hook makes himself known to her. She lunges for the gun, but Hook is faster. He threateningly points the gun at her forehead, and whilst they converse, he reveals to her a truth Mr. Gold did not tell her--that he killed Milah by ripping out her heart. Even knowing this, Belle still believes in Mr. Gold, and asserts that she knows he has changed and has good in him. She hits him with a rowing paddle, and runs away to above deck while taking the cloak with her.
Mr. Gold shows up to save Belle, and proceeds to beat Hook bloody with his cane. Belle pleads that they should leave, but Mr. Gold cannot contain his anger at Hook's presence. Finally, he stops when she reminds him of the hope she had in believing he changed, and that if he has, to walk away right now. They leave Hook's ship.
That night, Mr. Gold and Belle are at the town border. He uses the potion on himself, and steps to the other side of the border line while his memory stays intact. Belle is very pleased the potion will give him the opportunity to find his son. She promises to wait for him in Storybrooke. The heartfelt moment is interrupted when Belle is suddenly shot and pierced in the shoulder causing her to trip and fall over the border into Mr. Gold's arms, and thus loses her memories. Hook is then revealed to be the shooter, stating that now Gold knows how it feels to lose someone he loves. Mr. Gold yells her name in anguish, but she stares at him in confusion, asking, "Who is Belle?"
She is in a frantic and frightened state after she becomes amnesic. Mr. Gold is worried about her injuries, so he magically heals them. Belle is confused and asks him how he did it. An ambulance arrives at the scene and takes Belle to the hospital. While laying in the hospital bed, Mr. Gold tries to trigger her memory with true loves kiss. It is unsuccessful and Belle screams at Mr. Gold.
Later, Mr. Gold arrives at the hospital, with the chipped cup, which he magically charmed. He gives it to Belle in hopes that she remember her past from the Enchanted Forest. The plan does not work. Belle is confused and unsure when he mentions magic and tries giving the cup back to Mr. Gold, but he insists she try. Belle becomes angry and throws the cup, shattering it to pieces. She asks him to leave one final time, and Mr. Gold finally leaves her room in tears. For the time, Belle remains in the hospital until she gets a call from Mr. Gold who tells her that he knows she doesn't remember who she is, but that she was a beautiful woman who loved an ugly man, and adds that she creates goodness in people. Belle begins to tear up at his words, but he hangs up before she can respond. She is then visited by Regina who is displeased to hear Mr. Gold is going to help her. Thinking quickly, she bends down to pick up an item, and instead conjures a little red card of the town bar, The Rabbit Hole. and asks if it belongs to. Though Belle says no, Regina suggests she should take a better look at it. Belle glances down at the card, exclaims she remembers who she is. In reality, Regina gave her false memories to replace the memories she lost as Belle. With the false memories, she assumes a new personality and a new name, Lacey.
In the final episode of Season 2, Grumpy gives Mr. Gold some magic from the Blue Fairy to help restore Belle's memories. Mr. Gold restores the chipped cup and pours the magic into it. Belle drinks from the cup and her memories come back. After Henry Mills is kidnapped Mr. Gold decides to go rescue him and tells Belle look after Storybrooke while he is gone.
In Season 3, Belle had been appearing to Mr. Gold as a vision to guide him through Neverland but it is eventually revealed that she is actually Peter Pan's shadow in disguise. Back in Storybrooke, the real Belle has a difficult time accepting that Rumplestiltskin is gone. Then, with the help of the Dwarfs and the Blue Fairy. she casts a protection spell over the town. Sometime later, Belle meets Ariel. Belle questions Ariel as to why she has come to Storybrooke to which Ariel replies she came from Neverland on a mission for Mr. Gold. Belle is then shocked and relieved Mr. Gold is alive and Ariel tells Belle Mr. Gold needs him to save everyone.
The two head go to Mr. Gold's shop where Belle is able to use the Sand Dollar given to her by Ariel from Mr. Gold to find the item capable of defeating Pan. However after finding the item which has turned out to be Pandora's Box the are ambushed by John and Michael Darling now working for Pan and the two of them tie Ariel and Belle up and take the item to destroy it. In order to get out of the ropes Belle removes Ariel's bracelet which allows Ariel to wiggle free from the ropes and undo Belle's bindings. Ariel then puts the bracelet back on and go after John and Michael.
Belle and Ariel find Michael and John just before they destroy the box. Belle is able to stop them by activating a mine cart on the tracks, which throws Michael and John off their feet. Using time to her advantage, she grabs the box and kicks their gun away. John and Michael tell Ariel and Belle that Pan has Wendy hostage and if they don't do his bidding he will kill her. Ariel and Belle promise they will help save their sister. Ariel and Belle then go to the coast where she parts ways with Belle and returns to Neverland with Pandora's Box.
