Gaston (his name meaning "from Gascony" in French, which is a real life area of France and possibly where the film takes place) is the main antagonist of Beauty and the Beast. He is voiced by Richard White. His original last name, LeGume, is a pun on his "peabrained" intelligence.
Personality and abilities
Gaston is strong and handsome, and is all too aware of this. He is hailed as a local hero and "the greatest hunter in the whole world", desired by many of the young women of his village (he is even described as "cute, dreamy and handsome" by the Bimbettes in the first opening number), but he is boorish, uncultured and egotistical (the townsfolk don't seem to notice or care, however). Given his narcissistic nature, he loves to boast about this at every opportunity, especially when the villagers begin singing a song about him to cheer him up after Belle's rejection of him. He was also arrogant, displayed by his conceited proposal to Belle and his belief that he could take down the Beast without aid and his boasting about his strength. The latter, however, could be seen as entirely justified. He also suffers from obsessive love, as described below.
When it comes to women, he is extremely vain and rude, demonstrated by his interest in Belle being solely physical rather than emotional. As a result all his attempts to spend time with Belle end in disaster due to his sexist and chauvinistic behavior. This chauvinism also makes him believe that women are only good for being (unintelligent) housewives and mothers (especially of handsome sons in the latter), something that Belle is disgusted at becoming because she views him as boorish and musclebrained. On the matter of having children with his chosen bride, he doesn't seem to acknowledge the possibility of having daughters with Belle despite claiming to like Belle for her good looks, as he tells her that they will have "six or seven strapping boys" like himself as soon as she marries him. His chauvinistic attitude even leads him to condescendingly refer to Belle as his "little wife", and this sexist attitude ultimately leads to him being rejected by Belle and kicked out of her house. ("Little" can also refer to Belle's height, as she is much shorter than Gaston.) At one point, he mentions to Monsieur D'Arque that he's "got [his] heart set on marrying Belle", meaning that he may actually be in love with her and not merely lusting after her. (However, he was actually perceiving women in a way that was true to the time period of the movie, as women were expected to raise families and be subservient to men at that time, not read or go to school, due to clear misinterpretation of the scriptures in the Bible).
At the start of the film, Gaston did not seem truly evil, but simply conceited, chauvinistic, boorish and rude (he even felt it was not right for women to read or go to school, as he desires a woman to be brainless so she can easily obey a man's orders without objection; he also views Belle and all women of his village as "he-man's property", as confirmed in his song in the musical). However, Gaston's lust for Belle, combined with her rejection of him harming his narcissistic self-image, ultimately caused him to evolve into a sadistic, murderous monster. This develops throughout the film as he devolves into a cruel, violent, and insane individual. This is first shown when he formulates a plan to blackmail Belle into marrying him by bribing Monsieur D'Arque, the owner of the local madhouse, to lock Maurice up. When this fails, Gaston again uses his intelligence to instill fear into the villagers by fueling their paranoia about the Beast's "monstrous" nature, and easily gathers a lynch mob to attack Beast's castle and leave none alive. In the ending, his cruel nature is the very foil to Beast himself; by killing a true monster like Gaston, Beast is no better, and his act to spare him was Beast's humanity to what Gaston lacks almost any form of.
As noted above, he was shown to possess a tremendous amount of physical strength, evidenced by his effortlessly lifting up a bench with three females (the Bimbettes) on it, as well as hold it up with only one hand, and later his effortlessly ripping off an ornament from the castle to use as a makeshift club during his battle with the Beast.
Gaston is the local hero of a small French village at an unknown point in French history. He owns a large tavern where he and the villagers drink and talk. Inside, there is a large portrait of him along with "trophies" from his hunt consisting mostly of animal antlers. He starts off in the film pursuing Belle throughout the village as she borrows a book from the local bookstore. Their meeting starts off well, but Gaston's remarks about women reading and thinking drive Belle away from him, and she goes home, leaving him disappointed. The next day, however, Gaston organizes a wedding outside Belle's cottage in an attempt to "surprise" her, complete with modern-era decorations and wedding cake. He forces his way into the cottage and attempts to strong-arm her into marrying him, again making sexist remarks about women and housewifery (he even envisions the home they would live in as a "rustic" hunting lodge, with his latest kill roasting over the fire and Belle massaging his feet while their children—six or seven boys—play on the floor with their dogs). While he attempts to corner Belle, she manages to open the door that he has pinned her against. This causes him to lose his balance and fly headfirst into a large mud puddle in front of Belle's cottage. Furious and humiliated, Gaston storms off but not before vowing to make Belle his wife regardless of her refusals.
