Beauty and the Beast is hitting the reset button with a revamped beast, a new mythology and a brand new love story.
At the end of the CW series' first season, the future for Vincent (Jay Ryan) and Catherine (Kristin Kreuk) looked bleak, as Vincent was captured by a man the audience soon learned was Cat's biological father (played by Ted Whittall). When Season 2 premieres, there will be more noticeable changes than just the three-month time-jump that begins with Cat still frantically searching for her love. Gone is the procedural "case of the week" aspect of the show, gone is the signature scar on Vincent's face and — most drastically — gone is Vincent's memory of his recent life.
"We made the conscious choice collectively to say to the audience right off the bat [that] this is Beauty and the Beast 2.0," new showrunner Brad Kern tells TVGuide.com.
Keep reading to learn more about Cat and Vincent's new love story, how they've changed during the time jump and how long Cat's biological father will be sticking around. Plus: Where did Vincent's signature scar go?
When the season begins, how has Cat dealt with Vincent's capture?
Brad Kern: She's myopic; she's obsessed. The reason we wanted to start the show three months later was because we felt like there was an energy there and a drive for Cat to focus on it and she's not letting it go. We also wanted to kick start the season arc for her which is, "Who am I?" She's sacrificed pretty much everything — her relationship with her sister, her friends, cleaning her own house — to save the love of her life. That's noble and that's wonderful, but it also comes with a cost and that cost we will explore over the course of the season.
Cat often keeps her emotions bottled up. Will she finally just lose it?
Kern: Yes. It's always darkest before the dawn and if we're truly going to explore who she is separate from Vincent then we have to have the wave crash on the shore. But that doesn't come quickly or easily and we'll explore all that in the first eight episodes.
How much of what happened to Vincent in these three months has forever changed him?
Kern: He's forever changed in that what happened to him can never be erased. But forget what happened to him as a beast or what Reynolds wants to use him for — the real point was to try to have him changed so radically that he doesn't even recognize himself anymore. Cat may not even recognize him. There's this line in the first episode where she says, "We get to fall in love with each other all over again." It's going to be fun to watch them fall in love with each other all over again, but in so doing that Cat is going to discover new things and the audience will discover new things about Vincent the man and Vincent the beast.
How will watching them get together again be fresh or new this time around?
Kern: We all collectively got together and said how do we build the show for the long haul? Not just for the next half of the year. The first year is trying to figure out what the show is and keep it on the air. Once you get picked up for a second season you have to figure out new ways of telling the series story not just the season story. You make choices that are both hopefully entertaining for the short run, but also compelling for the long run, and we're looking to build this for the long run. We're banking on success. So can Vincent and Cat be together kissing and hugging and sleeping together every episode for the next five years? No. We want them to earn their relationship. We felt like they came together so fast last year for all the right reasons, but that's not how relationships stand the test of time. They come from such radically different backgrounds yet are joined by a common mythology we'll discover and certainly a common history. Our mantra is that they need to explore who they are separately if they're truly going to get together and stay together.
What changes have you made to Vincent's powers?
Kern: We're trying to be more consistent with what he can and can't do. It felt like last year it was a little inconsistent at times. If you want to take a step away and look at it practically, if you have a beast that has these powers, who is he up against every week that doesn't make it look like an unfair fight? The negative for him is that in order for him to take advantage of his honed skills, he has to give up on some level his human abilities and humanity. His story this year will be, "Am I man or am I beast?" He is both, so he has to find a way to become both, but I think he has to discover each side of his own personality separately to know how best to be who he is.
Why remove his signature scar?
Kern: First and foremost is the creative reason, which is to say that we want Cat, when she finally finds Vincent, to see right off the bat that something is different, something has changed, and that mystery hopefully compels the audience to want to follow and uncover the reasons behind that. There is also a practical reason, which is simply the time it takes for the makeup. Poor Jay. Every day, he's either in beast makeup, which last year took three hours to do, or he's got a scar on his face, which is an appliance. That's a lot to put somebody through who then has action and hot lights on him, and it takes away from our ability to focus our precious resources, which is usually time, on other aspects of the show. So we had a lot of conversations about it, but we made the conscious choice collectively to say to the audience right off the bat this is Beauty and the Beast 2.0.
What can you say about Cat's biological father?
Kern: The Reynolds character is richly complex. He believes he's doing the greater good and he'd love to get to know his biological daughter, but he's also involved with Vincent secretly. It's fun for the audience to watch Reynolds play both sides without Cat or Vincent knowing which will play out over the first eight episodes.
Will he stick around the entire season?
Kern: Our current plan is that he will be there once in a while. Our overarching plan for the mythology of the series is to move past the Muirfield of it all, which is really just a conspiracy, and begin the process of exploring the mythology behind the conspiracy of which Cat's biological father may or may not be privy to.
And now that Sendhil Ramamurthy is a series regular, what's his involvement this season?
Kern: He brings a fun arc and direction. He's had a second chance and he's going to take advantage of that second chance to be devoted to making amends for all the horror he rained down on Cat and Vincent. There's a spiritual quality to his rebirth and he'll want to help Cat save Vincent, and his relationship with Cat, Vincent and Tess will develop exponentially over the course of the series.
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Beauty and the Beast premieres on Monday, Oct. 7 at 9/8c.
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