When Ariel returns to Storybrooke, Belle helps her reunite with Prince Eric. Mr. Gold and Belle also reunite, but it's only for a few days. Pan casts a curse to destroy Storybrooke and its residents, but Gold stops him and disappears. Regina then casts a spell to send everyone from the Enchanted Forest, including Belle, back to the world they came from.
In the Enchanted Forest, Belle and Baelfire return to the castle try to find a way to bring Rumplestiltskin back to life. They meet Lumiere in the library and he tells them they must use a key to open the Vault of the Dark One. When they reach the vault, Lumiere reveals that he has been working under Zelena the Wicked Witch of the West. Baelfire still decides to open the vault despite Belle's warning and his life is exchanged for Rumplestilskin's. A new curse is later cast and everyone in the Enchanted Forest, including Belle, returns to Storybrooke. After a long battle, Zelena is defeated and taken to jail. Belle tells Mr. Gold not to go after Zelena even though she was responsible for his son's death. However, Mr. Gold kills Zelena behind her back, then he and Belle get married.
In the mid-season final of Season 4 "Heroes and Villains", Belle learns that Gold chose power over love and so uses his dagger and a gauntlet to make him unfreeze Emma and Mary Margaret and give Hook his heart back. The two then go to the town line where Gold tries to apologize but Belle doesn't believe him and that he won't ever change and then uses the dagger to banish Gold from Storybrooke. Gold cries out for Belle as she cries over what she has done.
When Gold returns to Storybrooke he stops by the pawn shop and sees that Belle has gotten together with Will Scarlet. Later, to get the dagger back from Belle he takes Hook's appearance and tricks her into giving it to him. Soon Gold, as Hook, goes into the pawn shop and asks her if she is over Gold. She says no but says that Will makes her happy.
As Gold's condition worsens, being consumed by the Dark One's powers, Belle confesses to him that she does not love Will. The Apprentice removes the darkness from Gold's heart, though he remains in a comatose state whilst the darkness is taken in by Emma Swan.
With the other residents, Belle transports to the Enchanted Forest, taking Emma to Camelot in order to find Merlin and remove her darkness. However, weeks later, they return to Storybrooke with missing memories as to how they failed. During her time in Camelot she helped Merida win back her kingdom while helping the others stop King Arthur and the previous Dark Ones from taking over Storybrooke. After her memory is restored, Belle remained in Storybrooke but is unaware that Gold, who traveled with Emma to the Underworld to rescue Hook, has reclaimed the powers of the Dark One, and is unaware that she is pregnant with their first child, which is tied to a contract that Hades is using due to Rumplestiltskin having made a deal with a healer back in the Enchanted Forest in exchange for saving Baelfire. Unfortunately, after she is sent through a portal along with Zelena and her daughter, Belle learns the truth from Gold about his reacquired powers and her pregnancy as well as the contract, putting her life and that of their unborn child in jeopardy once again. Motivated by Hades, Gaston moves against Rumplestiltskin with plans to kill him, reuniting Belle with her ex-fiancé. After confronting Gold about his murder of Gaston decades earlier, Belle intends to help Gaston move on, only to learn that Gaston blames her for his death. In an attempt to rescue Rumplestiltskin, Belle inadvertently pushes Gaston into the River of Lost Souls. Consumed with guilt over what she did to Gaston, Belle places herself under a sleeping curse, believing it would give Gold time to protect their child from Hades. Before falling under, Belle makes Gold promise to return her to her father. It later turns out that Gold's kiss of True Love cannot break the spell; Belle had begun losing faith in him again.
Belle appears in the Disney Channel Original Movie, Descendants, where she serves as the mother of major character, Ben, and the ruler of an idyllic kingdom set in the present day, inhabited by various iconic Disney characters and their children. She is played by Keegan Connor Tracy.
Belle will appear in the upcoming 2017 remake, played by Emma Watson.
The New Adventures of Beauty and the Beast
This comic serial took place a few years before the events of the first film, with both stories being reprinted in Disney Princess Comics Treasury.
In the first issue, in a flashback during the first storyline "Bewitched", Belle briefly witnessed the Prince being unkind to an old lady, resulting in her asking her father whether men are all monsters. In the second storyline, "Bothered," she learns from Maurice that their pet pig, Pierre, was an essential component to a truffle harvester before he tells her to put her King Arthur book away so she can play outside with the other village children. Belle attempts to refuse, citing that she has more enjoyment imagining King Arthur's court, and also implied that she refuses to associate with any male and considers them pigs (revealing that Belle is in fact a women's libber as aforementioned). However, she slightly amended that statement when Maurice commented to Pierre that she considered them like each other. Ultimately, she did go out, resulting in her being reluctantly forced into becoming the "galley prisoner" by several boys playing pirates. She attempted to get out, only to find a bear (implied to actually be the Enchantress in disguise) snarling and about to attack her. She eventually was unintentionally rescued by Maurice with a test run with the Truffle Harvester. She later makes an appearance in the ending of the third storyline "Bewildered", as a reflection on the enchanted mirror.