Later, during the winter, the villagers in the tavern, along with LeFou, sing a song about Gaston's greatness to cheer him up after being rejected by Belle. Maurice suddenly interrupts and warns the villagers about a monstrous beast who has locked up Belle as a prisoner in the tower of his castle. Thinking he is talking nonsense, the villagers throw him out of the tavern, but Gaston realises that he can use Maurice's outrageous claim to his advantage. In a surprising display of animalistic cunning, he bribes the owner of the local asylum, Monsieur D'Arque, to threaten to throw Maurice into the asylum in order to pressure Belle into marrying him. While D'Arque realises that even Maurice's nonsense about a beast and his odd inventions do not make him insane or dangerous, he is willing to accept the bribe. Considering the management of asylums of the 18th century (the time that the film takes place), this is an extremely harsh threat. However, just before Gaston and LeFou barge into Belle and Maurice's cottage, Maurice left for the castle on his own. LeFou is ordered to stay there and wait for their return.
When Belle and Maurice eventually return to the cottage, LeFou immediately informs Gaston, and he sets his plan into motion. With the villagers gathered outside the house, D'Arque has his men drag Maurice towards their carriage, while Gaston makes Belle his offer - he will clear up the "misunderstanding" if she marries him. Horrified and disgusted, Belle refuses, and Gaston allows Maurice to be dragged away. Belle, however, manages to prove her father's apparently insane claims about a beast inhabiting a huge castle in the woods to be true by using a magic mirror that the Beast had given her. Gaston grows even more frustrated after his plan fails and shocked that Maurice was indeed telling the truth but becomes increasingly jealous when Belle begins referring to the Beast as "kind and gentle," realising that she prefers a "monster" over himself. When he refers to the Beast with this insult, Belle angrily retorts back that he is the real monster which makes him snap.
In his jealousy and pride, Gaston snatches the mirror from Belle and successfully convinces the villagers that the Beast is a threat to the village and therefore must be brought down immediately. Locking Belle and Maurice in the basement to keep them from warning the Beast, Gaston leads a lynch mob to attack the Beast's castle and leave no one alive. Gaston bypasses the ensuing battle between the rioters and castle servants and confronts the Beast alone. He fires an arrow into him, tosses him out of a window onto a lower section of the roof and taunts him. When Beast doesn't respond, having lost his will to live since Belle's departure (to rescue her lost father, who was searching for her), Gaston uses a makeshift club to try kill the Beast. The Beast, however, regains his strength when he sees Belle return (she had escaped from the basement) and viciously fights back.
Though roughly even with his adversary, Gaston soon learns that he cannot rely on brute strength alone to kill the Beast, and instead begins taunting him in order to infuriate him enough to let his guard down, pushing the final button by claiming that Belle can never love a monster. The plan works but immediately backfires: the Beast lunges forth, snapping viciously at him, and then holds the terrified hunter at his mercy by holding him above a chasm by the throat. With his life at stake, Gaston abandons his pride and pathetically begs for his life, and the Beast accepts, ordering Gaston to leave immediately and never return. In spite of this, when Gaston sees the Beast embracing Belle, his great hatred and jealousy arises again, which leads to his ultimate downfall. Determined to kill his rival once and for all, Gaston stabs Beast in the side with a knife while dangling precariously from the balcony. The Beast swings his arm backwards in pain, causing Gaston to lose his balance and plunge into the deep chasm.
Gaston plays a key role in one of the comics produced by Marvel Comics in 1994, three years after the release of the film. In the story "Has Gaston Finally Won Belle's Hand at Last?", he is holding an auction for his perfect wife. Naturally, he is looking for Belle, and she seemingly comes to him having forgone reading and intelligence for being Gaston's "little wife". It is actually one of the Bimbettes in a clever disguise.
Gaston's role and personality in the musical based on the film is pretty much the same—a pompous, sexist, egotistical and misogynistic jerk who loves only himself. His ultimate goal is the same too—marry the prettiest girl in town and make her his "little wife". Instead of ignoring the Bimbettes like in the film, he pays more attention to them but still wants Belle as his wife, making them very upset. During the proposal scene (where there's no wedding party outside unlike the movie), Gaston gives Belle a miniature portrait of himself as a present. In addition to the song Gaston, the song Me is performed by him (in which he conceitedly proposes to Belle). The song is of interest because one verse implies that his feelings for Belle are more than for her looks (he even calls her 'pumpkin' as an endearing appellative), but he never says it outright to her. Like in the movie, he dies after falling off the roof of the Beast's castle, but not before fatally wounding him after arrogantly lying that Belle sent him to the castle to kill him.
