- “The head of the castle kitchens transformed into a teapot, Mrs. Potts takes a motherly attitude towards Belle.”
- ―Diamond Edition Website
Mrs. Potts is a supporting character in Disney's 1991 animated feature film, Beauty and the Beast. She is the castle's head housekeeper and was transformed into an enchanted teapot once the Enchantress placed her curse.
Mrs. Potts was the head housekeeper of a spoiled prince's castle, and the mother of several children, the most notable being Chip, who is found by her side at almost every instant. When the prince encounters and insults a powerful enchantress, Mrs. Potts is transformed into a sentient object, a teacup, along with the rest of her colleagues, while the Prince is transformed into a monstrous beast.
Intelligent, level-headed, and self-righteous, Mrs. Potts is perhaps the most reliant member of the Beast's staff. Being a mother, she can be very gentle and nurturing, while also being stern and no-nonsense. Unlike Lumière and Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts lacks troublesome quirks and acts as the voice of reason amongst her colleagues. Though she fears his violent outbursts, Mrs. Potts' stern attitude also has a strong effect on the Beast, who appears to respect his head housekeeper the most out of all his servants—he has even been shown to occasionally snap out of his violent tantrums when she confronts him on his behavior. Furthermore, Mrs. Potts apparently fears the Beast the least, as she won't hesitate to disobey one of his strict orders if it means caring for someone in need, such as Belle; another example of her nurturing nature and selflessness.
As mentioned above, Mrs. Potts is very gentle, and often times, soft-spoken. With great patience, she treats the notion of "falling in love" as an extremely delicate and sensitive matter, unlike Lumière, who initially believed Belle and Beast could fall in love and break the spell in a mere few hours. Though the wilting of the rose was dire and unabating, Mrs. Potts saw it crucial that the relationship between Belle and Beast was given proper development, specifically in terms of getting the latter to obtain a greater control of his temper by establishing himself as a gentleman, despite his roughish appearance. She was also highly sympathetic towards Belle; while Cogsworth was initially peeved by her reluctance to join the Beast for dinner (despite his rather ill attempt to ask politely), Mrs. Potts openly turned her frustration towards the Beast's explosive temper, feeling it was unfair to expect Belle to cooperate when the Beast allows his aggression to control his actions, on top of the fact that she had lost her father and freedom merely moments prior.
Mrs. Potts first appears after the curse has been put upon her and the castle servants. She first appears on her tea wagon with Chip to serve tea to the sick and weak Maurice who was stranded in the woods. While she and the other Objects are comforting Maurice over Cogsworth's objections, the master of the castle the Beast viciously storms in and takes Maurice to the dungeon. She is the first of the Objects to greet Belle after she makes her sacrifice. She comforts Belle and assures her every thing will turn out fine. She is the first to be bold against the Beast and with Lumière tries to help him look like a gentleman which proves to be difficult.
Eventually, Belle easies up to the Beast and the grow a strong friendship. This friendship leads to love but is interrupted when Belle finds that her father is lost in the woods trying to return to the castle alone to rescue Belle. The Beast astonishes Belle by releasing her from their bargain and she hurries to her father. Although Mrs. Potts realizes that the Beast has proven he has learned to love (thus fulfilling his part of the requirement needed to break the spell, she fears that unless Belle can show she loves him in return, it will never be broken.
When an angry mob attacks the castle, she goes to alert the Beast, yet in his heartbreak, he resigns himself to their invasion despite her pleas for help. With their Master in repose, the Enchanted Objects step up and come to the defense of the castle, with Mrs. Potts and her children pouring hot tea on one of the villagers.
Soon after, she witnesses the Beast's death in Belle's arms, after he was fatally stabbed by Belle's enemy, Gaston. She sheds tears over her master's demise as well as the fact that the spell seems to now be permanent, as she, Lumière and Cogsworth witness the last rose petal fall, just as Belle tearfully proclaims her love. That is when the Beast miraculously revives as a human and she regains her true form along with the other servants. Afterwards, as she and Chip watch Belle and the Prince dance, she assures her son that they will live happily ever after, and laughs with Maurice when Chip asks if he still has to sleep in the cupboard.
After the events of the film, and the abolishment of the curse, Belle and the prince hold a Christmas party at the castle. In during which, the prince's former disdain towards Christmas was mentioned, but the journey to his change of heart seemed to have been forgotten. This leads Mrs. Potts to narrate the story of the time when Belle finally broke the prince's hatred for Christmas.