In the second issue's first storyline, "Elsewhere", she and Maurice were on their way back from the fair (not being allowed to participate after one of Maurice's inventions ripped the dress of one of the judge's wives). She eventually got curious about a path and went down it despite her father's insistence that she not go down that path. She managed to find an owl, which Maurice attempted to capture for one of his new ideas, although it disappeared despite capturing it. They then fled after finding a wolf nearby (both the wolf and the owl were implied to be the Enchantress in disguise). In an act of foreshadowing, Belle noted she had a funny feeling she'll eventually go down that path.
Beauty and the Beast (Marvel Comics)
This comic serial took place during Belle's stay at Beast's castle, similar to the midquels above.
In the First Issue, while looking for the book Lost at Sea, she heard the Beast roaring (which nearly got an animated Ladder to drop her due to fright, also implying that this wasn't the first time Beast made a huge roar). Belle then spent her time reading the book until Chip and Mrs. Potts (after the former had to loudly interrupt her reading) informed her of Beast's rising temper and foul mood, which is nearly spoiling the planned surprise party for the Wardrobe. Belle then decided to tell Beast just what she thinks of him. After telling the Beast off, the latter admitted that he was in a foul mood because he had woken up from a dream about becoming handsome and discovering he was still ugly. Belle then assured him that it was the inside that counts, not the outside. Belle then offered to have Beast come down to aid with Wardrobe's surprise party, with Beast, after initially refusing, deciding to do so for Belle.
The second issue picks up right where the first issue left off. Belle tells him to be gracious, at least during the Wardrobe's surprise party when the Beast snaps for his dinner. During the actual dinner, however, Belle reacted with disgust when Beast ended up chowing down the meal like an animal. Some time later, Belle thanked Lumiere for the soup, and planned to have the rest of dinner by the fire, although after Beast snapped at her to stay at the table, she then sternly told Beast that she'll stay only if he eats with a utensil and not slurp the meal (which Beast did reluctantly). Belle then was horrified that Beast (who had second thoughts to attending the party anyways) demanded the party be cancelled when he learned the Wardrobe was not coming down, and instead suggested that she go upstairs and try to convince Wardrobe to come down as the servants worked very hard for it. Belle then learned the Wardrobe wouldn't come down because she was depressed as, being a wardrobe, she viewed herself as useless as she had plenty of dresses and no one to wear them. Belle then offered to try on one of the dresses, and then deliberately left behind the tiara to lure the wardrobe downstairs for the surprise party. She then watched the opera.
The third issue occurs the morning after the party, Belle proceeded to go for a walk on the grounds, alone, despite the servants suggestions that someone accompany her. While walking on the grounds, Belle accidentally bumped into the Beast (who had secretly gone outside in an attempt to walk with her at the servants' suggestion), which ended up spoiling the event with them getting into a severe argument. Eventually, they made up and decided to play with the leaves and snow. Aside from this, one of the Bimbettes, Laurette, disguised herself as Belle in a wife auction organized by Gaston, fully anticipating that Gaston would want Belle. She then pretended that she fully submitted to what Gaston wanted in a wife, but then her disguise was spoiled by her sisters (not realizing that "Belle" was actually Laurette). Although Gaston was initially upset at this outcome, he eventually forgave it and figured Belle may have simply not been aware of what happened.
The fourth issue picks up right where the third issue's Belle story left off. Lumiere planned to have Belle and Beast attend the Glorious Harvest Gala Festival, even writing invitations for them. However, although Belle got her invitation, Beast's invitation ended up blown into the fire and burned. She later learned of this when Chip opened the window enough for Lumiere and Cogsworth's loud blame game to pierce her reading in an attempt to warn her of what happened (with Belle assuming that Beast threw the letter into the fire). She then told off the Beast for burning the letter and implied that she misjudged Beast, although she eventually learned that the reason why Beast did so was because he couldn't read the letter even if he wanted to, having long forgotten how to do so. She then offered to teach him to do so, and then attended with him the Gala Festival, having supper and then offering to have her look at the stars.
The fifth issue has Belle teaching Beast how to read. However, the difficulty ended up frustrating Beast to a huge extent, causing them to have a huge argument and resulting in Belle storming off. Belle then mentioned the complexity of the Beast's dual nature, and commented that she wished that she was back at the village (then flashing back to the beginning of the film).