Notable actors who have played the role on Broadway include Burke Moses (who originated the role on Broadway and in the original London production), Marc Kudisch, Christopher Sieber, Cody Carlton, and Donny Osmond. Other actors include Steve Condie.
Sing Me a Story with Belle
Gaston made sporadic appearances in Sing Me a Story with Belle, mostly acting as a comedic foil to Belle. Once again, he is trying to convince Belle to marry him.
Despite his death in the movie, Gaston gained a recurring role on House of Mouse as a guest character, once again voiced by Richard White. His most notable appearance, in the episode "Daisy's Debut," had a running gag in which he frequently injected himself into other people's conversations to say that "no one [verbs] like Gaston!" This gag would later go through the entire series and would become a memorable catchphrase for Gaston. A notable example is when Daisy compliments Ariel's singing voice. He walks by and says, "No one sings like Gaston!" Gaston was one of the many villains to join the takeover in Mickey's House of Villains.
Gaston is featured in the ABC series played by Sage Brocklebank. Here, he was engaged to Belle through an arranged marriage, but just like the film, she did not love him because she found him "shallow." Unlike his Disney counterpart he appears to be more noble and focused, as shown when he expressed concern for Belle's agreement to go with Rumpelstiltskin. He attempted to reclaim her from Rumpelstilskin, but was transformed into a rose and given as a gift to Belle.
Walt Disney WorldGaston appears in Walt Disney World in the live stage show Beauty and the Beast: Live! at Disney's Hollywood Studios. During Halloween, he is a part of Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom.
He is also seen walking around in the parks, such as walking down the International Gateway. Depending on which Cast Member is portraying him in the parks, his sexism towards women and his opinion on reading and thinking varies, but he is very popular with female guests and is much nicer to young girls, as he even gives them hugs.
Gaston has his own restaurant, Gaston's Tavern, in the Beauty and the Beast area of the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland. He can now be found there for meet-and-greets daily. Before then, his park appearances were mostly confined to parades, shows and special events.
At Disneyland Paris, Gaston can be found for meet-and-greets in Fantasyland.
- "How can you read this? There's no pictures."
- "Here, picture this: A rustic hunting lodge, my latest kill roasting on the fire, and my little wife massaging my feet, while the little ones play on the floor with the dogs." (it is to note that he only describes this in the movie and musical play, it is never envisioned)
- "That girl has tangled with the wrong man!"
- "No one says 'NO' to Gaston!"
- "Dismissed! Rejected! Publicly humiliated! Why it's more than I can bare!"
- "As a specimen, yes I'm intimidating!"
- "And every last inch of me is covered with hair."
- "When I was a lad I ate four dozen eggs every morning to help me get large. And now that I'm grown I eat five dozen eggs, so I'm roughly the size of a barge!"
- "No one has great ideas like Gaston!
- "No one sings like Gaston!"
- "No one eats candied apples like Gaston!"
- "Hmm I might be able to clear up this little misunderstanding if, if you marry me."
- "One little word Belle, that's all it takes."
- "Have it your way!"
- "If I didn't know better I'd think you had feelings for this monster."
- "I say we rid the village of this beast! Who's with me!?"
- "If you're not with us you're against us, bring the old man."
- "Take whatever booty you can find. But remember the Beast is mine!"
- "What's the matter, Beast? Too 'kind and gentle' to fight back?"
- "Let me go! Let me go! Please don't hurt me, I'll do anything. Anything!
- "Well, it looks like Gaston hasn't visited here yet. I don't see any antlers at all." (Belle about Gaston in "Kinect Disneyland Adventures")
- "I've got my heart set on marrying Belle but she needs a little...persuasion"
- "Everyone knows her father's a lunatic. He was in here tonight raving about a beast in a castle"
- "The point is Belle would do anything to prevent him from getting locked up."
- On an interesting note, most of Gaston's actions were edited out of the final cut of the film: during his battle with the Beast, Gaston was originally intended to shout "Time to die!", but it was changed to "Belle is MINE!"(but his lips still mouth Time to die!) in order to edit violence and get the main point of his rage straight.
- Moments prior to his plunge from the castle to his unseen death, Gaston was supposed to stab the Beast in the back, and later in the leg, but the second injury was cut from the final script to edit violence; it was also originally intended for Gaston to commit suicide after stabbing the Beast in the back and laugh madly as he fell from the tower, believing that if he could not win Belle, nobody else would (which might explain why Gaston chose such a dangerous position to stab the Beast from behind, despite knowing that he would never win Belle's heart). However, this was edited out due to the dark nature of the scene. A similar edit would later occur with Zira, although in her case, they still left some hints that she committed suicide.
