Beauty and the Beast is full of iconic moments, from Belle's yellow dress to "Be Our Guest." But one of the most sacred moments in the film is actually the prologue. Any self-respecting Disney fan will have the ability to recognize the Beauty and the Beast prologue music in two seconds flat. Needless to say, the live action Beauty and the Beast has a lot to live up to right off the bat. The new interpretation of the famed Beauty and the Beast prologue puts a bit of a twist on the classic, starting with a brand new narrator. But just who narrates Beauty and the Beast?
The prologue narration that opens the film has a few word changes from the original, but one major change that fans will immediately recognize is that the narrator is a woman, not a man. The original Beauty and the Beast narrator was voiced by David Ogden Stiers, who also played Cogsworth in the film. In the new movie, the prologue is narrated by a female voice. Presumably, that voice belongs to Emma Thompson, who stars as Mrs. Potts in the film. However, Thompson is not credited as the voice on the official track list — the only credit is to composer Alan Menken — so it could be that the narrator just sounds an awful lot like the actor.
It would make sense to have Thompson do the narration. It mirrors the original, in that it's one of the Beast's servants who kicks off the story, and having a female voice makes the Enchantress a bit more sympathetic. In fact, one of the only changes made to the original prologue softens the tone towards the Enchantress by taking out the word "ugliness" and replacing it with "outward appearance." It sounds small, but the shift presents a significant change of perspective from a male judgement to a female description.
Most of the changes to the Beauty and the Beast prologue were done to add detail to the story. The new live action film doesn't take place "in a far away land," but in the "heart of France." A story of how the Prince taxed the villagers were added to define the his selfishness, and the curse was given a bit more definition. This may sound like a lot of change, but rest assured it's nothing more than a few tweaked lines. The rest, you'll find, is just as you remember it.