The sixth issue picks off where the fifth issue left off: Belle, after reading a book, comments it's great to have a library so she could go off on adventures, even if it is her imagination, and pities the Beast for keeping himself locked up in the castle and his mind, being too stubborn to let her teach him how to read. She then got a message from Lumiere from the Beast, although she eventually deduced that Lumiere actually composed the Beast's message for the Beast and not the Beast himself. She then thanked Beast for his thoughtfulness, but would appreciate it more if Beast himself actually wrote the poem. Beast was reluctant, since he wasn't a poet. Eventually, after Beast unconsciously began to do poetry, she then let Beast attempt to read when he requested it.
The seventh issue starts with a daydream by Belle about a time at the village where she helped Maurice fix up an egg-sorting contraption just as the latter was about to give up due to it failing and resulting in eggs splattering, citing her confidence in him. After successfully fixing it up, Maurice then notes that a dove was nearby, meaning that their lives will get better. She then is in her room, mentioning she misses him. Afterwards, she agrees to playing with Chip in the snow (as everyone else was too busy to do so with Chip). She then taught him how to build a snowman, and eventually decided with Chip to get holly bushels to help prepare for Christmas. Unfortunately, the blizzard unexpectedly gets worse, with Belle and Chip eventually getting lost in the forest and thus unable to return to the castle due to the severity of the storm.
The eighth issue picks up where the seventh issue left off. Belle, lost in the storm, offered to tell Chip a story about her past as a way to keep themselves awake and thus avoid freezing to death, although she eventually passes out. Luckily, the bushels managed to hit Beast as he was searching for her, resulting in him tracking down her location and saving her and Chip in time. She then learned Beast tended to her side and never moved, with her thanking him. Beast then thanked her for saving his life as she taught him that his life wasn't "meaningless" after all. In her flashback, Belle and Maurice, with their egg-sorting contraption, went out of the village to the fair. However, they eventually got themselves lost (due to the Bimbettes switching the sign to go the other way to deliberately get Belle off course). They just barely managed to get to the fair (after Maurice deduced they were actually supposed to go South, not North), and also won as a last-minute entry. She then returned to the village with Maurice, with Gaston greeting them (to the Bimbettes' chagrin).
In the ninth issue, because of guilt for almost never saving her and Chip, Beast had her stay in bed and make breakfast in bed for her. However, this eventually proved to be unnecessary due to Belle having fully recovered and came downstairs to thank Beast. Belle then offered to do something in return for Beast, with the servants planning to make a portrait of her. She changed her various outfits and eventually settled on a pink outfit thanks to a compliment Beast made earlier. However, during the painting process, she had a melancholic look that Beast and Chip noticed when the painting was unveiled (it is strongly implied her melancholy was due to homesickness, more specifically her missing her father).
In the tenth issue, occurring the next day, Belle ended up playing in the snow with Chip (as she had promised to play with him in the snow again after a day passed), although while gazing at the sky, she saw a dove and began to feel melancholic for her father again. She then had a snowball fight with Chip, accidentally striking Beast (who was on his way to converse with Belle to figure out how he can make her feel better after getting the hint from the portrait earlier that she was melancholic) on the muzzle with a snowball. She apologized to Beast, and after a comment from Chip about getting Hollies, inadvertently supplied Beast with the idea to decorate the castle with lots of holly to make her feel better. She then after dinner discovered Beast's decorations after Beast led her to them.
In the eleventh issue, set an unspecified time after the prior issue, Belle was reading with Beast in the library, when she discovered it was a bit chilly, and eventually discovered the cause was because the door was ajar. However, she then discovered that because of the earlier snowstorm, her favorite book was ruined. Her devastation was made even worse when Beast obliviously insulted her book in an attempt to make her feel better, leaving without a word while crying to herself, and also being unwilling to eat at dinner with the Beast. She also explained to the Wardrobe what the story was about, with the Wardrobe also explaining that before books there were storytellers, with Belle acknowledging that nothing can take it away from her.
In the twelfth issue, picking up where the prior issue left off, Belle expressed some uncertainty about the Beast, especially given his inconsistent nature, and is struggling to understand him. Later, Belle finds the Beast arriving at the library, and he attempts to tell her something. However, before the Beast could begin to explain, the Wardrobe (who decided to make an opera thanks to what Belle told her earlier) basically started an opera in the library, causing Beast to skulk off. Belle then pursued him and tried to find out what he wanted to tell her, and he revealed he had repaired her favorite book and apologized for the earlier comment.
In the thirteenth and final issue, Belle helped prepare a Cherry Pie for the dessert for a meal she and Beast were having, to thank him for repairing the book earlier. She later put it on the windowsill for it to cool off after it was done being baked. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to her, Sultan while jumping in and out of the window while forced outside by the servants ruined the dessert and proceeded to eat it up. Despite this and Beast and her learning the bad news, Beast was not the least bit upset, and in fact was touched that Belle even made him dessert in the first place. As a result, she and the Beast shared a moment near the fireplace, with the servants witnessing it.