- In the early concept art (revealed on the diamond edition of BatB) Gaston was a wealthy marquess. In the final version, he is a hunter, but it is implied in one scene that he is still wealthy.
- In one of the earliest scripts, Gaston's death would have been different, as the battle against Beast would have taken place in the forest. In this early version of the script, Gaston would wound Beast and prepared kill him with his blunderbuss, when Belle strikes him from behind with a rock. This would have prompted him to fall off a cliff and breaking one of his legs. Upon trying to stand up, he notices that the wolves who attacked Maurice and Belle earlier are looking at him, and attacked him. This idea was scraped because the writers thought that it was too gruesome and horrible (even for someone like Gaston), although this idea was later used in The Lion King, more specifically in the sequence of Scar's death at the hands (or rather, jaws) of the hyenas.
- Ironically, the above mentioned scene of Scar's death (as the final version of the ending) was chosen for the exact same reason why Gaston's original death was cut: The original ending was deemed to be too graphic for a Disney film.
- Despite his death, Gaston has recently been enjoying a considerable degree of fan popularity on the internet, with the character himself becoming a minor internet meme. In recent months, for example he has shown an obsession with Taco Bell, and has been the subject of Chuck Norris-style jokes.
- Gaston even appeared in the fanmade Youtube parody The Frollo Show as the series' deurotagonist. He is most likely known to be Frollo's best friend in the series since both are French.
- In addition, he was ranked 11th in a poll by UltimateDisney.com on the top 30 Disney villains of all time
- Spike.com ranked him the #9 spot in their "The Top 10 Hollywood "Villains" Who Got Totally Screwed" below Rambo villain Will Teasle.
- Gaston is the youngest Disney villain to date, apparently being in his mid-20s at the oldest.
- Gaston is based on the Avenant character from the 1946 Beauty and the Beast film, played by Jean Marais. A character named Avenant was originally intended to serve as the villain of a proposed sequel to the Disney film, as Gaston's younger brother, but the idea was scrapped. Unlike the Avenant character from the 1946 film, Gaston doesn't outright confess to Belle that he loves her, which leads to his demise.
- Richard White stated in an interview that while he himself doesn't know whether Gaston survived, he does mention that the viewers never saw the body, implying that he might have survived. However, the 2002 DVD commentary confirmed his death, and mentioned that the skull and crossbones seen in his pupils as he falls, which were either speculated to be some sort of demonic subliminal message or that he had seen death himself, were intended to confirm his death.
- The amount of arrows in Gaston's pouch often changes from three to two and sometimes even four.
- The horse that Gaston rides to Beast's Castle is actually the horse from The Headless Horseman, the main antagonist from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the second half of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
- In the movie's continuity, Gaston is the first Disney character of the Disney Renaissance era to have negative attitudes and opinions towards females, the second is Chi-Fu from Mulan.
- Interestingly enough, as mentioned in one of the above Trivias, Disney made absolutely certain to remove to skull and cross bones from Gaston's pupils as he fell to his death in the theatrical and VHS version, yet made no attempt to do so in the later releases on DVD and Blu-ray.
- On the 2011 Cartoon Voices Comic Con, Bill Farmer said that he had done Gaston, during Gaston's song in the bar. Bill did the sound of Gaston eating the eggs.
- Gaston is the first villain to have an obsessive crush on the female lead, Belle. Although in Aladdin, Jafar was a bit affectionate with Jasmine in the scene where she kissed him. Claude Frollo was the second villain to have an obsessive crush on the female protagonist, Esmeralda. Flynn Ryder, however, is the only protagonist to have a crush on the female lead and marry her.
- Notably, Gaston is the only main antagonist who did not appear in the Kingdom Hearts series despite his homeworld, Beast's Castle, appearing in Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. As Beast is shown to have transformed back into Prince Adam during the credits of Kingdom Hearts II, it is possible that Gaston's fight against the Beast and subsequent death occurred while Sora, Donald, and Goofy were absent from the world.
- Xaldin (An antagonist from Organization XIII and the nobody of Dilan) played the role as the antagonist of Beast's Castle in Kingdom Hearts II in substitute to Gaston (despite the fact that it isn't his home world). Although, his intentions were entirely different to Gaston's (being closer to that of Forte, in fact) as Xaldin used the Rose and the Beast's anger to create a Heartless and a Nobody of the Beast to serve Xaldin and only ever used Belle to further pursue his intentions of manipulating the prince by using Belle as bait.