During Belle's captivity in the castle, she spent the holiday season getting the Beast in a good mood. On one particular day, Mrs. Potts and the others gather to form another plan to strengthen the bond between Belle and the master, and in during which, she nearly mentions Christmas, only to have her mind distracted from the holiday by Mrs. Potts and others (as the holiday is the Beast's most hated day, as it marks the anniversary of the day the curse was put upon him and the castle inhabitants). Eventually, both Mrs. Potts and Lumière decide to rebel against the Beast and celebrate Christmas anyway. With the support of the other servants of the household, the holiday is secretly put into effect. By the end of the film, after overcoming various trials and tribulations, most of which threaten the very relationship between Belle and the Beast, the latter becomes joyful with Christmas and peace to the holiday is restored.
In the short "The Perfect Word", Mrs. Potts was the first to know about Webster, Crane and Le Plume's plan to write a fake apology letter to Belle. When Belle gets the letter, Mrs. Potts claims she doesn't know who the letter is from. After Belle and Beast make amends, Mrs. Potts is seen hearing the story Belle is reading to the Beast. When Cogsworth tells Beast about the apology letter Mrs. Potts sees Webster, Crane, and Le Plume flee and goes after them. When she find them, she tells them that she knew of their plan and suggests that they confess what they did to the Beast.
She is later seen with Belle looking for the three in the library telling them that Mrs. Potts know they are in the Library. She's later seen in the kitchen feeling guilty about Webster, Crane, Le Plume's banishment from the castle knowing they can survive in the woods. Mrs. Potts then tells Belle that she should apologize because she knew about the forgery but she wanted Belle and Beast to forgive each other. Later after Belle brings in Webster, Crane, and Le Plume back into the castle after she found them outside the front castle door, Mrs. Potts helps Belle keep them warm by the fire. After the Beast comes into the room and apologizes to Belle and Webster, Crane, and Le Plume she's happy that they forgave the Beast. She then tells Lumière that it is not too late to forgive Chandeleria. She then is seen telling Chandeleria that Webster, Crane, and Le Plume are going to tell them about their adventure in the forest. When she hears their story she sneezes unintentionally scaring Webster, Crane, and Le Plume.
Towards the end of the short, Mrs. Potts tells Belle and Beast for every problem there's a solution, one that's often expressed in just a single word (forgiveness), then she and the other servants then leave to give Belle and Beast privacy.
In the short "Mrs. Potts' Party", Mrs. Potts is feeling depressed, and Belle, who has come to look at her as a mother figure, decides to cheer her up by throwing a surprise party for her, all the while without waking the sleeping Beast (who spent the entire previous night fixing a leak in the roof).
However, Lumière and Cogsworth's rivalry gets in the way, in fields such as composing music, Mrs. Potts' favorite flowers (which they have to hide in the Beast's room every time she sees them), and the cake's flavors. Eventually, Lumière and Cogsworth's attempts to sabotage one another's decisions comes to a point where the baking cake explodes and makes a complete mess in the kitchen. Lumière and Cogsworth, after a scolding from Belle, decide to put their rivalry behind them for good and work together to make a small surprise for Mrs. Potts. The plan goes well, and she is cured of her depression.
Other animated productions
Mrs. Potts made several cameos in the series, House of Mouse, usually non-speaking. In the episode "Ask Von Drake" she was seen with Chip during the headcount of all the Disney character guests. In "House of Turkey", Mickey asks both her and Chip what they are thankful for. In "Thanks to Minnie", she witnessed Minnie run off in tears after feeling unappreciated. In "The Three Caballeros", she and Chip were interviewed about the episode's titular characters.
A silhouette of Mrs. Potts was seen on top of the Beast's head during the finale of The Lion King 1½.
In Meet the Robinsons, a topiary resembling Mrs. Potts can be seen in the Robinsons' garden.
Originally, Mrs. Potts was to appear in the first installment of the now-discontinued Disney Princess Enchanted Tales franchise. In the chapter "Kingdom of Kindness, " she was to sing a song with Belle called "You'll Never Lose This Love" to calm Chip after he broke some of the Beast's items.
Mrs. Potts also appears in the Beauty and the Beast entry of the As Told by Emoji short series.
Mrs. Potts appears in the 2017 live-action remake, both voiced and portrayed by Emma Thompson. Before the attack started, LeFou mistook her for Chip's grandmother, much to Mrs. Potts' dismay and offense. In this version of the tale, Mrs. Potts is revealed to be married to Jean Potts; when the Enchantress curses the castle, Jean is left in the poor provincial town and, like the other villagers, is forced to forget about the castle and its residents, including his wife and son. The two are reunited at the end of the film following the lifting of the curse. Unlike the animated 1991 film, there are slight changes within her design: her face is now on the right side of the teapot instead of at the spout. Also, she has a first name known as Beatrice, as Jean addresses her as such when they were reunited.