Besides the main comic serial, the fifth issue for the anthology series Disney Comic Hits! had her as a child sledding alongside Gaston and the Bimbettes, suggesting that she had initially been friends with Gaston and the Bimbettes prior to the events of the first film, and that Belle may have moved to the village when she was very young (at least around Chip's age, according to her). She also ended up being given by Beast a sleigh ride as her Christmas present, with it being implied that Chip suggested the present to him.
Belle appeared in at least two stories for Disney Adventures magazine, both being in the Twelfth Volume:
In the first story, Time Flies! Belle informed an agitated Cogsworth that dinner was only a few hours away (as he was under the belief that dinner was actually supposed to happen by that point and the staff was late), and then discovered the cause behind the wrong time: Cogsworth's winder was stolen as a prank (revealed to be by Lumiere). This story was later reprinted in Disney Princess Comics Treasury.
In the second story, Sittin' Pretty!, Belle made an appearance in the ending of the comic, where she was amused at the servants' attempts to give Beast a makeover, noting he looked ridiculous, as well as adorable, catching Beast off-guard. Beast also went through the makeover because he was ranting about how Belle can love him when he looks hideous.
In the manga series, Kilala Princess, the main characters Kilala, Prince Rei and Princess Sylphy enter the world of "Beauty and the Beast" looking for magical gems to activate the Magic Tiara's power and awaken the princess within Kilala. When Belle first meets them, Kilala immediately asks to shake her hand. They become fast friends, and Belle asks the Beast to let them stay in the castle and work. Sylphy's egocentric attitude initially makes it unbearable for everyone, but it improves overtime. When Cogsworth accidentally loses the pocket watch that the Beast planned to give to Belle, Kilala and Rei go into town to find it. Though they manage to retrieve the watch, in a broken condition, the amber stored inside is stolen by Gaston.
The Beast remains unaware of this incident, and when it breaks in his hand, he bursts out angrily and hides in his room. In order to cheer him up, Kilala, Rei and Sylphy steal back the lost gem from Gaston. Kilala then tells him why he wanted to give Belle the watch in the first place, and that it doesn't matter if the gift is broken. Belle accepts the broken watch and gives the gem to Kilala as a token of gratitude, and turns into a gem of the Magic Tiara. She is last seen witnessing Kilala receive her own gem: an emerald.
Belle appears in Serena Valentino's novel "The Beast Within" with a much reduced role. She first appears at a ball thrown by the Prince, where he is drawn to her, but is discouraged to do so by Gaston, who mentions that she is the daughter of a crazy inventor and that all she talks about is books. Inspired by this, the Prince then goes to a prettier girl named Tulip, whom he decides to marry. Later, she appears in events that are canon to the film, however the wolves are sent by the sisters of the Enchantress, who desire to kill her so the Prince will remain a beast forever. However, in having the Beast save Belle, they inadvertently set into motion the events that lead to the Beast's redemption and his and Belle's happily ever after.
Disney Princess: Royal Weddings
In this book featuring the wedding between Belle and the Prince, Belle decided that, since the Prince had spent time unloved during the curse, she might as well do something to show the Prince is indeed loved. She then secretly invited the village to the wedding. During the actual wedding proper, she then received a book from the Prince during the ceremony so they could "write their future adventures together."
In this activity book, Belle ended up tossing the bouquet to the Bimbettes.
Belle is a character in the series, and plays a pivotal role as one of the Princesses of Heart.
In the first Kingdom Hearts game, Belle was captured by Maleficent's forces while she was living with the Beast, and was placed into an enchanted sleep alongside the other Princesses. Her heart was used to open the Final Keyhole, which would open the door to darkness itself, and briefly stolen as well. However, Belle's heart is later restored and is able to awaken, and finally reunites with the Beast. After Sora seals Kingdom Hearts, Belle and the Beast are able to return home.
An illusion of Belle also appeared in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, who acts cold towards the Beast in order to prevent Maleficent from stealing her heart. After the villain's defeat, she apologizes for deceiving the Beast, which the Beast forgives.