- Gaston also does not appear in Kinect Disneyland Adventures, although he is mentioned by Belle explaining that he hasn't been to Disneyland yet, probably due to the fact that there were no antlers.
- In the book Disney Villains: The Essential Guide, Gaston didn't even appear until the very last page, where's he actually shown complaining about why he didn't even appear in that book!
- It is implied in the trailer that Gaston may have been aware of the Beast's curse, and had ulterior motives besides wanting Belle for his wife for attempting to kill the Beast, as the trailer described him as being "one man who wants to keep the spell alive," although it is unconfirmed whether this was the case in the film itself.
- Gaston is very similar to Wallace and Gromit villain Victor Quartermaine. Both are hunters, both have a crush on the female protagonist (Gaston, Belle and Victor, Lady Tottington), both want to marry them for a different reason (Gaston, because of Belle's beauty and Quartermaine for Tottington's wealth) but the female protagonist actually loves the male protagonist who is actually an animal (Belle loves The Beast and Tottington loves The Were Rabbit who is actually Wallace) but both have a different defeat. Gaston falls off the beast's castle and drowns whilst Quartermaine is chased out of town. However Gaston is more jealous than Quartermaine and even goes as far to bribe someone to help him whilst Quartermaine bribed no one.
- Gaston is very similar to Jim from Edward Scissorhands. They are both in love with the female protagonist, do not appear evil at the start but reveal their violent selves towards the end and also they both share the same fate (falling) however they both fall differently. Edward stabs Jim causing him to lose his balance and fall out the window and Gaston stabs the Beast who swings him arm in pain causing Gaston to lose his balance and then ultimately fall.
- Gaston is also similar to Ronno from Bambi. Both are ex-boyfriends, they are both in love with the female protagonist (Gaston, Belle, Ronno, Faline), both want to marry them for a different reason (Gaston, because of Belle's beauty and Faline for Bambi) but the female protagonist actually loves the male protagonist who is actually an animal (Belle loves The Beast and Faline loves Bambi) but both have a different defeat. Gaston falls off the beast's castle to his death and Ronno falls down a cliff and walks away.
- Gaston's proposal outfit, consisting of a red tailcoat trimmed with gold fabric, a waistcoat, breeches and even black boots, implied that the events of the film occurred sometime in the late-17th to mid-18th century. However, Belle's cameo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (which took place in the mid-to-late-15th century) renders this date questionable.
- Gaston, in a sense, is essentially the complete opposite of the Beast. While the Beast is an ugly monster based on his appearance, but is actually kind-hearted and actually cares for Belle, and becomes the main hero of his first film; Gaston, on the other hand, while being superficially handsome on the outside, is actually arrogant, rude, misogynistic and mean-spirited, and only wanted to marry Belle based purely on her beauty, and becomes the main villain of the first film. In fact, Gaston is even a brief glimpse of the type of person the Beast would have become had he become too obsessed with turning human again instead of doing what's right for Belle. This is one of those very rare reversal of character roles. One of the filmmakers even described Gaston as having "the heart of a pig" due to his sloven behavior during his proposal to Belle.
- Gaston is very similar to two Non Disney Animal villains Drake and Steele. All are vain, muscular and arrogant and believe themselves to be the best, all are hailed as a hero at first and adored by many females except the female protagonist, all want the female because of their beauty (Gaston, Belle, Drake, Marina and Steele, Jenna) and all want to get rid of the male protagonist to make sure they get the girl (Gaston, The Beast, Drake, Hubie and Steele, Balto). However unlike Gaston and Drake Steele did not die. Instead he was left an outcast whilst Balto was hailed as a hero and unlike them Steele did not bribe anyone or resort to violence or kidnapping. Also whilst Gaston and Steele revealed their evil later on Drake was a villain pretty much all the way through the film. Also unlike Steele and Drake who bullied the protagonist Gaston did not bully the Beast since Belle was not in love with him or did not know of him at the time and neither did Gaston.
- Gaston has blue eyes the same eye colour as his rival. So far in Disney history this is the only time the villain has had any physical features (i.e eye colour, hair colour etc) as a protagonist.
- For more pictures and screenshots of Gaston (Beauty and the Beast), click here.
Notes and references
Characters: Kilala Reno | Rei | Snow White | Doc | Grumpy | Happy | Sneezy | Bashful | Sleepy | Dopey | The Evil Queen | Cinderella | Lady Tremaine | Anastasia Tremaine | Drizella Tremaine | Aurora | Maleficent | Ariel | Flounder | Sebastian | Ursula | Belle | Gaston | Jasmine | Aladdin | Jafar | Iago | Tippe | Erika | Sylphy | Kilala's Parents | Valdou