As Old as Time: A Twisted Tale
The novel As Old as Time: A Twisted Tale depicts an alternate chain of events from the moment that Belle makes contact with the rose. This includes the revelation that, when he was a child, the Beast's favourite servant was Alaric Potts, the stable-master and Mrs Potts' husband, who was old friends with Maurice and Frederic before Alaric was killed by Frederic when he was discovered smuggling magic-users out of the kingdom in response to the current persecution by the Beast's parents. After Belle and the Beast discover Alaric's body in the stables, they bury him in the graveyard for royalty, with Mrs Potts expressing gratitude for the knowledge of what happened to her husband while wondering what he would have become if he was alive when the curse was cast. At the story's conclusion, the Beast sacrifices a chance to return to his human form so that his servants can be restored, Belle speculating that Lumiere and Cogsworth could at as the 'official' rulers while the Beast is on his travels with Mrs Potts as the real power behind the throne.
Mrs. Potts is a minor character in the series, where most of her appearances take place in her homeworld, Beast's Castle. Before Kingdom Hearts, her world was destroyed, and so she can be seen on Belle's station during the Dive to the Heart asleep due to the world's destruction. In Tarzan's world, she makes a cameo appearance like in the original Tarzan film. She makes her first physical appearance in the Kingdom Hearts franchise in Kingdom Hearts II, usually serving as an informant and guide in the Beast's Castle.
She remains the most optimistic for the relationship between Belle and the Beast throughout the visits. Prior to Sora's arrival at the Beast's Castle, Beast was being taunted by Organization XIII member Xaldin and in his rage, the Beast locked up his servants (including Mrs. Potts) in the castle dungeon. When Sora, Donald, and Goofy arrived at the Beast's Castle, they were sent to rescue the servants at Belle's request. After being rescued by the trio, Mrs. Potts and Chip, along with Cogsworth and Lumière guided Sora, Donald, and Goofy through the dungeons.
In the end of the arc, Mrs. Potts watches Belle and the Beast make amends and made the observation that Belle was unique in that she's "always ready for a little adventure." In the credits for Kingdom Hearts II, it is shown that the Beast had been restored to his human form, implying that Mrs. Potts had also become human again.
Mrs. Potts again plays the same role as she did in the film, only here she is depicted as a woman turning into a teapot as opposed to being one that can walk and talk. It is left ambiguous in the original staging whether she pairs with Maurice or not as in the Disney on Ice version, as she comes in dancing with him at the beginning of the finale, but in the final tableaux, they are standing apart, with her posing with Chip.
Mrs. Potts also appears in Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage at Disney's Hollywood Studios, serving the same role as she did in the film. In Fantasmic!, a clip of Mrs. Potts briefly appears in Disney's Hollywood Studios' version of the show, during the bubble montage sequence. Also in the park, Mrs. Potts was referenced in a mocking manner by the villainous Oogie Boogie in the 2014 show Oogie Boogie's Freaky Funhouse.
During the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot, she has her own topiary.
In Shanghai, Mrs. Potts appears as part of Belle and Beast's display in Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, where she is seen sprouting water. She is also featured as part of Belle's wall carving display inside of Enchanted Storybook Castle.
- Mrs. Potts' husband has never been revealed in animated canon. It is believed he passed away before the events of the curse or the story. In the 2017 live action movie, her husband, Jean Potts, is a major character. In the novel As Old as Time (A Twisted Tale), her husband is identified as Alaric Potts, the former stable-master and an old friend of Maurice, who was killed by his anti-magic friend Frederique before the curse was cast.
- A teapot resembling Mrs. Potts is seen in the ABC television series Once Upon a Time episode "Skin Deep". The episode itself also stars many characters from the film.
- In the Disney film Hocus Pocus, one of the kids who goes trick or treating is dressed up as Mrs. Potts.
- Julie Andrews was considered for the voice of Mrs. Potts. However, she passed as she did not want to be typecast.
- In An Extremely Goofy Movie, when Goofy is making breakfast, a teapot resembling Mrs. Potts can be seen on the table.
- In Tarzan, a teapot and cup resembling Mrs. Potts and Chip can be seen at the campsite.
- In Descendants: Isle of the Lost, Mrs. Potts is mentioned to still be around despite 20 years passing. Most would assume she passed away, given her hair color; however, it's possible it went white prematurely.
- The only time her lid was removed intentionally was in The Enchanted Christmas.