Her role is greatly expanded in the sequel Kingdom Hearts II. Xaldin had continued to play on the Beast's anger to plunge his heart into darkness. When Sora, Donald, and Goofy are able to calm the Beast, Belle tries to confront Xaldin, but is met with a Heartless attack. After the creature was defeated, the Beast apologizes to Belle, who accepts it but scolds him for not trusting her. She later goes on a date with the Beast until Xaldin interrupts the dance. After Xaldin leaves, the Beast finds himself in despair when he sees that Xaldin had taken his rose, and asks Belle to leave out of shame for his actions. Belle finds the rose on her balcony later on, but it is revealed to be a trap by Xaldin, who them kidnaps her and forces the Beast to choose between her and the rose to leave behind. Beast chooses Belle, but Belle suddenly fights back against the Organization member and takes back the rose. After Xaldin is defeated, Belle returns the rose to the Beast, who then asks her to stay with him in his castle, to which she happily accepts. The credits reveal that the Beast has transformed back into a human, apparently ending the Beauty and the Beast story arc in the series, although Belle's status as one of the Princesses of Heart may still tie her in to future Kingdom Hearts adventures.
Unlike the other Princesses featured in the game, Belle and her world play a minor role and acts as a mere mini-game. Belle and Lumière are featured in the world and asks the player to eliminate the game's enemies (Bogs) before Beast's finds out about their presence.
A Broadway musical adaptation of the film premiered on Broadway on April 18, 1994 at the Palace Theatre with Susan Egan as the original Belle. Since then many actresses including Deborah Gibson, Toni Braxton, Andrea McArdle, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Christy Carlson Romano and Ashley Brown have played the role on Broadway. The show closed on July 29, 2007 at the Lunt-Fountanne Theater with Anneliese van der Pol as the show's final Belle.
Overall, Belle's role was the same as in the film, although some differences included Belle politely refusing Gaston's hand in marriage instead of tricking him into falling into a mud pool, joining Lumiere and dancing along with the dishes and silverwares during the Be Our Guest musical number instead of just sitting at the dining table and merely observing the spectacle, and her being injured by the Beast when she entered the West Wing before fleeing instead of merely being scared off. Additionally, her role is expanded in the musical with songs "No Matter What" (cut in touring productions), "Home" and "A Change in Me".
Belle is also without Philippe in the stage version, instead knitting a "lucky" scarf for Maurice to wear during his trip to the fair. When Maurice is attacked by wolves before becoming prisoner within the Beast's castle, his scarf is lost in the woods, and eventually found by LeFou. When LeFou is spotted in town with the scarf, he reveals to Belle the whereabouts in which he found it, prompting her to search for her potentially endangered father.
When given the library, Belle also reveals "King Arthur" to be amongst her favorite stories.
Belle appears as a meetable character in the Disney theme parks.
Belle appears in the original version of World of Color in Disney California Adventure. She appears in the opening during the theme of the show shown ball dancing with Beast. She later appears starting the show's finale as she confesses her love for Beast and he transforms into a handsome prince.
Belle is also prominently featured in Disneyland's Paint the Night parade, as part of a Beauty and the Beast-themed float.
In the former show held at the Magic Kingdom, Storytime with Belle, Belle would tell her story to an audience, some of which were chosen to act as characters in the story. The show then became part of the attraction, Enchanted Tales with Belle. In the same park, she can be seen making daily appearances in the first float of the Festival of Fantasy Parade.
Belle has her own spell card in the attraction Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom known as "Belle's Mountain Blizzard".
In Beauty and the Beast: Live at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Belle appears and plays out her same role as in the film. In the same park, Belle can also be found in 'Fantasmic!, during the princess-themed medley.
Belle is featured towards the end of Once Upon a Time, where she and Beast share a dance before the latter is attacked by Gaston. After Gaston's death, Belle is present to witness the Beast's transformation into the a human.
Belle is featured on the Beauty and the Beast display in Voyage to the Crystal Grotto. A statue depicting Belle and Beast can also be found in the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel.
Significance and Legacy
Part of Belle's legacy is the fact that she brought a new dawn of more adventurous, heroic and independent heroines to the world of film, although Ariel brought a new personality trend to heroines. Belle's pioneering role in Beauty and the Beast introduced more heroic heroines to the Disney scene, specifically with Pocahontas in 1995 and Mulan in 1998.
Belle is sometimes used as an advocate for women's liberation and intelligence among women around the world. She is also used to encourage children in their love of reading and literature.
Belle's popularity and strong characterization led her to becoming a member of the Disney Princess franchise.
Belle received many changes in her late 2012 redesign.
Most striking of all is that her hair is much more wavy and curly in its appearance and is now more than twice its original length, all hanging down to her waist. While still parted in the middle at the front of her head, two locks of hair hang loose and frame the sides of her face. Some of her hair is swept back and pulled into a large sock bun instead of the previous fancy knot that was held in place by a gold hair clasp.
Her gown now possesses the same gold color from the film instead of the yellow color in the previous franchise, however, the bottom half is now decorated with glittery designs of roses.
The off-the-shoulder part of the dress is made of cream-colored organza and pinned in the front by three pearls of varying sizes. Her evening gloves match the color and material of the dress's shoulders.
