Premiered in: Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Voiced By: Richard White
Gaston is not a villain. Not in the strictest sense of the word anyway. From beginning to end, he is first and foremost a jerk who develops villainous tendencies towards the end of the film but he still maintains his post of being a despicable person and not an outright villain. He is, essentially, the town celebrity and the best hunter in the kingdom and so is used to having people, mostly women, throw themselves at his feet on a daily basis. That Belle is the only one not to do so is what I’m sure attracted him to her in the first place. She was the one “prey” that he just couldn’t seem to catch no matter how hard he tried.
His goal, if one can even call it that, is to marry Belle by any means necessary. This becomes dreadfully evident after her father, freshly released from Beast’s castle, makes a fool of himself to everyone in the village and Gaston comes up with a surprisingly cunning plan to bribe the owner of the nearby insane asylum to take Maurice as inmate. Contrary to what many might assume, this is second only to a death sentence for the man considering how badly insane asylums were run in those days. If anyone has ever played the game Alice: Madness Returns, then you should know that those particular methods were a few centuries ahead of the standard back then and for those who haven’t…
Consider yourselves lucky and leave it at that.
Gaston’s minion, for really there is no better word for him, is LeFou whose name literally translates to “The Madman”. While not truly insane the man is quite the fool when it comes to the likes of Gaston. The little fellow, who really can’t be any taller than three feet if even that much, all but worships Gaston and continually adds fuel to the fire that is Gaston’s pride and ego. Still, he’s surprisingly smart when he needs to be, tricking Maurice into talking about the Beast in front of the honest asylum guards to convince them of the man’s “insanity”. Heck, he even becomes the leader of the lynch mob while Gaston goes off to hunt and kill the Beast. Speaking of…
I should mention that though Gaston is the one who incites the mob into attacking Beast’s castle, I can’t help but feel that some of the blame could be laid upon Belle as well. True, Gaston did it primarily for the reason that he cannot comprehend the idea that Belle would love what is, essentially, an animal and abhor him as the actual monster but Belle… Well, gosh darn it Belle, could you have at least checked what the stupid mirror was showing before showing it off to the villagers first? I mean, talk about a bad first impression there! But I digress.
During his confrontation with the Beast, Gaston’s true colors come to light as he tries and successfully taunts the Beast to come out and fight him man to monster, Gaston not even being the former as the Beast manages to find new strength in him when he realizes that Belle kept her promise and had come back to him. He easily had Gaston in a chokehold, ready to drop him over the ravine but when the hunter pleaded for his life, he let him go on the promise that Gaston never return. The Beast released him and climbed up towards Belle and Gaston took the opportunity to stab him in the back and was summarily knocked into the ravine and down into his death.
While it is another example of the classic “falling to one’s death scene”, the original script, and even the original film, had something far darker in store for Gaston. Originally, it was intended that Gaston meant to kill the Beast in such a precarious position on purpose. He stabbed the Beast when he did not just because he could, opportunity and all that, but because he figured he if he could not have Belle’s heart than no one could and had committed himself to die so long as he took the Beast with him. This is evident in the fact that, in the original film and the more recent DVD releases, there are skulls shining in Gaston’s eyes as he falls to his death, insinuating that he saw his death coming before his fall.
Overall, Gaston is a low-ranking villain amongst the heirachy of Disney Villains. In all honesty, aside from his murderous attempts at the Beast’s life and his abhorrent behavior towards Belle, nay, all women, I’d call him a chauvinistic swine of a jerk-faced bit-playing idiot. In each and every collaborative attempt I’ve seen amongst the Disney Villains, both mainstream canon and through the adoring fanon, Gaston is, at best, a bit-player who is more along the lines of a popularized internet meme than anything else.
By the by, just because I really can’t get this out of my head, when Gaston mentions that, as an adult mind you, he eats five dozen eggs every morning that means he eats 21,900 eggs a year. Please note that according to USDA statistics, back in 2009, the average person consumed, at most, 240 eggs a year.