There is a strong possibility that Belle's new appearance was very heavily based on Penélope Cruz's portrayal of her in Disney Dream Portrait Series; particularly with the waist length, curly and wavy hair.
In early redesigns, Belle's sleeves were covering her shoulders instead of revealing them.
Belle's Palace Pets are Teacup, Petit and Rouge.
Differences from the source material
While Belle keeps much of her original character continuity from the French fairy tale version by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, there are quite a few differences to be accounted for:
- "Beauty" or "Little Beauty" was just a nickname not her actual name. Her actual name is never mentioned.
- Beauty had (besides three brothers) two older sisters in the original story, who were described as wicked and selfish and because of their wealth pretended to be great ladies and only associated themselves with people of quality. They were all very physically beautiful but only Beauty, was lovely and pure on the inside. According to screenwriter Linda Woolverton, she had removed Belle's sisters as well as their love interests specifically to keep focus on Belle's strained relationship with Gaston (the latter of whom she referred to as a blockhead), as well as to avoid confusion with Drizella and Anastasia Tremaine from Cinderella. It should be noted that she did have the wicked sisters in the 1988 draft and the 1989 draft, while still not including Belle's sisters, did include a character named Marguerite, her aunt, who would have effectively served the same role as Belle's sisters.
- Unlike her sisters, whom liked to go to balls, public walks and plays, Beauty preferred to stay at home reading good books.
- She at one point lived in a mansion, her father being a wealthy merchant, before he lost all his fortune at sea. Then the family had to move and live in a small farmhouse. Early development in the film had originally intended to use this backstory (with it being implied that Belle's aunt arranged for her to marry Gaston, in that version a marquis as revenge to Maurice for losing his wealth at sea), but it ended up cut. The film implies that Belle and Maurice had moved to the village at some point after Belle's birth, although it was never made clear when they moved to the village other than it being long enough for Belle to have memorized the daily activities and schedule of the village by the time of the film's beginning, nor was it made clear the reasons behind their moving there.
- A rose is asked for by Beauty when her father learns that one of his ships had safely come in, since none grew around the farmhouse they were now living in.
- The Beast, received Beauty graciously and informed her that she was mistress of the castle, and that he was her servant. They would hold lengthy conversations and he would give her lavish clothing and every night ask her to marry him, but she would always decline.
- In the original story, her father sold her off to the Beast, due to her sisters refusing the Beast, while in the movie, Belle volunteered to be taken prisoner for Maurice's freedom, with Maurice being unwilling to let Belle make that sacrifice.
- While looking upon a mirror soon after her arrival, does Beauty see a vision of her father returning back home.
- While in the castle, Beauty would dream of a handsome prince asking her to marry him. Belle became convinced that the Beast was holding the prince captive somewhere in the castle. She looked but never found him.
- Apparent invisible servants are present in the castle.
- Beauty asks to see her family again and promises to return in 8 days time.
- The two sisters purposely ask Beauty to stay longer than her time agreement with the Beast, under the pretense of missing her and genuinely loving her, but in reality they just want to see Beauty end up likely devoured by the enraged Beast cause she had broken her word. In order to sell the act, they also used onions to fake tears.
- Beauty returns to the castle because she finds out that the Beast is dying from a broken heart in her much longer absence which was achieved by the Beast's instructions to place her ring on a table when she wanted to return.
- Beauty dreamt of a fairy who promised to grant her a wish because of her good heart.
- At the end of the story she and the Beast get married and the sisters are punished by the fairy in Beauty's dreams to become statues for the malice in their hearts, but are to return back to their present shape after they recognize their faults. Something similar occurs in the 1988 draft, although her sisters are instead turned into animals, alongside Belle's suitors.
- In the original tale, Beauty was explicitly labelled as blonde, while in the film, she was brunette.
- In the original tale, Beauty never had an issue with an unwanted suitor. This plot element was added in by Linda Woolverton largely as revenge towards her ex-husbands.
Parallels to the 1946 adaption
Though often uncredited and largely coincidental, Disney's Belle has many similarities to the 1946 character from the french film La Belle et la Bête. Contrary to popular belief, however, any similarities to the Jean Cocteau film are all completely coincidental, as the screenwriter of the Disney film, Linda Woolverton, has stated that she not only did not based the film on the Cocteau version, but she also avoided watching it specifically to ensure she doesn't use it as source material. A film adaption by Lopert Pictures seems to have also been a source of inspiration.
- The name "Belle" is similar to this version, as the original fairytale's character never had a name.
- The characterization and names of Belle's suitors were never mentioned in the original story, Avenant's character in particular bore some similarities to Gaston.
- The idea of the furniture being alive is similar to this version as there was no enchanted furniture in the Beaumont story.
- Much of Belle's attire is similar to the one from this story, including the style of her blue dress and the cloak she wears.
- The idea of Belle asking the beast to return home because the mirror shows her that her father is ill, has similarities to this film. In the original story she left because she simply missed him.
- Similar to this story, Belle also sacrifices herself for her family, albeit under differing circumstances: Belle directly sacrifices herself to the Beast as his prisoner in her father's stead in the Disney version, while in the Cocteau version, she simply snuck out on the Beast's steed, Magnificent, to go to the castle.
- Belle's name means "beauty" in French.
- Belle is the second Disney Princess to not be of royal descent, after Cinderella in 1950. She is also the second to start out not of royal descent, with Cinderella being the first, and Tiana being the third. Interestingly, all of the three Princesses by marriage wear opera gloves.
- Susan Egan, who voiced Megara in Hercules originated the role of Belle in Broadway's Beauty and the Beast.
- In the new Fantasyland, Belle's cottage shows a picture of her reading with her mother—a beautiful woman with wavy, light brown hair, blue eyes and wearing a pink dress. One wall in the cottage also has height marks up until her 18th birthday, suggesting she may be 18 years old during the films. Based on this painting, her mother, when she was still alive, probably looked exactly like Belle but with lighter hair, and blue eyes instead of hazel eyes.
- The New Fantasyland attraction also implied with the height wall that Belle may have been born in the village, which contradicted some sources, including a brief lyric in the opening song, that either stated or otherwise implied that Belle and her father had moved to the village some time prior to the events of the original film.
- The book Belle viewed as her favorite was also confirmed in the attraction to be Sleeping Beauty. It also revealed that, at least by the events of the movie, she had at least two copies of Sleeping Beauty: The one her mom read to her when she was a child (thus explaining why it was her favorite, as well as why she loved reading), and the other being the book she got from the bookstore during the opening song.
- In addition, James Baxter, Belle's supervising animator, mentioned that Belle was "a few years older than Ariel," implying that Belle was at least 18 years old.
- Before Paige O'Hara got the role of Belle, the producers first considered Jodi Benson, whom was best known as the voice of Ariel, to voice Belle. Benson however did voiced Belle in Disney's House of Mouse.
- In Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World, Belle tells the Beast the Cinderella fairy tale during the first segment.
- In the beginning to the original 1989 storyline, found on the Diamond Edition DVD, Belle's birthday is celebrated and on the cake it says "Happy 17th Birthday Belle", providing evidence that she is 17 in the movie, or at least that she was originally planned to be 17.
- Belle was nominated for AFI's 100 Year...100 Hero and Villain list, one of the three animated heroes and one of three Disney animated heroes, along with Peter Pan, Mary Poppins and Buzz Lightyear. Unfortunately, none of them made the cut.
- Belle's eyes were originally going to be colored gray.
- A costume of Belle, as well as the rest of the Disney Princesses (excluding Mulan and Pocahontas), has been released on the video game Little Big Planet 2 as downloadable content from the PlayStation Store.
- One poster for the film for some reason showed Belle in a pink-and-purple dress resembling Rapunzel's.
- In the series Gargoyles, Elisa Maza dresses up as Belle in the seventh episode of season 2, and shares a relationship with Goliath similar to Belle's relationship with the Beast. However, Goliath is a beast turned into a human, unlike the Beast, whose circumstance is the polar opposite.
- Paige O'Hara, the first voice actor for Belle, does fan artwork of Belle on her official website and sells the artwork.
- The books Belle has read are Jack and the Beanstalk, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet (the last of which is only in "Human Again" on the Special Edition). She was also shown to have read the tale of Cinderella in Belle's Magical World. In the musical, she has also read King Arthur.
- In The Enchanted Christmas, the book that Belle wrote and wrapped together was the original tale for Beauty and the Beast.
- Contrary to popular belief, it is not made clear whether Belle was actually born a peasant, as she implies that she was not born in her home village in the opening song, but rather moved there. In addition, her owning books at her cottage implied that she is, or at least was, considerably wealthy (as back in the time period of the film, books were considerably expensive).
- In the musical, specifically the song "No Matter What" one of the lyrics had Maurice stating "You are your mother's daughter; therefore you are class. ... creme de la creme", implying that Belle was part of the social upper class. This was also supported by Belle having a portrait of her and her mom in the Enchanted Tales of Belle attraction.
- Belle originally had a younger sister named Clarice as well as an aunt named Marguerite, the latter of whom acted as a secondary antagonist.
- Belle being carried by the Prince near the end of the film is a reference to the poster of It's a Wonderful Life where George Bailey holds his wife after Clarence shows him what the world would be like if he was never born.
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